Our houses aren’t just the place that we spend our lives and raise our families, for most of us they are also the single most valuable asset we own. For that reason, it makes sense to take quick action when you suspect something might be wrong with the fabric of the building. What at first seem like minor issues can spiral into something a lot more drastic if left unattended. Knowing the signs of damage to your house’s foundations is very important. Damage can be caused by a variety of different factors, from soil erosion, to water damage, extreme climates or bad drainage. The earlier that you can identify and treat these issues the better, so be aware of the signs that there may be a problem and you could save yourself a lot of future trouble.
One of the biggest telltale signs of foundation damage to your home is cracks in brick or sheetrock appearing.If there are visible gaps in your home’s foundation work or the brick exterior, it usually indicates that something is wrong. Cracks appearing in the floor, or fissures in the wall, along with a broken or leaning chimney are also a clear sign. Expanding or contracting soil, flooding or bad weather are often at the bottom of this problem, and it can look pretty alarming. In fact, the only time that cracks appearing doesn’t necessarily indicate foundation issues is when a house is newly-built and still settling, or sometimes if you have added an extension to your home which can cause shifting in the structure. If this isn’t the case, or the cracking seems excessive, it can be more serious. Generally, horizontal cracks are more indicative of damage to the foundations. If water or an infestation of insects gets into a crack they can cause it to widen and become even more damaged. Many cracks can be cosmetic in nature and no cause for concern, but if you see new ones appearing regularly or the cracks are above 15mm wide, then it’s probably best to call in a specialist firm to assess the situation.
Another pretty big indicator that there’s something amiss is if you notice floors are no longer level or any bowing or sagging in particular areas. The type of symptom can depend on the style of foundations your house has – pier and beam foundations will tend to result in sagging flooring, where damage to concrete slab foundations tends to show itself as uneven floor levels, so be aware of what type of foundation you have, and how signs of damage might appear. Uneven or dipping floors can be an extremely dangerous issue in their own right, especially for those with mobility issues, the elderly or small children. Foundation movement is something that gets worse over time, so concentrate on getting the problem remedied as soon as you can.
A sticking door might seem neither here nor there, but it is a frequent indication of issues with your homes foundation. If interior doors are sticking or dragging at the top of the frame, it’s important to investigate the issue promptly. If you have French doors they may no longer meet in the middle and become impossible to lock, which can be a real problem in itself. Occasionally this problem can be caused by excess humidity instead, especially following heavy rain and if your doors have wooden frames, but if you notice cracking and other signs as well then it’s likely to be due to shifting foundations and needs to be properly investigated by professionals at the earliest opportunity.
You may also notice some gaps in the expansion joints on exterior walls, or even separation in your frieze boards.These gaps are usually vertical if they result from foundation issues. Although they may initially look small, they can rapidly expand to become a significant problem. If you take no further action, it is possible for foundations to shift even more and cause huge structural damage. The longer you avoid the issue, the worse it can get, and where gapping is present, a multitude of safety issues can quickly develop. Enlisting the diagnosis and help of a specialist foundation repair firm at an early stage is crucial to minimise damage, costs and danger.
If you observe any or all of these signs of foundation movement in your house, then calling in a qualified foundation repairs contractor as soon as possible is essential. Getting an true assessment of the situation from a trained eye is the first step to securing your home and repairing the damage