COMMON SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
Identifying cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings is important when assessing potential foundation damage. Deterioration can be the result of a variety of issues including soil, climate, plumbing leaks, poor soil compaction, and inadequate foundation drainage. To help you identify potential foundation problems, we’ve compiled a list of common issues that may indicate the need for foundation repairs.
Inspect your brick and masonry to look for noticeable changes such as cracking and flaking each day. Most brick and masonry problems can be prevented by maintaining proper drainage systems and preventing water from accumulating on your property.
STUCK WINDOWS & DOORS
Foundation problems can make it difficult to open and close your doors and windows properly. Gaps at the top of a door, whether exterior or interior, happens when your foundation settles. Leveling the foundation can fix these issues throughout your residential or commercial property.
EXPANSION JOINT SEPARATION
Expansion joints are installed into a structure to help compensate for natural changes. These changes could be small shifts in the earth, humidity, wind, rain, or changes in temperature throughout the seasons. If your foundation is settling in one or more corners of the house, it can cause the expansion joint to separate and fail, resulting in even more cracking.
Street creep is a common foundation problem resulting from thermal expansion and contraction of concrete streets and pavement surrounding a property, causing the street to “creep” and exert tremendous pressure at the edge of the concrete, where the driveway meets a garage slab or house foundation wall.
FLOOR & CEILING GAPS
In general, floor and ceiling gaps are caused by your property settling unevenly. This exerts pressure in different ways, which may cause the floors to move downward while the walls are struggling to maintain a connection to the floor, resulting in gaps between the wall and the floor or ceiling.
You should examine your garage regularly for signs of foundation failure such as cracks, sloped floors, sticking doors, gaps, and spaces between walls and the floor. This could be caused by the soil beneath the foundation shifting due to changes in the moisture content.
Reasons for drywall cracks can certainly vary. Oftentimes, drywall cracks are due to excess structural pressure, poorly installed drywall, or most commonly, your property is settling too much due to a variety of structural problems. Although hairline cracks may not be a big deal, gaping cracks that are larger than an eighth of an inch should be addressed head-on.
Slab foundation cracks are probably one reason that your concrete foundation is not level. Cracking concrete slabs are a form of deterioration and can harm your foundation by making one side lower than the other, often leading to more serious issues.
UNEVEN OR SLOPED FLOORING
Sloping can occur when a home’s foundation has settled at an uneven rate. When the foundation settles disproportionately, the structure shifts downward, and past its original position on the ground. This causes the soil to shift or compact, causing the property to slope.
If you notice a window with a gap between itself and the wall, chances are your foundation is settling. This happens when one part of a structure sinks below others, causing an imbalance. Look at the gap in your window– it will create an arrow that points to the settling side of your house.
A leaning or tilting chimney is a sign of a damaged or unstable foundation. A chimney is susceptible to oversaturated soil, or soil that is shifting due to an extended drought. When the ground beneath your chimney shifts, the chimney begins to lean away from your home, which is both aesthetically unappealing and potentially dangerous.