When it comes to houses, most people ignore the small signs that indicate the need for foundation repair. Whether it’s an old house that you’ve lived in for a while, or a rental house you wish to move into, it is important to look for any possible defects especially concerning the foundation.
Houses are an important and very expensive investment that you shouldn’t risk. As all houses, whether residential or commercial, come with a foundation, it would be necessary to look into it regularly. While most home repairs may often be ignored, foundation repair isn’t one of them. Ignoring any issue relating to the foundation can lead to potential structural damage, as well as loss of thousands of dollars in repair.
There are a number of things that can lead to the deterioration of the foundation. The most common is a poor drainage system around the house. Others include the nature of the soil, weather, and climate in the area, poor soil compaction, and inefficient foundation drainage system. All these do prompt for foundation repair.
Most people do not know the apparent signs of foundation damages. Since it’s not something that you check regularly, they can also be overlooked resulting in serious destruction in the long run. So how do you, as a homeowner identify the major signs that indicate foundation damages?
Indicators of a Damaged Foundation
Although there are many signs that may indicate foundations problems, there are some that are more predominant and common than others. These signs happen in all types of houses and therefore are easily noticeable. Below is a list of the ways to check if your foundation needs repairs:
One of the major ways to determine whether the foundation needs repairing is through the foundation, wall and floor cracks among other fractures. If you notice any spacing in the foundation or between the exterior bricks of the house, it can be a sign for foundation damage. These cracks can either be stair-shaped or long horizontal ones. Vertical cracks can also appear indicating rotation of the wall and a foundation issue. These cracks can also appear on the interior of the house along the drywall, wood panels or even the plaster.
Cracks are normally caused by the expansion and contraction of the soils due to moisture content resulting in the movement of the foundation. Although there are the normal fissures that may occur in the first few years after a house is constructed, deeper cracks indicate foundation issues.
Settling or Sinking of the Foundation
If your property starts looking uneven, like one side is lower than the other, it could be a sign of settlement issues or sinking. Slanted floors inside the house could also indicate settling. This can be easily observed or measured using laser lines or tape measure. Although slanted floors do not always indicate settling, they are a major indicator of this issue. When you notice this problem, immediate foundation repair is necessary as the house is at the risk of sinking or collapsing. This problem is normally fixed by installing piers that support and raise the foundation.
Doors and Windows that Don’t Function Properly
One of the major signs of a foundation issue is doors or windows that don’t open or close properly. They usually get stuck indicating possible settling of the foundation. Interior doors will tend to drag or get stuck at the top while the exterior doors drag at the threshold and appear uneven at the top. Double doors may also not meet and close at the center.
This problem is often experienced in all types of buildings, whether residential or commercial; all types of slabs and the pier and beam foundations. Although doors may get stuck due to reasons such as the levels of humidity in the building, when it’s accompanied by other signs such as cracks and fractures, it is a sign of foundation damage.
However, it is important to enlist the help of professional foundation repair teams to clearly outline the cause of the issue. There is no sure way that you can identify the exact problem without a thorough examination.
Poor Drainage in the Basement
When it comes to checking for foundation failure, another sign is a wet, musty basement. Poor drainage means that either the run-off is being retained or being taken into the foundation and retained in the basement. A wet basement can lead to poor air quality that may lead to the growth of highly poisonous mold and fungi.
This can be a sign of other damages around the house, but can also indicate a potential crack in the foundation. These cracks can lead to the leakage of water into the basement. Once you notice this, it would be advisable to look for expert help to identify the exact cause of the problem which can be a structural flaw in your foundation.
“Heaving” of the Foundation
Another way to check for foundation damage is checking for the upheaval of the slab foundation. This is essentially the opposite of sinking where the foundation moves upward. It not only affects the area around the slab foundation, but also the house’s interior including doorways and hallways. Other walls may also be moved upwards.
Upheaval is caused by a number of factors including the expansion and contraction of the soils due to moisture content, plumbing leaks and heaving due to frost. This will necessitate foundation repair to rectify the problem.
What do you need to do when you notice these signs?
Noticing any of the above signs around your house should prompt you to enlist the help of foundation or drainage repair teams in order to provide a full investigation. However, it is not necessary to jump into conclusions unless you notice a combination of the above signs. A thorough inspection is necessary and should only be carried out by a professional with substantial experience in the field. If foundation repair is advised, enlist the help of reputable professional foundation repair companies as this process needs ultimate expertise.