In most cases, a failing foundation is very noticeable problem, creating issues both on the inside and outside of your home that are difficult to ignore. If you don’t know the signs of a failing foundation, though, these issues can seem random, leaving you confused as to why your home seems to be crumbling apart before your very eyes.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common symptoms of a failing foundation to help you determine when it’s time for foundation repairs.
Cracks and Fractures
The first and most obvious sign of a failing foundation is the cracks, fractures, and fissures that it creates. These cracks will likely be present in the foundation itself, but a failing foundation may also create cracks in your walls and the brick outside your home as well.
First, it’s important to note that small, hairline crack in your foundation are to be expected and are not necessarily a sign that your foundation is failing.
Within the first two to three years, most foundations will develop small cracks that are less the 1/16” in width, and these tiny cracks aren’t cause for concern, if you even manage to notice them at all. With that said, though, cracks in your foundation that are any larger than 1/16” in width warrant further investigation.
Any cracks in your walls or the brick outside your home could be a sign of trouble as well. As a foundation fails, it places strain on your walls, causing them to form cracks that could be vertical, horizontal, or angled. Horizonal cracks are the most concerning of the three, as they indicate that the perimeter of your foundation is under a serious amount of strain. However, any cracks at all in your walls or brick are cause for concern regardless of their size or orientation.
A Sinking or Settling Foundation
Every home’s foundation settles a little over time, but in most cases this settling is minor and unnoticeable. If your home has settled or sunk so much that it is creating noticeable issues then this is a sign that your foundation is in need of repair.
You may notice that one side of your house sits lower than the other, or you may notice that the center of your house is sunk in compared to its outer perimeter. In both cases, this degree of settling warrants concern.
Keep in mind that even small dips that aren’t currently creating too much of a problem can quickly grow larger, creating major structural damage. If you are able to notice that your home is sinking – no matter how minor it might seem – it’s time to consult foundation repair experts.
Doors and Windows that Won’t Open or Close Properly
A failing foundation can create misalignments in your walls. Since doors and windows must be perfectly aligned with their frame in order to open and close properly, these misalignments may make it difficult for you to open or close your doors and windows all the way.
If you notice that a particular door or window in your home isn’t opening or closing like it should, foundation failure is a likely cause of the problem. The same goes for garage doors, which may not align properly either if the foundation of your home is failing.
Foundation upheaval is the opposite of foundation settling – rather than sinking down, portions of your home’s foundation may raise up.
As the soil beneath your foundation takes on excess amounts of moisture, it may expand, pushing your foundation up. Foundation upheaval most generally affects the outer perimeters of your foundation, but interior areas of your home such as doorways and hallways can be affected as well.
In the same way that a sinking foundation can destroy your concrete slab, foundation upheaval can also be very damaging to your foundation. If you notice that portions of the outer perimeter of your home have shifted upwards, it’s important to repair your foundation as soon as possible in order to limit the damage of foundation upheaval.
A Damp Crawl Space
If you live in a pier and beam home, heavy moisture in your crawl space may be a sign that your foundation is failing. Of course, there are several other things that can cause moisture in your crawl space as well, so you will want to make sure that no other issue is present before you take moisture in your crawl space to be a sign of foundation failure.
Since excess moisture in your crawl space can create a number of problems on its own such as attracting termites and causing mold and mildew to grow, though, it’s an important issue to address.
Counters Separating from the Wall
As your foundation moves, the walls attached to it will often move as well. This movement can pull your counters away from your wall, creating noticeable gaps between the two. At first this separation may seem minor, but over time a gap upwards of 1/2” or larger may form between your counters and walls.
A failing foundation that causes movement in your walls can create noticeable issues with your cabinets as well. As with your counters, you may notice gaps between your cabinets and your walls, or your cabinets may begin to tilt and become unlevel if they remain thoroughly fixed to the wall as it is moving.
What to do if You Notice Signs of a Failing Foundation
Realizing that that your foundation may be failing can be a sickening revelation. The good news is, though, that most every problem that causes foundation damage can be fixed, bringing your home back to perfect condition.
If you have noticed any of the signs outlined above and are concerned that foundation troubles may be the cause, we invite you to contact us today. The foundation repair experts at 1-800-Foundation will be happy to help you determine whether or not your foundation needs to be repaired and come up with an effective, efficient solution if repairs are required.