Sometimes your doors don’t work right, and now they open and close just fine. Sometimes the diagonal cracks in your walls seem more “open” and now they look better and appear to have closed up. What’s going on here?
Well, it sounds like you’ve got some seasonal rebounding happening with your foundation.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we’ve been observing the effects of seasonal changes on home foundations for 35+ years in the Brazos Valley. We know a thing or two about how a foundation moves and when it’s time for repairs and can share the definition of seasonal rebounding with you.
So that you can fully understand this industry terminology, this article will report on the what, when, where, why, and how of what it means for your home foundation to experience a seasonal rebound.
What Is Seasonal Rebounding?
When your foundation experiences “seasonal rebounding” it’s bouncing back from a more settled position. But I should probably back up a little bit here . . .
Foundation settlement is most typically a sinking motion where things are moving down. Although, the term foundation settlement has also come to mean ANY foundation movement whether up or down due to the effects of expansive clay soils, gravity, or poor construction.
The term seasonal rebounding is the opposite of the sinking action, where your foundation is returning to its original elevation from a sunken position. The condition of your foundation has improved or is getting better during a phase of seasonal rebounding.
BUT, rebounding also means that at some point your foundation had to sink or settle before it improved and rebounded. So while rebounding sounds like a *good thing* it still means that movement is occurring in your foundation. In other words, don’t be so pleased with the rebound that you forget where it came from in the first place. . .
When Does Seasonal Foundation Rebounding Occur?
Seasonal rebounding is influenced mainly by the moisture conditions in expansive clay soils. Expansive clay expands when it is wet. Anytime we are in a season of increased rainfall is when seasonal rebounding will occur.
For us here in Central Texas, that’s likely in the springtime when there’s a lot of rain and thunderstorms and again in the fall when hurricane season comes with more rain. So here’s a simple way to think about it:
Spring + Rain = Rebounding
Summer + Dry = Settlement
Fall + Rain = Rebounding
Winter + Dry = Settlement
*Repeat Year After Year*
Are you starting to *sense a cycle* here? Now this cycle might not be in the same seasons for everyone everywhere. But the takeaway is that the seasonal rebounding happens with rainy and wet weather conditions. So whenever you have more rain, that’s when you see the effects of rebounding.
Where Do the Signs of Seasonal Rebounding Appear?
These cycles of seasonal rebounds and settling due to expansive soil have cosmetic and structural impacts on your home. Signs of seasonal rebounding are going to be the most noticeable with your doors and diagonal wall cracks if you have them.
- Structural impact: A door that doesn’t work right in the summer because everything is dry and sinking returns to a better fit in the door frame once fall rolls around.
- Cosmetic impact: A diagonal crack that really opens up or even gets longer during a dry time will seemingly close back up when it rains a lot.
Of course, any common visual or functional signs of foundation settlement can improve during seasonal rebounding. The symptoms appearing on doors and cracks just tend to jump out at you more.
Why Does My Foundation Experience Seasonal Rebounding?
You may have already figured this part out, but seasonal rebounding occurs because of our soil’s reaction to moisture and climate conditions. Since we’re doing little math problems to illustrate:
Soil + Fluctuating Climate Cycles = Seasonal Rebounding and Settlement
If it were dry all the time, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Or if it were wet all the time it wouldn’t be as much of an issue either. It’s the switch back and forth between wet and drought seasons that cause problems with your foundation and expansive clay soil.
Sometimes, seasonal settlement and rebounding occur when you have a lightweight or underbuilt home that can’t resist the strong soil forces. In other words, sometimes your home construction or another isolated reason is to blame, but the vast majority of the time it’s just the dirt we have.
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the dirt unless you want to move to another state or country or something . . .
How Do I Know If My Foundation Will or Has Rebounded?
You will know that your home has rebounded when doors work right and fit back in door frames properly. You will know that your home has rebounded when cracks close up. These could be diagonal wall cracks around door or window frames or even stair-step cracks in brick.
Anything that results in the improvement of foundation settlement symptoms means your home has rebounded and gotten better. It’s moved back to the place where it was built, but this is a short-lived condition that will likely change with the next season.
But you never know for sure if your home WILL rebound or if it will stay in its settled and sunken position. There’s never any guarantee that your home will continue in the settlement/rebound cycle forever. Eventually, something could cause it to stay settled.
Your foundation interacting with expansive soil and the seasons is a bit like a paperclip. You can bend a paperclip back and forth repeatedly and for a while and it stays together. But if you keep bending the paperclip back and forth over and over again, eventually it will break.
What If My Foundation Does Not Rebound Next Season?
You now know that moisture can cause a rebounding effect on your foundation. You sometimes hear people say that “watering your foundation” can prevent foundation settlement, but we say that’s a somewhat misleading myth.
There are a bunch of foundation problem and repair myths actually, but I digress . . .
While some watering can minimize the impact of expansive clay soils on your foundation, it’s also just delaying the inevitable. If you’re looking for realistic prevention ideas, check out: Can I Prevent Foundation Problems In My Home: 3 Ways to Try.
Even if you do decide to try watering or some other prevention method, your foundation might not rebound every year. Like that paperclip we were just talking about, it might get to the point where rebounding is no longer making the annual “improvements” in your settlement signs.
When visual and cosmetic signs of settlement begin to bother you, and structural signs begin to adversely affect the functioning of your home, then it’s probably time to consider foundation repairs.
Here’s a great article to help figure out when to move forward with fixing your settled home: Foundation Settlement Confirmed: When Is the Right Time For Repairs?
Who Can You Call For Brazos Valley Foundation Repairs?
If your foundation doesn’t bounce back anymore after years of settlement and rebounding cycles, foundation repair is a logical next step. First, you need to get estimates and select a foundation repair contractor you can trust.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we offer fair and impartial assessments, empowering education, and a fully transparent repair process. After 35+ years in the Brazos Valley, we’re here to help guide you through the foundation repair process, but you’re the one in charge.
Whenever you’re ready to handle your foundation problems with confidence, reach out to Anchor to schedule your in-home foundation inspection and get a quote for repairs.