A house is the biggest investment a person makes during their lifetime. Also, your house is your safe haven and a treasured place where you weave thousands of memories with your family. If you have already made the investment of money and time in buying a house, it is advisable that you take good care of it. Problems with the structure of the house are bound to occur over time. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to proactively look out for any signs of problems with the structure of the house and take the necessary actions.
Inconsistency in the foundation of the house is one such problem that is a threat to the structure of the house. But how do you detect this problem in the very beginning and safeguard your home? The simple answer is you learn to read the signs of foundation problems. Before we dive into what these signs are its good to know what are the factors that can cause foundation problems. Simply put, foundation problems are caused due to a plethora of reasons such as plumbing leaks, soil erosion, harsh climate, inadequate drainage provisioning, and poor soil compaction. It is always advisable to stay vigilant and act fast to prevent these problems from amplifying in the long run.
1. Foundation Cracks, Cracks in the Walls/Floor, and Other Structural Fractures
Foundation movement over time due to soil expansion and contraction, inclement weather, and other factors is a very commonly occurring phenomenon. The shift in the foundation of the structure creates gaps and cracks in the foundation. Foundation sinking two to three years after the construction of a house is a normal process which is bound to occur. However, if you come across horizontal cracks in brick exteriors or the concrete walls of your basement it indicates that the foundation has settled beyond the acceptable limit which in turn can become problematic. Wall fissures, floor cracks, and a broken chimney are some of the other signs that are indicative of the problems with the foundation of your home.
2. Sinking Foundation and Sloping Floors
If you notice that the foundation of your home is sinking then it is advisable that you call an expert to inspect the structure. Foundation sinking can be triggered by soil compaction, shrinking, and saturation. This can become prominent with time as one side of the house may start to appear lower than the other creating sloping floors. A good way to test even minor sloping is to keep a ball at the extreme corners of the house and see if it rolls to the other side. The excess settling can be corrected by installing interior or exterior foundation piers.
3. Sticky Doors and Windows
Sticky wooden doors and windows are often considered to be a sign of the presence of moisture in the air. When these wooden structures absorb moisture, they expand which makes it harder for you to open and close them. However, if the problem persists with no sign of humidity or moisture, it signifies a problem with the foundational structure. The movement of the foundation twists out the frames of windows and doors out of balance making them harder to work properly with.
4. Foundation Upheaval
The movement of slab foundation in the upward direction is termed as foundation upheaval. This is a key indicator of a problem with the structure of the foundation. Generally, foundation upheaval is caused due to the accumulation of excess moisture in the soil beneath it. Heavy rains, broken pipes and lack of proper drainage provisioning results in the soil getting wet and heavy forcing the foundation upwards. Frost heave is another key factor that causes a considerable shift in the foundation. When water freezes it increases in volume by 9% putting adding pressure on the foundation which can result in the formation of cracks.
5. Gaps Between Window and Door Frames
A problem in foundation structure causes the formation of gaps between exterior door and window frames. The doors stop functioning properly and may not latch sometimes indicating the presence of a structural deformity in the foundation.
6. Bowing Walls
Untreated cracks in the walls can cause bowing. However, bowed walls can also be a result of a foundation shift. When the soil under the foundation moves it creates hydrostatic pressure and poor drainage which allows moisture to permeate into the walls causing them to bow. Your walls might appear folding inwards due to this phenomenon.
7. Moisture in Crawl Space or Basement
Development of foundational cracks allows moisture to seep into the crawl spaces and basements. This moisture creates a musty smell, uneven sagging floors, and mold growth. A wet basement on crawl space is a definite indication of foundation problem which needs to be addressed quickly.
8. An Unusually High Number of Bugs in the House
Believe it or not, the presence of bugs in your house can be a sign of a potential problem with the foundation of your house. Development of foundation cracks not only allows moisture to permeate but also results in the development of habitat for moisture-loving bug species such as roaches, centipedes, carpenter ants, and pill bugs.
9. Tilting Countertop and Cabinets
Kitchen countertop and cabinets titling away or separating from the walls are a sign of problems in the structure of the foundation. The gaps are small, to begin with, but with time, a countertop can move as much as up to 1/2’’ away from the walls of the kitchen exposing the urgency of action required to correct the foundation problem.
10. Nail Pops
Drywall nail pops or nail pops implies the situation where the head of the nail is peeking through the paint and drywall. This occurs when excessive rainfall or severe drought causes the soil to expand or contract respectively causing the foundation to shift. While it is normal to see nail pops when your house is settling, frequent occurrences imply problems with the foundation.
How to Fix Foundation Problems?
As soon as you come across any of these signs give us a call and we will send our expert and seasoned property inspector to survey your property. In addition to not charging for the inspection, we provide a detailed quotation of the expenses you will incur in fixing the foundation post our survey. We believe in empowering our customers and helping them nurture and preserve the home of their dreams. Call us today and let us help you preserve your home for generations to come.