Indoor and Outdoor Foundation Problems to Watch For
The causes of foundation problems are rarely a result of the structure of the design. Most damage is due to foundation soil that supports the structure. If you are a property owner, knowing the common warning signs can prevent most foundation issues and save you money in the long run. The sooner the problems are fixed, the better.
There are many factors that lead to foundation problems, but the most common are due to weak bearing soils, poor compaction, inconsistent moisture content, maturing trees/vegetation or soil consolidation. If you have any of these issues on your property, look for signs of foundation issues.
Common Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
Indoor Warning Signs: Unfortunately, homes will settle over time and a little settlement is not a reason for concern. But it is good idea to be alert for more dramatic changes such as:
- Sticking doors
- Wall cracks over doorways, windows or between the walls and ceilings
- Concrete floor cracks
- Hard to open and close windows
Outdoor Warning Signs: Inspect the outside of your home or building for signs of foundation issues. Is your foundation straight? Measure the length of the foundation wall from each corner. Also, check for leaning or bowing walls by using a level. Bulging block or poured concrete walls will shift or move if there is pressure against the foundation walls. This is caused by soil expansion and contracting.
Crumbling or Breaking Concrete: If you have a poured perimeter foundation, check the stability of the foundation by poking it with a screwdriver. If it chips or flakes, the concrete could be deteriorating.
Rotten Wood Posts: Moisture in your basement or crawlspace can damage posts and concrete supports. Check to see if the posts are standing straight, and rested firmly beneath the beams.
Moisture in the Crawlspace: Water puddles or standing water in the crawlspace is a sign you have poor drainage. These conditions can lead to moisture, mold growth and foundation settlement over time. Make sure gutters aren't clogged, and the soil slopes away from the home.
Foundation Cracks: Over time, cracks will form in concrete and block foundations. Hairline cracks and cracks at an L-shaped section are not a major concern. But some cracks are more serious than others, which could mean you have foundation issues. Look for the following cracks:
- Horizontal crack - These are serious cracks that are caused by pressure against the foundation due to soil expansion and soil shrinkage.
- Stair-step cracks - Cracks that are wider than 1/4 inch accompanied by a bulging wall are a major concern. Clogged gutters and poor drainage are factors that create pressure against foundation walls.
Contacting a Foundation Repair Specialist
If you have any of these warning signs, there are several repair methods used:
- Steel Piers
- Helical Piers
- Helical Tieback Anchors
- Plate Anchors
- Hydraulic Slab Lift Pier
Don't let foundation problems get worse. My Foundation Repairs will contact an experienced foundation repair expert and give you a free inspection for your foundation problems. They will be able to determine if your settlement is normal or caused by soil-related issues. They'll help get your foundation back to normal so you can have peace of mind.