One of the most challenging problems you can face as a homeowner is foundation issues. Foundation problems, if not caught early and remedied, can lead to a slew of expensive damages, which can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Fortunately, knowing the telltale signs of foundation problems can help you take steps to mitigate the damages before they get out of hand. In this article, we will explore the most common signs of foundation problems, why they occur, and what you should do once you spot them. Let’s get started!
Cracks in Walls and Floors
One of the clearest indications of a foundation problem is the appearance of cracks in walls and floors. Horizontal cracks that stretch across the foundation walls are a sign of structural damage, while vertical cracks usually show only cosmetic damage.
You can monitor vertical cracks by marking both ends of the crack with a pencil and measuring the distance between the marks over time. If the crack gets wider or longer, it might indicate a bigger problem, so it’s best to act quickly.
Jamming Doors and Windows
If your doors and windows jam frequently, it could be an indication of a foundation problem. The shifting of the foundation causes the frames to warp, making it difficult to open or close doors and windows. A simple test is to see if a door suddenly closes on its own, as it might indicate an uneven foundation.
Visible Gaps Around Doors and Windows
Another sign of foundation issues is visible gaps around doors and windows. This is another indication that the foundation is shifting, causing the frames to pull away from the walls. If you notice larger than usual gaps between the frames and walls, it could mean that your foundation is sinking or settling unevenly. It’s important to note that small gaps can occur naturally due to temperature changes and settling, but if the gaps are significant or continue to widen, it’s best to have a professional assess your foundation.
When you walk around your home, do you notice that the floors feel uneven or that they slope in certain areas? Uneven floors could indicate that the foundation is shifting underneath the weight of the home. You can check your floors by placing a marble or ball bearing on the surface and watching to see if it rolls in one direction.
If you have noticed uneven floors in your home, it’s essential to be extra careful when walking around. Uneven floors can cause tripping hazards and increase the risk of accidents. To stay safe, make sure to wear footwear with a good grip and avoid placing heavy objects near areas with uneven floors. It’s also crucial to address the underlying foundation issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards. Make sure to consult with a professional foundation repair company for the best course of action.
Water Pooling Around the Foundation
Water is a foundation’s worst enemy, and pooling water near the foundation can cause a whole host of problems. Too much moisture in the soil can cause the ground to expand and contract, leading to shifts in the foundation. In severe cases, the accumulated water can even enter your home through the foundation walls.
To prevent this, ensure that the surrounding area has adequate drainage. Start by making sure that the ground around your home slopes downwards. This will help divert any excess rainwater or runoff away from the foundation. Additionally, you can install downspout extensions to direct gutter water further away from the foundation.
Cracking and Leaky Chimney
Another sign of foundation problems is the shifting or cracking of your chimney. If the chimney is leaning away from the home or there are visible cracks on the mortar or bricks, it could mean that the foundation is moving. Chimney problems can create an unstable and unsafe environment, so take action as soon as possible.
If you suspect that your chimney is suffering from foundation issues, it’s best to contact a qualified chimney repair specialist. They will be able to assess the situation and determine if the problem lies with the chimney or the foundation. In some cases, both may need to be repaired to prevent further damage.
What You Can Do
If you have spotted any of the above signs of foundation issues, it’s essential to take action quickly. Ignoring these problems can result in costly and extensive damage that could have been avoided with early detection and repair.
The first step is to consult with a professional foundation inspector or structural engineer. They will be able to accurately assess the extent of the problem and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, foundation issues can be resolved through methods such as underpinning or using steel piers to stabilize the foundation.
It’s also crucial to address any underlying causes of the problem, such as drainage issues or plumbing leaks. Fixing these problems will not only prevent further damage but also ensure that your foundation remains stable in the future.
Ignoring foundation problems is not an option. Foundation issues could be the result of a variety of factors, including poor construction, soil movement, or water damage. The key to minimizing the damage caused by foundation problems is to identify the issue early and take prompt action.
Regular inspections can also help identify potential problems early so that you can catch and fix them before they become bigger and more expensive to repair. If you notice any of these signs, don’t delay—call in a professional to inspect your foundation and recommend the best course of action. By taking care of your foundation, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your home.