Foundations are often made of concrete, supported with steel. Over time, and taking into account environmental factors, all concrete will crack to some extent. This is a natural occurrence known as ‘settling’. Before you panic, ‘settling’ is not to be confused with genuine problems with your foundation. Luckily, there are ways of distinguishing settling from foundation problems.
You might notice an unsightly crack in the foundation of your house, or you might wonder why things seem a little slanted. The foundation is the structural support for your entire house. If the foundation isn’t sturdy, nothing else will be quite right. The longer it’s left, the bigger the problem it can be. In order to save yourself the headache of common foundation problems, here are some signs to watch out for to resolve the issue as soon as possible:
Uneven or Sloping Floors
You might not notice that your floors are sloping or uneven until you change the flooring. When a new floor is being put in, it’s common to update the baseboards too. If you’re doing the floor yourself, particularly a hardwood or laminate floor, you’ll know the floors are uneven if there is a changing in the spacing of the older baseboard along the walls: at some points there will be a noticeable gap, at others the flooring will be a tight fit. This suggests there are problems with your foundation.
Cracks in Brickwork: Both Inside and Outside
If your house includes any brickwork detailing, there will be cracks in the brick, often occurring where the mortar separates each brick, giving it a jigsaw appearance.
Cracked or Unjoined Moldings
If you have moldings around your home, it’s recommended to examine them for any signs of misplacement. If the moldings are cracked, or have become detached at the corners, or seem to be sloping due to an unseen weight, chances are you need to examine the foundations of your home for weaknesses. The best way to do this, of course, is to consult a professional.
Misaligned Doors and Windows
Doors and windows, when not aligned correctly, can be a tell-tale sign of needing to repair the foundation of your home. Foundation problems in general are caused by the foundation succumbing too much to the weight of the house. When professional contractors build a house, we factor in the weight of the materials when measuring the foundation. If your old contractors did not calculate the exertion of pressure correctly, your foundation becomes like a weightlifter exceeding their maximum weight, and can no longer sustain the structure of the house.
Foundation problems can be quite serious, but there is no need to panic: it’s not as if your home will crumble away in the next month. The signs that your home is experiencing foundation problems are provided in order to convince you to take action, but this is not cause for severe worry. The best thing to do is to consult a professional and see how severe the problem is before committing to costly repairs.