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Don’t Let the Street “Creep” up on Your Foundation Walls

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Here is a diagram of how street creep could happen in a cul-de-sac.

Street creep may not be a term one hears often, but it is one that we are prepared to deal with if it does occur. This phenomenon causes foundation failure and happens over a period of many years. It commonly occurs due to heat melting the street’s asphalt in the summer, which allows it to be more easily pushed outward as cars drive on it. This usually occurs in cul-de-sacs, homes on a curved road, and driveways aligned with t-shaped intersections; these are layouts where spreading asphalt is most likely to put pressure on the driveway.

Over time, the asphalt pushes against the apron, or the space between the street and the sidewalk, which then pushes on the sidewalk. The sidewalk pushes on the concrete slabs of the driveway, which push on the garage slab, which then pushes on the foundation walls behind it. It sounds like a stretch, but we’ve seen it happen!

Here are some signs of street creep:

1. The expansion joint between the driveway and the garage is fully compressed

2. The foundation walls on the sides of the garage are pushed inward

3. Gaps have formed behind the foundation walls on either side of the garage

4. Basement or foundation walls are pushed out by the garage slab.

This also can worsen in the winter months when sand, gravel and debris become wedged in the cracks of the road, sidewalk and concrete driveway. Water that enters these cracks and freezes also expands the cracks and continues to put pressure on this chain reaction.

For typical cases of street creep, we have a two-step repair method. First, new expansion joints are added to recreate the distance between the slabs. Then, Wall Anchors are used to correct the foundation failure caused by the initial street creep. These are heavy-duty earth anchors that are embedded in stable soil outside of the foundation wall. They are attached to steel wall plates on the inside of the walls and tightened with galvanized rods. This pulls the wall back to its original position.

If you suspect street creep is affecting your home, please contact us today. We offer a free inspection and estimate for homeowners.

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