Foundation issues are problems you don’t want to ignore. If left unchecked, they can lead to significant structural damage and extremely costly repairs.
The world’s most famous example of foundation failure is the Leaning Tower of Pisa,which was caused by unstable soil and a foundation that was too shallow, continues to still stand. A 31-story luxury high-rise in South Padre Island, Texas had to be demolished via a controlled demolition before completion.
Yes, these are extreme cases. However, they highlight the importance of foundations. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can prevent a minor foundation problem from turning into a significant catastrophe.
If you see any of these ten signs of foundation failure in your home, contact a foundation repair professional immediately for an evaluation:
1. Sticking windows and doors
When your foundation moves even a small amount, you might notice difficulty opening or closing windows and doors. This happens because the slight shift in the foundation causes the frames around the windows and doors to shift as well.
2. Cracks in flooring
Cracked vinyl, poured concrete, or tile floor covering could also indicate foundation problems. Of course, ceramic tiles and vinyl flooring can be damaged merely by dropping things on them. However, when this happens, the damage is usually limited to one tile. If you see a straight-ish crack that runs wall-to-wall, across tiles, or tiles that have raised off the floor, there could be a problem with your foundation.
3. Uneven or bowing floors
These are areas of the floor that have sunken, heaved, or that slope. Also, look for bowed floors or floors that are separating from the wall.
4. Cracked or bowed walls
Cracked or bowed exterior, interior, or basement walls are another sign you’ve got problems with your foundation. If you have wallpaper, you might notice tears in it caused by the wall cracks underneath. Also, look for cracks between windows and doors and the ceiling or floor as well as cracks in drywall.
5. Wall rotation
When the soil underneath your home’s exterior gets saturated with water, the weight of the building pushing down on the foundation causes the outside edge of the foundation to sink deeper into the soil. In contrast, the dry, inside edge of the foundation pulls up. This is called wall rotation, and it’s a severe problem.
6. Diagonal cracks at the corners of windows and doors
Another sign of a possible problem with your foundation is diagonal cracks that run from the corners of windows and doors up toward the ceiling. Of course, if these cracks are tiny, it might not be anything to worry about. They might be there because you have a new home that’s settling a bit or because you’ve left the house vacant for some time and without climate control. However, larger cracks could mean a serious problem with your foundation.
7. Cracked or out of place moulding
When the floor and the wall aren’t moving in sync with one another, this can cause the moulding to crack or tear away from the wall or ceiling.
8. Stair step cracks (interior and exterior)
When a foundation sinks, it can often cause cracks in bricks or other types of masonry. Sometimes these cracks run through both bricks and mortar between them. However, sometimes they only affect the mortar. These are referred to as stair-step cracks.
9. Walls no longer meet the ceiling and/or the floor
If your foundation moves, this could cause gaps to appear between the wall and the ceiling or between the wall and the floor, or both.
10. Porches or chimneys that have separated from the house
Another sign of problems with your foundation is porches and chimneys that have separated from the building. While there’s the possibility that this might only be a problem with the foundation under the chimney or porch, it could also indicate a problem with your home’s foundation.
11. Water intrusion in the basement
Water intrusion through basement walls is another sign you might have a problem with your foundation. This can be fixed by using a polyurethane grout injection to seal cracks and create a waterproof membrane on the soil side of the basement wall via a process called curtain grouting.
It’s crucial to identify problems with your foundation early before they have a chance to cause significant structural damage to your home, especially if you’re a real estate investor or someone looking to profit from your home for years to come. Fortunately, this is easy to do. Just print out this list and then schedule periodic walk-throughs of your home. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to contact a foundation professional for an evaluation.
Sure, repairing foundation issues does cost money. However, it’s nothing compared to the price you’ll pay if you have a catastrophic foundation failure.
Get an early start diagnosing foundation issues and making repairs. Contact us for an inspection today!