Whether you are in the market to buy a home and checking to see if the house is structurally sound or whether you are a longtime homeowner, the state of a house’s foundation is extremely important and repairs should be seen as a priority. Foundation problems can start out small yet become sizeable over time. Recognizing the early warning signs and addressing them before they are full blown problems can save you many headaches and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.
Here are a few things to look for when checking for foundation troubles.
Inside the house. Your house may be trying to tip you off to problems of foundation movement; keep your eyes and ears open.
- Floor is not level.
- Cracks appear in walls and ceilings, particularly over doors and windows and where the walls and ceilings meet.
- Doors start to jam or won’t latch.
- Windows start to stick when opening or closing.
- The basement or crawlspace has moisture or puddles, likely indicating poor drainage around the house. Basement waterproofing may be required in this case along with ensuring proper slope of soil away from the house and cleaning out gutters.
- In the basement or crawl space there are typically concrete supports and posts, also known as teleposts. The posts should be straight underneath the beams and firmly rested on concrete piers.
- Look down the length of the foundation wall from corner to corner; it should be a straight line with no bulges or divots. These are signs that your foundation has shifted.
- Place a level against the wall to check for leaning. There should be no signs of leaning, shifting, bowing or of the foundation jutting out.
- Cracks – hairline cracks in concrete are quite common and not likely a problem; however, keep an eye on them to make sure they are not expanding. Anything larger than a hairline should be looked at by a professional to assess the situation.
- Horizontal or vertical cracks that are wider than ¼ inch or stairstep cracks in masonry joints are more cause for concern and should definitely be assessed.
If you suspect foundation problems in your home, talk to a professional before it worsens. This is definitely one of those projects that should NOT be put off.
For more information on foundation problems or basement waterproofing, talk to your local home improvement expert or foundation repair contractor.