10 Critical Signs You Might Have Foundation Issues

Written by Blake Heron on . Posted in .

There are a lot of household problems that can be swept under the rug for “future you”. One set of problems that you don’t want to ignore, however, is foundation issues.

Foundation issues can ruin a house if left untreated, and they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. It’s best to identify them as soon as possible to save yourself a headache and a lot of money in the future.

Your home depends on the strength of your foundation. It supports the entire structure of your house, because it’s all connected. If there’s any weakness in the foundation, the damage will work its way up.

If you’re worried that you might be dealing with foundation issues now, or you want to be prepared for the future, don’t worry. Read on to learn about ten critical signs that you might be experiencing foundation issues in your home.

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What Causes Foundation Issues?

Several things can lead to foundation issues, but most commonly they’ll start with the dirt and soil underneath and surrounding the building.

As the soil collects water, it acts like a sponge and expands. Expansion doesn’t have to be a big deal, but too much expansion can put pressure on your home. That pressure can lead to minor structural damage, which can then lead to leaks, which can then lead to mold or greater structural damage.

It’s a problem that increases in severity the longer that it goes untreated. It’s best to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid any costly repairs in the future.

1. Cracked Drywall

If you have some walls with some diagonal cracks creeping up, you might be in trouble.

While a vertical crack might be normal, if you find yourself spotting more cracks form over time, it might be time to look into the foundation of your home.

Your floors are supported from the foundation upward, so if a crack has formed in the living space, then something is moving below. This is a clear sign that the foundation is not stable.

2. Gaps Between Exterior Windows and Walls

A shifting foundation can pull your walls away from your windows and doors.

This will likely happen very slowly, but it’s incredibly harmful over time. As the foundation pulls the walls away, the gaps can create room for moisture or bugs to get in. This can create more problems for the structure of the house.

If you notice this happening, call someone immediately to check out your foundation.

3. You Notice a “Sinking” Feeling

If you’ve realized that one side of your building is lower than the other, or that your foundation appears to be “settling”, this is a problem.

Even a tiny dip that starts as only a few centimeters can grow to inches over time, so this is an issues that needs to be addressed quickly.

4. Counters, Cabinets, or Other Static Structures Separating From the Wall

If you notice that things that were once attached firmly to the wall now have small gaps in between them, look into the foundation.

If the floors and walls are no longer level in your home, this causes the things attached to the floors and walls to detach or crack in response. Even if you don’t notice the de-leveling, you can notice the detaching.

5. Cracked Chimneys

Excessive moisture or an unbalanced or unleveled foundation can lead to a chimney being cracked or broken, even completely crooked!

While this might not be something you recognize immediately if you start seeing other small signs, look to your chimney for confirmation.

6. Cracks in the Walls or Floor

Not all cracks are a cause for concern. Cracks happen in paint, or even in heavier materials. Hairline cracks can be easily fixed and are often cosmetic.

There are dangerous cracks though. If they’re horizontal or at a 45-degree angle, if they’re more than an eighth of an inch wide, or if they’re wider at one end than the other, it’s important to get them checked out.

These can be indicative of structural or foundational damage and can lead to larger cracks down the line if they’re not taken care of quickly.

7. Nails Popping Out of Drywall

Again, while this happening from time to time, or minimally, is totally okay, if it’s excessive you should look into it.

8. Warped Floors or Ceilings

If your ceilings or floors sag down or warp up, it can show that your house is settling or your building is compressing.

This is a bad sign of foundation issues, and it needs to be addressed. It’s more obvious in floors. While sometimes floors are built slightly off-level, if you notice a change, take note.

9. Musty Basement Smells

If your basement smells particularly musty or unpleasant, you might have a mildew problem.

Mildew happens because of moisture that’s getting in through tiny cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, this means foundation problems.

10. Unusual Walls

If your walls are doing things that they’re not supposed to be doing, it might be time to call in an expert. This can include a few things.

If they’re bowing in, this can be similar to the sagging floors and ceilings. There’s some compression happening and it needs to be adjusted before the problem gets worse.

Your walls can also begin pulling away from the house. If that happens, you run the risk of the whole thing coming down. To avoid this, call someone in immediately, don’t wait for more signs.

Is It Time to Call a Professional?

If you’ve experienced one or several of these signs of foundation issues, it might be time to reach out to someone for help.

Even if you’re unsure, it doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion from someone who’s seen this before. If you need an expert, check out our page and contact us for help. We can assess the damage before it’s too late.

Blake Heron

Written By Blake Heron

Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.

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