How Regina Realtors expertise to our citys unique soil conditions can help you in your next purchase

Professionals including Regina Realtors, home builders, foundation companies and long-term residents alike are well-aware of the unique soil condition that has been coined “gumbo clay” that the City of Regina was built on. However, people new to the city may not be aware of the repercussions of building a home on this type of soil and the havoc that this gumbo clay can wreak on one of your biggest investments—your house. And, if they are aware of the soil type but don’t have a proper education around it, they have major concerns and stigma’s attached to certain  area’s of the city.


A brief history lesson:

Regina’s gumbo clay came about due to a huge lake that once covered the area at the end of the last Ice Age. This clay is thick (as some may know if they’ve ever tried planting a garden or building a fence) and is unforgiving.

The clay causes foundation issues, plain and simple. It acts as a giant sponge which allows it to absorb massive amounts of water. As the soil absorbs more water it expands, causing stable foundations to shift and sag leading to cracks and leaks. Regina realtors have a good understanding of what areas have been impacted by this soil more than other areas.  Regardless of where you are in the city, the foundation of your home is not immune to the movement that goes hand in hand with this gumbo clay.

Regina Realtors

Regina Realtors

Thankfully, technology and an understanding of the soil have come a long way to accommodate our gumbo clay. New home builders have engineers that assess the soil and prepare geo-technical reports before homes are built to better predict the depth and moisture content of the gumbo.

In addition, it is now standard practice for new homes to be built on piles in Regina. A newer building construction method that was not consistent in new home construction, even 10 years ago. Although it is standard practice to see new homes built on piles now, there are some homes that were built on piles 50 years ago. There was a transitionary period for this technology to come into our housing market and it’s had to be applied to the City of Regina specifically.
 

What does it mean to have your home built on piles?

Having your home built on piles is a way to describe how your foundation is constructed. Piles are holes that are drilled into the ground, generally 20-25ft deep and 16” in diameter that are then filled with concrete and rebar acting as a support for the home’s foundation to sit on. These numbers vary slightly depending on the geo-technical report that an engineer prepares prior to the foundation being built.

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Adding to the success of homes being built on piles in Regina, construction crews are now also building “floating walls” when they frame basements for living spaces. This leaves a space from the basement floor to the beginning of the wall, allowing for movement in case basement concrete floors rise (or heave) under pressure from the swelling Regina gumbo. These two building improvements are now building code’s and all homes built in the future shall be built to these standards. 

Technology and history have brought our homes in Regina a long way and it’s exciting to see foundation issues that used to be a problem being proactively dealt with. I am not bashing homes that were built before the pile technology fully transitioned to new home builds, as there are many foundation companies that will work with the existing basement and use ‘foundation underpinning’ which uses newer technology as well. Whether you are building a new home or buying an old home, Regina Realtors can be useful in guiding you in the right direction and helping you to make a confident decision! 

 

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