Swelling Soils: Homebuyers Beware

If you’re looking at buying a home in the Denver Metro area, particularly in the area around C-470 near Bowles and Wadsworth in Jefferson County, or if you currently live in the area, make certain you read the Colorado Geological Survey’s Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners, available for checkout from our libraryThis booklet contains everything you need to know about “Colorado’s most significant geologic hazard.”  The Colorado Geological Survey’s Swelling Soils page explains how Bentonite clays expand when exposed to water, “more than enough to break up any structure they encounter”: 

“Where the claystone layers turn up on end near the foothills, the effects of swelling are intensified and the phenomenon is called heaving bedrock, which causes heave ridges.  These ridges cause roads to ripple, including C-470 near Bowles Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard, a telling sign that extraordinary precaution is needed to prevent structural catastrophes in the area.”

However, the Colorado Geological Survey assures us that “sound building techniques can prevent swelling-soil damage to homes, but it is crucial that builders follow these techniques faithfully.” So be sure you know the facts next time you are searching for a new home, and check out this essential guide.