Gaps in the Soil

Do you notice voids or gaps in the soil near your concrete driveway or sidewalk? Does the soil along the perimeter of your home pull away from the slab foundation? Do you see cracks in or around your home?

You aren’t alone. Many North Texans are perplexed by the presence of voids and gaps beneath sidewalks, driveways, or slab foundations. Others might fill the void with fresh dirt and not give it a second thought. The first thing you should do if you see gaps or voids near a concrete structure is to locate the source of the issue.  Consider the following scenarios:


The soil isn’t disappearing, it’s shrinking.

Most homes in the Dallas – Fort Worth area are built on expansive clay soil. As the temperature spikes in the summer, the intense heat zaps moisture from the soil. During periods of excessive dryness, the soil contracts, creating cave-like cavities or gaps in the soil below the slab.  Consider hiring a professional to customize an underground foundation watering system to save your home’s foundation.

Trees are interfering with the soil.

Often, a tree’s complex root system dehydrates the surrounding soil. A typical sprinkler system isn’t able to penetrate more than a few inches beneath the surface, while a tree’s roots often stretch several feet deep. The Soak and Cycle Method is the best way to apply the maximum amount of moisture to your soil, but in some cases, it won’t be enough.

You may have drainage issues.


If your yard has ineffective drainage solutions, there may be areas of your lawn that experience heavy water runoff. Over time, erosion will carve out an open space between the concrete slab and the soil. Consider rerouting the runoff or installing French drains to soak up the excess water.

The backfill is settling.

Another common cause of a void beneath concrete driveways and sidewalks is the settling of backfill material used during the construction of the home and utilities. Contractors should use proper compaction techniques to minimize post-construction settling. If there are no signs of moisture related issues, and your home is under ten years old, backfill settling could be the source of your issues.

If you experience gaps in the soil near concrete slabs, sidewalks or driveways, it may be wise to contact an expert. Most of the time, void spaces and cracks are easily fillable. In addition, sagging concrete can be raised through the process of mud-jacking. If you notice cracks in your home’s foundation, it is important to call a Licensed Professional Engineer who specializes in structural evaluations.

Since 1971 Lee Engineering has provided North Texas homeowners with irrigation installation and service, drainage solutions, and custom foundation watering systems.

Contact an expert today to assess your property’s needs. 817-277-6022

Related Articles:

Thirsty? So is Your Foundation

Contact Lee Engineering