A firm foundation is fundamental for your home. After all, without it, every other structure that holds your house in place, from the crawl space or basement to the walls, ceilings and even the chimney, is at risk.
Yet it isn’t always intuitive to make the connection between structural problems you observe in walls, ceilings, doors, windows or floors and issues with your home’s foundation.
For instance, when a wall cracks, a chimney leans or a floor starts sagging, it can seem a world away from the foundation.
But these are exactly the kinds of common warning signs that arise to let you know your foundation needs some long-overdue attention!
Cracks in the Walls
Seeing a crack in the wall can be alarming. Instantly, the sense of security you felt evaporates. You start to wonder what’s causing it and then worry your home will fall down around you.
While most wall cracks appear to deliver a milder warning, if left unchecked, they certainly can cause a wall collapse as they widen and worsen.
Walls Bowing In or Out
If wall cracks are alarming, then the sight of a wall leaning inward or outward is downright horrifying. Most often, the cause is soil expansion.
Your soil type can also play its part in putting extra pressure on walls. Some soils are particularly absorbent and expansive (clay soil is an excellent example) and can trap moisture next to your basement walls.
If this moisture cannot dissipate naturally, or if it freezes (called “frost heaving”), it can expand in the soil further and cause more extreme wall movement.
Perhaps the most terrifying sight of all is when you look at your chimney one day and notice it has started to lean. This is especially the case when the chimney leans away from (rather than toward) the rest of your house!
Without correction from the foundation up, a leaning chimney can actually separate completely from the house structure and cause a tear all the way down to the basement floor level.
Cracks in the Brick
The two most common types of cracks in bricking are bottom-up and top-down. Where it starts and the direction the crack moves has everything to do with how your foundation is moving.
Cracks in the Floor
Floor cracks may be hard to spot in the early stages, especially if you have overlay such as tile, wood or carpeting obscuring the concrete.
These types of cracks are easier to see if you have an unfinished basement with a concrete floor.
Floors Begin to Slope
A simpler way to detect foundation movement is if formerly even floorspace begins to slope downward in one direction.
At first, walking across a sloping floor can feel like your sense of balance playing tricks with you. But over time, this slope becomes more radical and you no longer doubt it is real.
Windows and Doors Stop Working
When the foundation becomes sufficiently compromised, secondary symptoms will start popping up inside your home.
Two of the most common of these symptoms are when windows or doors either start sticking and won’t open properly or when they refuse to stay closed.
Other similar symptoms include cabinets and countertops that begin to separate from the wall and cabinet drawers that won’t open or won’t stay shut.
White Residue on Walls or Floors
When your foundation becomes compromised through micro-fissures and cracks, this often allows moisture to seep through.
While you may not see the damp or standing water, this moisture will leave behind a calling card—a white powdery residue called “efflorescence.”
Efflorescence looks so much like dust that at first you may not realize what you are looking at. But when the dust appears in places that normally don’t get dusty and it keeps recurring, it is quite likely not dust at all but evaporated mineral salts the water carried in with it.
Affordable Foundation Solutions
It’s not fun to realize your formerly solid foundation is starting to develop problems. Yet foundation issues are incredibly common especially as a home ages.
As well, the vast majority of home foundation problems arise from changes to the surrounding soil—shifting or sinking soil, expanding (moisture-laden) soil, contracting soil due to erosion or drought, changes to the water table that then changes the home’s grading, blocked or broken drains, and more.
The most important thing to remember is that foundation issues do not ever correct themselves. Rather, they typically get worse over time. The longer a foundation problem goes unaddressed, the more challenging and expensive the solution tends to become.
The good news is, foundation repair technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Today’s foundation repairs are quicker, cheaper and longer-lasting as well as much more aesthetically appealing.
The best news of all is that affordable foundation waterproofing solutions can prevent moisture seepage from returning to undo all the good work of past repairs.
By combining foundation waterproofing with crack repair and structural support, you protect your home in the present and enhance its future resale value as well.
Wall anchors, braces and reinforcers; pier and slab foundation support; crawl space jack support; moisture barrier; and waterproofing can be applied as needed, separately or in combination, to repair existing foundation problems and prevent their recurrence.
Get in Touch
Have you noticed any of the warning signs mentioned in this post happening to your home? Are you worried your foundation may not be as sturdy as you’d hoped? Complete this simple, secure online form for a free, no-obligation inspection and quote!
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