If you are having trouble closing doors and windows around your home that feel like they are stuck, it could be a sign of a larger problem beyond the fixtures themselves. Your home’s foundation can succumb to damaging forces from poor soil and weather conditions, settle and move over time, and display various signs of foundation damage.
Spotting early signs of foundation problems is important for the safety of your home and family, as well as ensuring the best solutions will be used for cost-effective, long-lasting repair. Below are eight simple signs you can keep an eye out for throughout your home, and what to do next if you see them.
How to Tell if Your House Has Foundation Issues: 8 Simple Signs to Look Out For
- Cracks in the walls or floor – Cracks can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or in a stair-step pattern, and they can appear on basement walls, drywall, slab floors, and around window and door frames. These are the most common signs of a foundation problem and indicate movement of some sort within your foundation.
- Misaligned or sticking doors and windows – Windows and doors that are difficult to open or close, or may have shifted within their frames, point to foundation settlement and often accompany other problem signs.
- Gaps between walls, windows, or doors – Gaps of any kind, whether around doors, windows, walls, or floors, also indicate foundation settlement or movement. They can let in water and pests and lead to additional problems.
- Sagging or slanting floors – Unstable floors that are sagging, slanting, bouncy, and uneven don’t necessarily mean there is a problem with the flooring material itself. Rather, the supports below are failing because of water, moisture, mold, rot, or unstable underlying soil.
- Leaning chimney – A chimney needs to stand straight and tall on the side of your house, not look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this structure is cracking and pulling away from the rest of your home, it could be due to unstable, shifting soil underneath it.
- Bowing basement walls – Your basement walls also need to stay sturdy and upright, but because of their underground location, they can succumb to hydrostatic pressure that has enough force to push basement walls inward. This results in bowing walls that also crack and leak water.
- Musty smell from mold, rot, and mildew in the basement or crawl space – While more indicative of problems in your basement or crawl space, musty odors and mold growth can result from a foundation that has cracked, shifted, and allows moisture and water inside.
- Damp walls, leaks, or water intrusion – Similarly, cracking and bowing walls from damaged foundations can let water inside and result in dampness, leaks, and flooding.
Digging Deeper: What’s Behind These Problems
If you see these symptoms in your house, you may wonder how they happened in the first place. Some people are quick to blame the original builders. Even though errors during construction can happen, there are other destructive forces at play underneath your home. Environmental factors like the soil and weather conditions where you live are generally the causes behind most foundation damage.
There are hundreds of different types of soil, but they are all made up of basic ingredients: sand, silt, and clay, which are distributed differently throughout the country. Sandy soils that drain water more rapidly are dominant in southern states. Clay soils that hold water and are expansive and silt soils with intermediate drainage characteristics are both widespread throughout the nation. Due to inadequate compaction, wetness and softening during wet and rainy seasons, and drying and shrinking during droughts and dry seasons, all soil types may become unstable and unable to adequately support a foundation.
Realtor.com also cites degradation of stem walls, foundation settlement, and foundation heave as the top three causes of foundation problems, which also can be tied to soil conditions. Foundation settlement is the change over time that occurs when soil beneath the home shrinks and becomes unstable. Foundation heave is the opposite, occurring when soil rises over time, usually as a result of settling in other areas. Additionally, hydrostatic pressure, water damage from flooding, leaky pipes, or poor exterior drainage can also cause foundation damage.
How to Fix Foundation Damage with Professional Assistance from Groundworks
Now that you know a little more about the problems your home’s foundation is facing, your next step is fixing the damage. The longer it continues, even if it seems minimal right now, the worse it will become. Cracks will grow, settlement and areas like uneven floors will become more dangerous for your family to be around, and repairs could end up being expensive, massive undertakings.
Fixing these foundation problems is not something to take on yourself. The best thing you can do for your home and its foundation is have them professionally inspected and repaired. With local offices in more than 30 states, Groundworks has local branches throughout the country that can help you with all your foundation repair needs.
Following a thorough, free inspection by one of our experienced experts, they will recommend repair solutions specifically tailored to your home’s needs. We offer a variety of foundation repair solutions guaranteed to permanently stabilize your foundation and protect your home’s safety and longevity, including:
- Carbon Fiber Straps – Low-profile carbon fiber straps may be used to permanently strengthen your basement walls if they have slight to moderate cracks and less than 2″ of inward bowing. These straps are 10 times stronger than steel and are used with epoxy glue for secure attachment to the walls. These straps do not actively fix or move the walls back; rather, they hold the walls in their present positions and protect against any additional movement.
- Wall Beam Repair System – Your basement walls will benefit from our specialized wall repair beams if there is any amount of inward movement and you would like to gradually move the wall back to a straighter position without digging outside the home. Our wall braces are a step above conventional I-beams. The state of a wall cannot be improved by static beams, but our braces may be periodically adjusted to help return walls to their former positions.
- Wall Anchors – Wall anchors are our third technique for permanently stabilizing foundation walls with any inward movement. Similar to how our wall braces work to counteract hydrostatic pressure, wall anchors do the same. A steel rod links the earth anchors, which are buried in stable soil 10 feet away from the damaged wall, to wall plates inside the basement wall. To straighten the walls over time, these inner components may be tightened using special equipment.
- Crawl Space Supports – Crawl space floor joists may be harmed by humidity, wood rot, and soil erosion, which leads to sagging, uneven floors. Crawl spaces and difficult soils are taken into consideration while manufacturing our customized crawl space support posts. They are adjustable, will reinforce and help lift floors above crawl spaces, and may be modified to meet your specific crawl space height.
- Foundation Piers – To permanently stabilize your foundation and potentially lift it back toward its original position if your house is experiencing foundation settlement, we will use one of our piering methods. These include helical piers, push piers, or slab piers that are placed deep in the soil and rely on more stable load-bearing soil like bedrock for stability.
Another concern homeowners have when tackling foundation repair is the cost. This can vary depending on many factors including the type and amount of damage, and what is recommended to repair your home. For an accurate picture of how much your foundation repair project will cost, it is best to have an inspection completed by our specialists. They will take your budget into consideration and provide you with a transparent, free estimate that details how much the repairs will be.
Trust Groundworks to Inspect and Repair Your Foundation Problems Today
Before they endanger the safety and security of your house and family, foundation issues must be fixed using reliable personalized methods. The most effective way to create a safe living environment is to entrust your foundation repair to the Groundworks professionals in your area. Our crews will take excellent care of your home, for we understand that it is more than simply a house. We also have earned many awards for our solutions and services, as well as glowing reviews from satisfied customers who now have stable homes. To book a free inspection and estimate with our experienced and friendly staff, contact us today.