What does Yazoo clay mean for your commercial property?

What does Yazoo clay mean for your commercial property?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2022 | Commercial Real Estate |

If you are thinking about purchasing a piece of commercial property in Mississippi, you probably already understand the importance of performing extensive due diligence. As part of this due diligence, you may want to conduct a property inspection. When you do, you should pay close attention to the soil.

Many parts of Mississippi have Yazoo clay just beneath a layer of topsoil. Because of its geological properties, this clay can wreak havoc on building foundations. It may also put some limitations on how you can develop or use your commercial property.

What is Yazoo clay?

Yazoo clay is a geological formation that is common in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. This clay often makes it difficult to build durable foundations for buildings, as its montmorillonite composition allows for massive expansion and contraction.

In fact, researchers from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Jackson State University have found that Yazoo clay can shrink and swell by as much as 200%. This may put up to 25,000 pounds per square foot of swell pressure on a building’s foundation.

How does Yazoo clay affect buildings?

In addition to causing building foundations to move, Yazoo clay can be detrimental to many other parts of a commercial structure. As the structure settles during normal periods of clay expansion and contraction, any of the following are possible:

  • Broken windows
  • Cracked walls
  • Crumbling brings
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Roof damage

Because it may be exceedingly expensive to repair Yazoo clay-caused damage, it is advisable to factor in upkeep and repairs into your budget. Ultimately, though, if a commercial property is already showing signs of damage, it may be better to continue your search for new office space.