As a homeowner, what’s your worst nightmare? Trees falling onto your home or a termite infestation and similar incidents are likely atop the list. But don’t forget about your foundation! It’s literally what your home is built on, and a failing foundation could have disastrous consequences.
Fortunately, you can also prevent your foundation from failing. The single most important part is paying attention: the earlier you detect the warning signs of foundation and slab failure, the more easily a company like Perma-Pier can repair the damage before it gets out of hand. Here are the five most common warning signs of foundation and slab failure that you should always be on the lookout for:
Let’s start with the most obvious. If you spot a crack on or around your foundation, something is likely very wrong. These cracks may appear directly on your foundation, but they may also occur on bricks, sheetrock, or your floor. If your foundation begins to fail, it will slowly shift the entire house out of balance. These types of cracks are especially common above window and door frames, and in the corners where the walls meet the ceilings. But any type of crack in your walls or ceiling is at least worthy of further investigation.
2) Windows and Doors
Because your foundation supports your entire house, it will affect how easily your doors and windows close. If your doors start jamming or fail to latch, you may want to pay attention. Similarly, if your windows stick or won’t close the whole way, something may be wrong with your foundation. Both of these issues indicate a problem with your home, which is no longer level – likely due to a failing foundation.
3) Straight Exterior Walls
Most foundation issues are not caused by the structure of the foundation itself, but to expanding or contracting soil. An the best way to spot whether your structure is being impacted by that soil is to check out your exterior walls. If you don’t think your walls are straight, check them with a level. A bulge or curve in the wall should be cause for immediate concern.
4) Indoor Humidity and Smells
So far, the signs are at least bordering on the obvious. But even increased indoor humidity or odd smells coming from your exterior walls could be indicators that your structure is no longer sound. Of course, not all humidity is caused by structural issues, which makes this an especially difficult warning sign to heed. Soils expand when they absorb water, and that water can seep into your home if the foundation is not sound. If you can’t easily fight the humidity with a dehumidifier, it may be time to think about your foundation.
5) Standing Water
Another non-obvious warning sign consists of puddles of water forming around the exterior of your home when and after it rains. These puddles are not, in themselves, signs of foundation failure. But they often form because the exterior of your home does not have a proper drainage system, allowing the water to stay right around your exterior walls. Over time, they will almost certainly be absorbed into the soil and contribute to its expansion, which – as we mentioned above – will eventually be harmful to your foundation and your entire home.
6) Creaky or Bouncy Floors
Another issue that may or may not be related to your foundation are creaky or bouncy floors, especially hardwood. They may just be old, or they may be a sign that your home’s frame is warping due to foundation issues. It almost certainly means that you should look into additional structural support for that part of your home.
If you spot any of these on your home, don’t hesitate! Contact us so we can take care of it before it’s too late.