The foundation is one of, if not the most critical, components of any home. The foundation is what keeps moisture out, prevents movement, and insulates your home from heat and cold. While the majority of foundations survive a lifetime with no problems, there are times when a foundation will fail. Poor drainage, climate factors such as dryness, poor soil conditions, and plumbing leaks, to name a few, can all contribute to foundation failure.
Knowing the indicators of foundation problems is critical since they can cause a variety of problems throughout your home. The sooner you notice the warning signs of foundation failure, the easier it will be for a foundation repair professional to remedy the problem before it worsens.
Whether you're buying a property and are concerned about the foundation, or you're a Waterloo Region homeowner who suspects their home has foundation problems, here are ten important foundation failure warning signals that you should be aware of.
Cracks in Exterior Walls
Keep an eye out for cracks in your home's external walls. Surface cracks that are small and thin should be examined, although they may not be that problematic. Large outside fractures in a zigzag pattern, on the other hand, could indicate serious foundation problems. Bricks that protrude from the wall should also be checked out, especially if the issue is a new one.
Cracks in Interior Walls
You should also keep an eye out for cracks in the interior walls of your home. Cracks that run diagonally from the corners of door and window frames are a warning that your foundation needs to be inspected. The problem becomes more serious as the fracture line grows thicker and longer. Changes in smaller cracks should be watched. You may have foundation issues if they develop faster or get larger.
Walls That Bow
Another sign of a foundation problem is bowing walls. Diagonal cracks on the inside or outside of the wall can indicate bowing, so keep an eye out for these. You can remedy the bowing, but you'll need to address the foundation issues that caused it in the first place to prevent it from happening again.
Floors That Sag
Uneven floors are usually a sign that the foundation is shifting or settling beneath them. Roll a marble across the floor to see if it follows a straight course or veers towards the center of the room if you fear your floors are uneven or sagging.
While this isn't the most scientific method, it will provide you with an approximate estimate of the problem. The sloping can sometimes be attributed to poor structural design, but in most situations, the problem can be traced back to the foundation.
Moisture in Basements and Crawl Spaces
You can be sure that if your foundation has cracks, water will find them and seep into your basement or crawl space. You will most likely detect an unpleasant, musty odor coming from these damp locations. If you notice an odor or visible water in your basement or crawl space, it's critical to figure out what's causing the problem and then take steps to reduce moisture fast.
Door Frame Separation and Crooked Doors
When foundations shift from their original position, a crooked or "out-of-square" door can result. This indicates that each corner of the door frame opening is no longer 90 degrees. Foundation problems are often indicated by out-of-square doors.
Step back a few feet from the door and look at the top edge of the door in the frame to see if there's a problem. From left to right, you should notice a continuous space between the door and the frame. If one side of the door is wider than the other, it is “out-of-square,” and you may have more serious foundation problems.
Doors and Windows That Stick
It could be a sign of foundation issues if your windows and doors are becoming more difficult to close. The shape of frames can warp as an unstable foundation shifts. Doors and windows may not close properly as a result of this.
New Gaps Between Walls, Doors and Window Frames
Gaps between walls, windows, and doors can be an indicator of foundation problems, aside from the fact that you don't want cold or hot air leaking into your home. Look for gaps in other areas of your home's interior as well. There could be a foundation problem if there are gaps above your kitchen cabinets or between the wall and the countertop.
A Chimney That Leans
You may believe you have a problem with your chimney if it begins to lean or develops cracks. These warning signs, however, are frequently indicators of a foundation problem. If your chimney appears to be crooked, contact a professional right away to have it repaired and reinforced.
Because a tilting chimney can collapse completely, it poses a serious threat to your family and home. You'll also need to deal with the underlying issues that are at the root of the problem. If you don't, your chimney reinforcement may not be sufficient.
Cracked Floor Tiles
Dropping things on the floor tiles can, of course, cause damage. However, the damage is usually limited to a small area when this occurs. If you notice a crack that runs through multiple tiles or tiles that are lifted off the floor, don't ignore it because it could indicate a foundation problem.
Don't be alarmed if you detect one or two of these warning indicators. To some extent, every home settles. However, if the problems become more frequent, you may have a more serious concern. If you're concerned about foundation damage, you should have your home inspected by a foundation repair contractor. An expert should be able to identify the source of your problem and prevent further damage.
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