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Winter Is Coming - Is Your Foundation Ready?

houses in fall

From our experience, foundations don’t like winter much. It’s long and cold, and places tremendous stress on their primary support system: the soil.

Winter is also when homeowners are least likely to notice and correctly identify developing foundation issues.

This makes fall the perfect time to give your foundation that all-important once-over to check for developing cracks, leaks, instability and drainage issues.

With a little time and investment now, you can forestall a potentially devastating situation from unfolding during the most difficult season of the Canadian year.

Fall Foundation Problems to Watch For

These fall foundation problems serve as early warning signs of a more serious foundation problem.

Creaking or squeaking floors

Perhaps the most common earning warning sign is when your floor starts to creak or squeak. This is great when you are planning for your Halloween party, but not so great when your are planning your home maintenance budget.

Unless you have unfinished concrete floors in your home, it is pretty hard to know exactly what is causing these sounds. 

In the best-case scenario, your floorboards are simply getting dry and cold. Winter causes contraction, which can create gaps between the floorboards and supporting subfloor structure.

The worst-case scenario typically involves some combination of shifting soils, rotting joists, cracked concrete or sheet rock and similar issues.

Hot spots

Hot spots in a particular area of your floor can signal an underground plumbing line leak or a burst pipe. The prevalence of frozen, burst pipes in winter can generate a lot of calls to our office!

Sloping floors

When your floor starts to slope, it’s another worrisome indication that your foundation itself may be settling.

When the surrounding soil begins to move, the support your foundation relies on to stay level moves with it. The result is often a floor that slopes.

Sagging crawl space

A sagging crawl space points to a similar change in the surrounding structural support. Older crawl spaces outfitted with traditional ventilation systems (or no ventilation) are often very humid and this can lead to wood rotting.

When the wood joists mould or rot due to contact with moisture, they cannot support your crawl space properly. Sagging is often the result.

Walls bowing inward or outward

A shifting foundation frequently produces a telltale bowing of the walls. Here, identifying what is causing the foundation shift is a critical step in choosing the right repair solution.

Foundation settling, high clay content in the surrounding soil (clay is expansive and holds onto moisture), hydro-static pressure (water pressure from moisture trapped in the surrounding soil) and wall cracks can all cause the appearance of bowing walls.

Leaning chimney

The same types of issues that can cause the walls of your home or basement to begin to bow inward or outward can create a leaning chimney.

This is one of the most structurally dangerous issues for your home and you should not wait to seek a professional’s guidance!

Windows or doors sticking or refusing to stay shut

It is only natural that windows and doors will move a bit over time. But when those that used to function perfectly begin to swing open or stick shut, your home is definitely trying to send you a message!

A shifting foundation is one of the most common reasons that these movable structures stop working properly.

White powdery dust in strange places

One of the strangest sights a homeowner will ever see is “dust” where no dust should ever exist. Sure, you expect to see dust on tables, chairs or windowsills. But in the middle of a wall or floor?

As you might have guessed, this isn’t dust at all. It is efflorescence, a fancy term for what happens when water evaporates and leaves mineral salts residue behind.

Efflorescence, like dust, typically recurs in the same places. Small interior leaks can create a passageway for water to the wall’s surface, where efflorescence will serve as a calling card to let you know water was once there.

Fall Foundation Fixes: What We Recommend

Modern foundation fixes are faster and more affordable than ever before.

But like any repair, the faster you identify and confirm the problem and begin the repair work, the less likely a minor issue is to become a major issue – and a major expense!

The first step is to identify the issue(s) causing structural instability with your foundation, walls or crawl space. Then we can match the fix to the problem.

Wall supports

Wall supports include anchors, braces, reinforcers, piers and jack posts. Each solution is designed to provide support to a key part or the whole wall or floor area.

Our wall support solutions are strong and sturdy, durable and very long-lasting.


Waterproofing solutions exist for both crawl space and basement moisture problems.

In either case, waterproofing treatment can be applied from the inside, which is particularly ideal in winter when the ground outside is frozen solid and difficult to work with.

In the case of a crawl space that is sagging or rotting, crawl space encapsulation along with insulation and improved drainage is the ideal route to restoration.

For a basement with signs of mould and mildew, cracks, damp or humidity, efflorescence or standing water, interior basement waterproofing typically takes only one to two days and will resolve all of these issues with a single treatment.

Get in Touch

Do you see telltale signs of foundation problems? We can help! Ask about our EasyQuote free no-obligation inspection and repair estimate.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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