If you were asked what part of your home is the most important structure, what would your answer be? Many homeowners would say it is their home’s foundation.
The foundation of a home isn’t glamorous. It doesn’t get any attention at open houses or holiday parties. No one decorates it with lights or gushes to friends and neighbours about how awesome it looks.
But we sure do notice when it starts to crack, bow, sag, slope or leak! This is also typically when our phone starts ringing here at Omni Basement Systems.
Discovering a foundation repair need is stressful from a time, cost and resale value level. In this timely post, we take you on a quick tour of your home’s foundation, talking about how structural issues such as cracks, leaks and shifting can develop and then outlining our recommended solutions.
What Causes Foundation Problems
Foundation troubles are an incredibly common issue many homeowners are facing today. This especially holds true for owners of older homes.
The unpleasant truth is that no foundation will last indefinitely. As with sump pumps, HVAC systems and other essential home structures that work constantly, foundations are also likely to face leaks, cracks, degradation and other issues over time.
However, aside from simple old age, there are also other known issues that can cause your foundation to start to crack even if it is still well within the boundaries of its useful life. Here are examples of some of the most common issues we encounter:
Compromised crawl spaces
Crawl spaces, as their name suggests, provide access points to important interior home structures. They are also useful to provide extra ventilation underneath and around your home to guard against the growth of mould and mildew.
Over time, the crawl spaces themselves can begin to sag, tilt, slope or sink for a variety of reasons. This can then cause a ripple effect that leads to foundation cracks and other issues at higher levels.
It is natural for a home’s foundation to begin to settle as the years pass. However, when this settling process happens unevenly, it can cause sufficient pressure that the foundation itself begins to sag and/or crack.
What is happening with the soil that surrounds your home’s foundation will always impact your foundation in some way. Moisture-saturated soil can in time place pressure on the foundation and basement walls causing structural issues.
Warning Signs of Foundation Repair Issues
How do you know when your foundation has developed an issue? Figuring out when your foundation needs extra attention can feel like a particularly challenging game of hide and seek as you look for the telltale signs of foundation disrepair.
No foundation is free from cracks. Just the process of laying the foundation, drying and curing it can cause small cracks to form.
However, not all cracks appear conveniently in highly visible locations where you can point right to them when your service technician arrives for a diagnostic check. Sometimes cracks are hidden away under cosmetic flooring or even appear only on the outside.
It is also important to look up and out—at times, cracks caused by foundation settling or shifting will actually begin at the top of the home and work their way down toward the foundation.
Bulging, bowing, sagging, sinking or sloping
When walls or floors start bowing, sagging, bulging or sinking, this can be another warning sign the foundation needs attention. This is especially the case if walls start bowing inward (from the pressure of moisture-saturated soil outside) or if there is movement in the lowest floor in your home.
Floors that seem to slope downward toward one side of the home can be another signal from your foundation that something is wrong.
Windows and/or doors don’t fit in their frames
Whether the issue is that doors or windows no longer close easily or they won’t stay closed at all but swing right back open after you shut them, the foundation may be at least partly or fully to blame.
Whether you are seeing white powdery residue, black or brown powder, greenish slime, rusty discolouration, dark patches or some other unusual colour changes, these changes may indicate the foundation has developed leaks that are seeping through to affect your interior.
Issues like mould and mildew can be tough to spot, but their odour often gives their presence away. Dank, damp, grassy or simply malodorous—some liken the smell of a growing mould colony to a pile of sweaty socks—new unpleasant scents are another potential warning sign of foundation repair needs.
How to Fix Foundation Cracks
Once your foundation becomes compromised through leaks, cracks, mould or mildew, moisture and other causes, it isn’t going to fix itself over time. Whatever foundation issues have arisen are likely to worsen the longer you wait to tackle the repairs.
Here are some of the foundation solutions we frequently recommend for repairing a compromised foundation:
These handy anchors reinforce existing walls against exterior pressure from surrounding soil.
Interior wall braces
Interior wall braces are an alternative to wall anchors that may work better in certain circumstances.
Wall reinforcing straps
This fix is designed to prevent further foundation damage in the future by stabilizing your existing walls with carbon fiber straps.
We use two types of piers: slab piers and foundation piers. Both kinds of piers provide reinforcing stabilization in different ways from deep below your home.
Crawl space jacks can lend extra support to the beams of your crawl spaces to help stabilize sagging, sloping or bowed floors.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664 if you suspect foundation issues!