Foundation Problems: What to Look For
Foundation settlement is the movement of a home or building to a point below its original position. This is usually caused by the shifting or compaction of the underlying soil. This can be caused by changes in soil conditions and moisture content, construction on previously disturbed soil or backfill. Knowing the signs of foundation problems before they become an even bigger problem will save you time and money in the long run. Early warning signs can be easy to spot if you are aware of changes happening in and around your home. Some are easier than others to notice. A sinking or sloping floor can be pretty obvious. You may think that because a door or window is hard to open, it's just old window frames or dried paint. Windows and/or doors that become hard to open or latch is another sign that more investigation needs to be done to your foundation. Other signs are: cracks in walls, especially over a doorway or window, cracks in tile or vinyl floors, leaning walls or bowing walls, leaning chimney, garage cracks, and slab cracks.
If you are aware of any of these signs, a little more investigation is needed by going outside and looking down the length of your foundation and notice if it is straight or if there are any bulges or divots. If you see bulges or divots, it is a sign that your foundation has shifted. Next, check the walls and see if there are any signs of bowing or leaning. If so, this means that the soil has contracted and expanded causing pressure against the walls. Underlying soil expands when it gets wet and shrinks when it dries. This causes voids underneath the foundaiton causing it to shift or settle.
Basements and crawlspaces should be checked to make sure that the posts are straight and are firm underneath the beams they support. Check to see if framing is wet or if there are puddles forming. If that is the case, it is a sign of poor drainage around the foundation. This poor drainage can also cause the soil beneath the foundation to shift or settle.
Concrete Cracks and What They Mean
Concrete and block foundations normally have a few cracks because it shrinks when it cures causing it to crack. These hairline cracks are not signs of foundation problems, However, if a crack is wider than a quarter inch, or you see stairstep cracks in the masonary joints, these concrete cracks are signs of foundation settlement. Another sign that a crack is of concern is if they are horizontal. This is an indication that water-saturated soil has frozen and expanded causing it to push the concrete in and breaking it.
By recognizing any of the signs of foundation settlement, this will give you a heads up if you are looking at a home to buy, or for your existing home's safety. A foundation repair engineer, can analyze the situation and suggest a solution. My Foundation Repairs will send an expert in your area to examine your foundation and answer any questions you have. The experienced foundation repair specialists use only the best underpinning products in the industry. The steel push piers, helical piers, plate anchors or any product that is needed for foundation repair are made by Earth Contact Products (ECP), the leading manufaturer of foundation repair and basement waterproofing in the industry.
My Foundation Repairs is committed to giving homeowners the most qualified and experienced foundation repair contractor in the area that uses only the best products available to repair any of your foundation problems. For a free estimate from an expert in your area, contact My Foundation Repairs today!