How to know if your home has foundation problems

Early one morning, you go to the basement to do a load of laundry and the door sticks a little more than normal. It always sticks, but today is more noticeable. You don’t think much of it; just make a mental note to take a look at it over the weekend. 

Sometimes a sticking door is not just a sticking door. It’s a warning that your home may have bigger issues. Old home, new home… it does not matter. Both can develop foundation problems. If not addressed quickly, you may find yourself in a dire and very expensive situation. 

The most famous example of a building with foundation problems is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Tower had issues from the beginning: the soil shifted during the first phase of construction and they tried to make adjustments in order to complete the project. Modern techniques have stabilized the structure, ensuring that the landmark will be available for tourists to take goofy pictures for the next couple of centuries. 

Look for these warning signs

  • Crawl space moisture

  • Uneven floors

  • Cracks in the brick

  • Bulging, rotating or leaning walls

  • Corners of siding/soffits that are not flush or are separating

  • Dislocated or broken plumbing, wiring or utility lines

  • Walls separating from windows, doors and ceiling

  • gaps between cabinets and walls

  • vertical and horizontal wall cracks

  • cracks over doors and windows as well

  • Problems closing doors and windows

  • Cracks in floor vinyl or tile

  • Uneven roof line or ceiling line

  • Leaning chimneys 

What causes foundation issues?

A house gets it from all sides. Both environmental and manmade factors can contribute to your home’s foundation issues. 

Evaporation

Hot, dry wind and intense heat will often cause the soil to contract beneath the foundation. 

Transpiration

Tree roots dehydrate the soil beneath a home and the soil shrinks underneath the house. 

Poor soil conditions

Organic components and debris may cause consolidation over time. 

Plumbing leaks

Whether you have cast iron or PVC pipes, both can develop moisture to accumulate under your house. 

Improper drainage

Improper drainage or waterproofing can cause the build-up of excess moisture, which can erode or consolidate the soil. 

Inferior construction materials

Insufficient steel and inferior concrete will contribute to movement. 

Building site preparation

Especially during building of subdivisions, soil moved from one area of the lot to another may not be compacted sufficiently when home is built. 

Fixing failing foundation can be expensive, and it only gets more expensive as time goes by. It can affect your home’s value when it’s time to sell. If you notice any of the signs of foundation problems, call a specialist to come out for an inspection.

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