Your home’s foundation is something that you just can’t neglect. It supports your roof, walls, doors, and floors. The structural integrity of your house depends on your foundation, so damage to this part of the home can cause serious problems. As a homeowner, it’s crucial that you know how to identify foundation problems in its early stages to avoid repairs that are going to cost thousands of dollars. Thankfully, there are ways to determine warning signs for possibly damaged foundation. This article will list some of those signs to help you.
1. Inspect the basement
One of the first areas that you can check for foundation problems is your basement or crawl area. It’s vital that you check this place often as part of your regular home maintenance. There are a few ways to check the basement, such as:
- Musty smell that can be caused by mildew. Your gutter or plumbing could cause leaking basement walls, but if the gutter is clear and you have no plumbing issues, the culprit could be outside moisture that’s seeping through foundation cracks.
- Puddles or wet framing. These are also indications of moisture seeping through a damaged foundation.
- Investigate for mold growth and bugs. Insects and pests are drawn to wet basements and can enter through cracks.
2. Examine where the walls and ceilings meet
Cracks where the walls and ceilings meet also indicate that your foundation may have problems. Because of foundation movement, walls and support beams can compact or pull apart, and causes a shift in weight that results to cracks or sagging ceilings. It’s crucial that you’re observant and check these places every now and then to catch the crack formation while it’s still early. You can use interior scaffolding with a ring lock similar to this product so that you can inspect these areas closer and easier.
3. Test windows and doors
Foundation shifts or movement can alter or distort the window and door frames. There are times that these only need lubricant oils for a fix, but when more windows and doors are getting difficult to close or open, then it could be foundation problems. Test doors and windows often, especially those that you always keep closed. If they don’t latch or jam instead, consider getting your house inspected by professionals.
4. Observe for sagging, bouncing or uneven floors
Sagging or warped flooring are usually related to foundation problems. If you feel that the floor is somehow bouncing, it can be a sign of rotten wood. When you find these in your home, the best thing to do is to get it checked out professionally. It’s always a good idea to fix the cause of the problem before you replace your wood flooring.
5. Look for cracked or bowed walls
Besides observing the interior of your home, don’t forget to step outside and look for cracks on the walls or bowed walls. When the walls begin to bow, it can mean that the foundation has moved due to a soil movement. A few other things to note when checking walls are:
- Examine the length of your foundation wall from each corner to see if your foundation is straight.
- You can use a level to check for leaning walls precisely.
- If you notice that the exterior wall is pulling apart, call a contractor immediately before the wall collapses.
- Not all cracks on walls are due to foundation problems but do continually observe if they’re growing in size. Call experts immediately when you see:
- Stair-step cracks on your wall
- Leaking water in cracks
- Crack width of more than 1/8 of an inch
- Cracks that are narrow on one end and wide on the other
6. Check the chimney
Movement of your chimney is a strong indicator of foundation problems. These shifts can cause your chimney to collapse and can be a threat to your property and your family. Carefully observe if your chimney is tilting and have a professional reinforce or stabilize it in this case.
7. Include the yard area
Your yard can also show signs of foundation issues, especially if you have attached structures like a patio. If you see cracks on your patio or unusual shifts like elevation, it could mean foundation movement.
Home foundations are very significant that they are one of the things a home buyer should never overlook. It’s crucial that you know how to identify foundation problems so that you can have it repaired before it gets out of hand or too costly. Strong foundations are a must if you’re putting your home up for sale, or simply for your family’s safety. Don’t neglect the signs listed above so that you can call on the experts straight away.