A porch or stoop entryway that leans, has dropped, is cracked, or has a void under it; are warning signs that settlement has occurred and the integrity of the foundation has been compromised. This can be especially problematic if it is the main entryway to the home or structure. Depending on how the porch or stoop was built into the home’s foundation, sometimes it will not settle, but instead, the ground beneath it will, causing an empty void to form which now becomes a place for animals and water to intrude the immediate space surrounding the foundation walls.
What is causing a stoop or porch entryway to settle? Simply put, the soil your foundation was built on isn’t stable and was poorly compacted during construction. We call this top layer of soil the “active zone”. Depending on the amount of clay, sand, and organic matter in your soil, it’s unique geologic composition can present a variety of problematic reactions to an extended period of wet, dry, hot or cold conditions. When soil stays too dry, it shrinks and creates voids where a foundation will settle. When soil stays too wet, it gets soft and cannot bear the heavy loads and a foundation will sink. When soil freezes, it will expand and heave the foundation upwards. All of these soil conditions put pressure on a foundation which then causes damage to it and the structure above.