A foundation should be sturdy, but it can start to weaken or deteriorate as a home ages. Minor problems can develop to cause instability and significant damages to a home. It is essential to be looking out for these 4 warning signs of foundation damage that create the need for quick repair.
1. Water Drainage Problems
Water is one of the top causes of foundation problems. Persistent water drainage problems signify that the foundation requires inspection and might require repairs. In addition, water tends to accumulate around foundations. The soil around expands due to water accumulation adding pressure to the footing of the foundation and walls.
The pressure, in turn, causes cracking inside and outside a home. Wet soil around a house when there are no rains or when the ground is too dry after rain shows a high probability of water drainage problems. The foundation needs repair if you confirm the existence of water drainage problems.
2. Sagging and Uneven Floors
It is a sign of foundation problems when you notice your feet are starting to get out level that things easily roll on them or find a soft. Uneven floors appear to sag, dip, or bow. Floors usually sag and squeak when pier and beam foundations weaken. Foundation issues cause floors to appear out of level by about half an inch, but the unevenness increases to 1-2 inches over time. Floors on concrete slabs are more likely to get out of level or become uneven.
Builders position slab foundations directly on the ground, unlike beam foundations, so their signs of damage are different.
3. Cracks on the Foundation, Wall, and Floor
Cracks on the foundation of a home or its exterior façade are a sign of a problem. Cracks can be structural or non-structural. Non-structural cracks occur on drywall or plaster during to shrinkage of concrete during curing. They are unsightly but do not threaten structural integrity unless they get wider than 1/10 inch, expand from one block to others are allow water to seep into the basement.
Structural foundation cracks develop in concrete block foundations and poured concrete walls. They occur due to foundation movement and threaten a home’s structural integrity if repairs are not prompt. A foundation usually sinks and develops cracks (1/16 inch hairline fissures) within the first 2-3 years of construction. Nonetheless, horizontal cracks in concrete block walls of the basement or brick exteriors could be a sign of settling beyond an acceptable amount. Even ¼ inch gap warrants concern. Horizontal cracks are more severe than vertical cracks because they indicate intense pressure on the perimeter of the house foundation.
A foundation repair contractor can, after an inspection, determine the severity of cracks in threatening structural stability.
4. Sticking Doors or Windows
A home with doors that frequently get stuck becomes hard to close firmly or leaves gaps at the top could be experiencing foundation problems. It might seem mundane but can be a warning sign of a firm foundation that requires repair by leveling. Ground movement, poor construction, and drainage problems cause foundation sinking. Moisture can cause windows to feel ‘stuck’ when opening or closing, but it can also signify a sinking foundation if the problem keeps recurring. A foundation specialist can tell if sticking windows or doors is due to a sinking foundation and recommend the procedure to level it.
Unusual changes on the foundation, walls, and floor require the attention of a professional to ascertain the cause and advice on the appropriate repairs before causing damage and compromising the stability of a home.