How do you know if you have a foundation problem? How can you tell what’s happening underneath your floor? How can you tell what’s happening underneath your foundation? It isn’t always easy, but there are some signs you should look for that tell a great deal about the health of your foundation, and whether or not you should have it evaluated. Let’s start with the inside of your home, then go outside:
- Cracks in walls – As the foundation of your home shifts, raises, and/or lowers, this will put stress on the structure of your home and can cause damage to its walls.
- Doors and windows are sticking – This could be as simple as humidity causing the doorframe to swell, but it could also be a sign that the doorframe is no longer square due to a shifting foundation.
- Gaps around window & door frames – Just as with sticking doors and windows, cracks and separations around their frames mean the same thing: that the foundation on which your walls are built upon, has moved.
- Buckling/uneven flooring – Your flooring sits on top of your foundation, so any sign that the floor is suffering should be read as a possible foundation problem.
- Cracks in masonry – These could be signs of a shifting foundation, and should be taken as a potential sign of foundation issues.
- Cracks in the foundation itself – Extremely small foundation cracks aren’t likely to cause problems, but even the smallest cracks can grow over time; and when they do, it can mean problems for you and your home.
- Plumbing issues – As your foundation settles — or moves in some other unpredictable manner — your home’s plumbing may fail. While fixing the offending pipe may seem like the final solution, if the foundation hasn’t been stabilized, you’ll simply be repeating this repair in the future.
- Chimney is detached/uneven – While this could be indicative of structural problems with your chimney itself, it can also indicate foundation problems in your home.
- Gaps in the fascia – These gaps could be your home settling or reacting to humidity, but they could also be signs of a foundation problem.
- New/unusual drainage patterns – If water seems to run toward, rather than away from, your home during a storm, then you could have foundation problems.
Foundation Settling vs. Foundation Problems
Some of these signs may not be the result or indication of foundation failure. In some instances — particularly in new homes — your foundation will go through a period of time during which it simply settles into the soil around it. While your builder in all likelihood took every effort to ensure a firm soil bed for your foundation, they cannot predict what the weather and geology will be like in five or ten years. So what’s the difference? It all comes down to a matter of degree: settling typically involves minimal movement, without any visible damage to the foundation itself or the plumbing that passes through it — you may only experience one of the above signs. When the soil and foundation movement becomes excessive, you’ll see more severe and sometimes multiple examples of the signs we’ve listed above.
How To Know For Sure
While the signs we’ve discussed here can indicate a foundation problem, there’s only one way to know for sure. Fortunately, you can get a professional, risk-free opinion, based on over a quarter century of experience with the unique soils of the South-Central US – at no charge to you. Schedule your no charge evaluation today and put your concerns to rest!