The average US consumer spent a whopping $20,679 on housing-related expenses in 2019. That’s 2.9% (nearly $600) higher than the previous year.
Granted, those costs had more to do with mortgages, taxes, and home insurance. However, they also included necessary maintenance and repair expenditures.
Foundation repair services are perfect examples of essential home repairs. These are common; about 25% of all US homes have foundation damage due to expansive soils alone.
Either way, fixing foundation issues ASAP is crucial as failure to do so can lead to more severe problems. From structural to water damage, all these can result from a failing foundation.
With that said, there are several indications of such problems that you should be on the lookout for. We’ve shared some of the most common foundation warning signs in this guide, so be sure to read on.
The earth’s crust, known as the lithosphere, undergoes constant changes and movement. For starters, it consists of 15 to 20 shifting tectonic plates. Because of these plates, the world’s landmasses move at an annual average rate of 0.6 inches.
For that reason, it’s normal for home foundations to experience some level of movement, too. For example, a home’s foundation can sink two to three years after its construction. This can result in tiny hairline cracks forming on the foundation.
However, contracting and expanding soils can magnify the effects of the movement. The same goes for inclement weather. In such cases, your home’s foundation, floors, and walls can develop large and thick cracks.
Jagged fissures on floors can mean that the soil on which your house sits is shrinking or expanding. It can be an indication that the ground is no longer providing your house with adequate support.
Horizontal gaps in the foundation and the walls can also signal foundation woes. These are often signs that your foundation’s perimeter is under significant pressure. Gaps measuring even just a quarter of an inch are already a cause of concern.
Call a licensed foundation repair contractor as soon as you notice those signs. The longer these common foundation problems go untreated, the worse they will get. They can even introduce, cause, or contribute to even more structural issues.
Severe settlement issues can cause your home’s foundation to sink in the middle. This can make the foundation develop a basin-like structure.
Unacceptable levels of settlement can also make one side of your home sink. This can make one side of your home look like it’s lower than the other side. You may feel that your floors are uneven or that there’s a slight slope to them.
Please get in touch with a foundation repair company as uneven floors can be safety hazards. They may increase your risks of slipping, tripping, or falling at home. In the US, slip and fall accidents land more than 9 million people in hospitals each year.
Moisture penetration in door and window frames can cause them to stick. Plumbing leaks and heavy rains are the usual culprits behind this foundation problem. These issues are common, as half of US homes exhibit visible dampness or mold signs.
Moisture can make your doors and windows stick as it can compress wooden frames. As a result, the frames become tighter, making it difficult for you to open or close the windows or doors.
Sagging floor joists and support beams that bow can also cause sticking issues. Piers that settle can also contribute to or exacerbate these problems.
Since there are many potential causes of sticking doors and windows, it’s best to call in the experts. Reliable foundation professionals can inspect your home for free. They will then discuss all possible repair options to restore your home’s integrity.
Buckling of wood floors occurs when floorboards rise, causing surface humps and unevenness. Buckling in floors can arise from soil movement, foundation damage, and moisture.
Like sloping floors, buckling floors can also pose safety hazards, such as trips and falls. Even a slightly raised floorboard can already be enough to cause your foot to catch, making you trip.
All that should be enough reason to ring up a local provider of foundation services in Virginia. It’s vital to get your raised floors inspected as soon as possible so that you can determine the root cause. Correct diagnosis ensures that the buckling undergoes proper treatment and resolution.
For example, moisture-induced buckling may be due to severe plumbing leaks. In this case, you need to enlist the services of a licensed Virginia plumber first. Repairing the plumbing leaks is a key step to preventing further moisture damage.
If soil movement is to blame, a foundation repair expert will discuss your repair options. It can be as simple as adding spouts to redirect water away from your home’s foundation. In more serious cases, they may need to pump grout into your foundation.
Countertops and cabinets should be flush against the wall without any noticeable gap. Visible spaces between them can indicate foundation problems.
As soon as you notice those cracks, ring up a foundation repair contractor. Those gaps can cause your countertops and cabinets to tilt, slope, or become uneven.
Those problems can also be a safety concern, as the slope can make the stuff inside the cabinets slide and fall. Uneven countertops can make food preparation difficult, too. Condensation can also make items on your countertops slide and crash to the floor.
Any visible gap, even if it’s only 1/16th in width, warrants a closer inspection. Ignoring these signs can lead to those tiny cracks widening and becoming more costly to fix.
Health experts recommend keeping indoor relative humidity (RH) levels between 30% and 50%. According to them, this range is comfortable and safe for most people. It also helps prevent mold and mildew growth.
One sign that you have high indoor RH is if the inside of your home feels muggy. The high moisture content of the air can make you feel as if it’s harder to breathe. In any case, high humidity levels can cause unpleasant sensations.
Your air conditioner may help lower indoor RH since it sucks in moisture from the air. However, the more moist the air is, the more work the AC must do, forcing it to consume more energy. That extra stress can also cut your space cooler’s life short and make your energy bills go up.
Foundation problems can contribute to elevated indoor RH levels. This can happen when excessive moisture enters through the crawlspace or building cavities. Foundation drainage issues can also send a lot of moisture into your home.
If your home feels damp even with the air conditioner running, you may have foundation issues. Schedule your home for a free, non-obligatory foundation inspection as soon as possible.
Excessive humidity levels in crawlspaces promote the growth of molds. After all, these microorganisms thrive in damp environments. They only need moisture, oxygen, and food (cellulose in building materials) to thrive.
Mold growths in crawlspaces can be signs of potential and existing foundation problems. Give them enough time (24 to 48 hours if there’s enough moisture), and they can start to proliferate. From there, they can emit a foul, musty stench that can permeate the inside of your home.
Please keep in mind that molds can cause respiratory issues, even in healthy folks. However, those at the greatest risk are people with existing lung problems. They can also trigger allergy and asthma attacks or exacerbate symptoms.
For those reasons, it’s best to have your home inspected for moisture problems. Your local foundation repair pros can determine if you have molds at home. They will also help you ascertain the causes and, of course, give you options on how to address and resolve them.
Chimneys are often susceptible to damages caused by oversaturated or extremely dry soil. When the soil under your house moves, it can lead to a broken or tilting chimney. A damaged or unstable chimney is not only unaesthetic; it can also give rise to potential dangers.
Unless it’s leaning, chimney issues can go unnoticed until you call a roofer for service. One way to keep track of this part of your home is to use binoculars from the ground. This can help you discover chimney cracks or damages without having to climb your roof.
If your inspection uncovers such issues, get in touch with a foundation repair expert.
From cracked floors to sticking doors, all these are signs of foundation problems. What’s vital is to have these issues repaired right away, as they will worsen over time. So, as soon as you unearth these symptoms, call a local provider of foundation repair services.
Is your home in Virginia Beach, Newport News, or a nearby area exhibiting signs of foundation woes? If so, our team here at BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair can come to your aid. Please feel free to request your free inspection and quote today.
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.