If a crack on your basement wall or water pooling around the foundation of your house is making you worry that you may have a problem, you are wise to not let the question drag on for too long. Often times these cracks can be due to settling issues that are not harmful to your structure. Other times, however, these things can be a sign of foundation problems with your house.
The National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors lists several warnings signs of possible foundation problems. Check through this list to see if any of them sound familiar to you.
- Squeaky or sticking doors.
- Door sills separating from frames.
- Windows that stick. Do the windows fit squarely without binding?
- Cracks in interior walls near corners of doors or windows. Check joints where walls meet walls, doors or ceilings to make sure they are not pulling apart.
- Nails which are working loose from walls, ceilings or sheetrock or gypsum boards.
- Wallpaper that is coming loose or curling from the walls.
- Curling or tearing of sheetrock repairs.
- Cracks or leaks in or surrounding the fireplace.
- Cracks in the exposed concrete grade beam of the house. Examine the concrete at the base of your house for cracks. These could be either nonstructural or the first sign of an issue with the foundation.
- Caulk that is separating from outdoor surfaces of your house. Go outside and examine the bottom corners of windows and doors. Look for diagonal cracks along the mortar joints in brick veneer.
- Any obvious cracks in brick and mortar.
- Nails working loose from corner frames.
- Cracks and uneven elevations in structures attached to adjoining patios.
If you notice any of these problems with your home, contact your foundation repair expert to assess the situation. They will be able to identify whether the signs you see are natural results of settling or from a more serious situation.
One of the main causes of foundation problems is water—either too much or not enough. If you have too much water, the soil will swell; too little water will cause the soil to shrink. Now this may not be a problem if the soil sinks or swells uniformly; it’s usually when part of the soil shrinks or swells and the rest of it doesn’t that serious problems can occur. Varying moisture levels in the soil can cause foundation cracks and other problems.
As you might suspect, an increase in the moisture level of the soil can cause more damage than a lack of moisture. Plumbing leaks, a flood or a high water table can contribute to this problem. Be sure that sprinkler systems are properly installed so that water is not sitting by your foundation. Also check that gutter downspouts are directed away from the foundation.
If you suspect home foundation repairs are in your future, call in an expert for advice. Getting prompt, proper repairs will ensure peace of mind and a safe home for years to come.