Your foundation can start to lose its structural integrity for a variety of reasons. While moisture and unstable soil tend to cause the bulk of a home’s foundation problems, some of those problems can also be traced to the materials a team used during your home’s initial construction.
Construction Mistakes That Can Threaten Your Foundation
No construction team is infallible. The team that built up your home may have run into any number of problems during initial construction, including but not limited to:
- Uneven slabs – Construction workers may have poured the slab of your home unevenly or otherwise improperly fitted your foundation to the rest of your home, causing cracks and damage to appear and threaten your house’s structural integrity.
- Inappropriately treated concrete – A construction team may have attempted to move your concrete before it had appropriately cured or otherwise caused it to become more brittle than it would have had it otherwise cured too quickly.
- Hollows – Hollows describe the gaps in the soil that construction teams can leave behind after building a home. Your foundation can sink into these hollows over time, causing foundation damage and instability.
- Loose soil – Construction teams may not account for the way soil can change during the construction of a home. Most of the time, the soil around a home’s foundation ends up much looser than it used to be once the foundation’s been installed. Some construction teams can compensate for this change, but others may fail to do so and put the structural integrity of your home at risk.
- Inadequate building materials – In some cases, the team that built your home may not have had access to the proper materials needed to establish a structurally sound foundation. While the materials installed throughout your foundation may have passed state code requirements, they may also be less durable than alternative materials, or they may have suffered damage during the construction phase.
Symptoms of Foundation Failure
A failed foundation may need temporary repairs before it is replaced or lifted up in full. It’s not always easy, however, to determine at what point your foundation needs this kind of care. Ideally, you’ll want to reach out to the professionals in your area to schedule a home inspection once you suspect that something’s gone wrong.
Signs that your foundation’s taking on more damage than it can weather include:
- Foundation and Drywall Cracks – As your foundation starts to take on damage from inadequate building materials, you may start to notice cracks in your drywall. These cracks will most often appear around your door frames, but they may also appear near the base of your home. These cracks, unfortunately, aren’t just aesthetic in nature. They can often lead down into your foundation or serve as offshoots of a larger foundation crack. You won’t be able to determine the extent of this damage without excavating some of your foundation—work that you should not attempt on your own. With help from professionals, however, you can access the extent of this damage and respond to it.
- Interior Dampness – No one enjoys living in a high-humidity home. Homes with a poorly built foundation are more prone to water damage, however, as well as higher levels of internal moisture. This moisture doesn’t just make your home unpleasant to live in. It puts you at greater risk for exposure to dangerous molds and can more readily rot the structural supports in your basement, crawl space, or foundation.
- Sticking Doors – Foundation damage can impact the overall structural stability of your doors in one of two ways. For starters, a damaged foundation is more likely to allow moisture into your home. That moisture can warp your door and window frames, making both more difficult to open or close. Alternatively, a sinking foundation can destabilize the supports keeping your door and window frames in place. Again, those doors and windows can become more difficult to use as that damage grows worse.
- Leaning Chimneys – The longer you let damage sit in your foundation, the more severe the symptoms of the damage will become. Your chimney, for example, may start to fracture and lean if your foundation begins to lose its stability. A damaged chimney isn’t just unsightly; it’s dangerous too. A chimney that breaks away from the foundation of your home can do serious damage to your roof, meaning you’ll have to pay for both foundation and roof repair later down the line.
- Sinking Porches or Driveways – The hollows that open up beneath your home don’t just allow water to make its way more easily toward your foundation’s structural supports. Gravity can work in tandem with these hollows. After a time, your foundation and other concrete structures can start to sink into these gaps in the soil. Even if the gaps aren’t that significant, this kind of sinkage can cause your floors to buckle, your supports to separate, and your home to become unsafe. The good news is that this kind of damage tends to give itself away. However, you’ll want to work with the professionals in your area to determine whether piers or another solution may suit your home best, in terms of repairs.
Repairing a Sinking Foundation
If you think your foundation has been taking on damage as a result of mistakes made during the property’s construction, you have the chance to act. Professional contractors serving your area can help you understand what kind of damage your home is taking on and how best you can combat it.
You can reach out to the contractors in your area today to schedule a foundation inspection. Professionals will provide you with a free quote noting what services you may need to improve the structural integrity of your foundation.