Urban Fold

Soil Problems In Arizona Approximate Earthquake Damage

Many suburbanites purchasing dream homes soon find that weak soil wreaks havoc on their foundations, yet with the high demand for housing, hundreds of homes are continually constructed in such areas.

"Cracks are etched along the walls, creeping from the corners of the windows and the baseboards. Holes have been cut in various spots on the kitchen linoleum. There's also a series of holes in the backyard -- five feet deep."

"Worst of all: the crack running the entire length of the house, from the easternmost edge of the living room floor to the westernmost edge of the kitchen."

"This is a 45-foot gash bisecting the house's foundation, as if an earthquake struck Surprise [Arizona]."

"Some of the hottest areas for development in the Valley -- including parts of Anthem, Gilbert, and Surprise -- suffer from problematic soil."

"'You see the land with poorer soils, 10 years ago, the only thing you'd find there is a farm house,' [Jack Holden, chair of Arizona Building Officials] says. 'But then the building boom hit, and you had these mass builders come in, and now you've got hundreds of houses there.'"

Full Story: Cracked Houses

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