Although you cannot see it from the outside, the foundation of your home is vital to its overall structural integrity. The foundation is what your home is built upon, and it is responsible for holding your home up, keeping it both sturdy and safe.
Unfortunately, there are several factors at play working against your home’s foundation at any given time. Moisture, cold weather, and even minor seismic activity can cause damage to a foundation, and the damage itself may not be apparent at the outset. Catching any damage as soon as possible is crucial for preventing further damage to your home, and also ensuring a simpler repair process.
If a problem occurs in the foundation, there is bound to be problems in several crucial areas of the home as a result. It is for this reason that you should always make it a priority to ensure that your foundation is in optimal condition.
So how does one inspect a foundation for damage when it is located underground? There are actually several visible signs in and around your home you can check for that will alert you to any potential damage. Here are five of the most common.
1. Cracks in Exterior Bricks
One of the most tell-tale signs of a shifting or sinking foundation is cracks in your home’s exterior. The cracks do not necessarily have to be that noticeable, either. Look closely for hairline fractures in between bricks, or any bricks that appear to be uneven. If you have basement access, be sure to start your inspection there, as you will have a direct line of vision to the foundation itself.
It is easy to dismiss minor flaws in or around bricks, but paying attention to any unnatural discrepancies can help you catch problems well in advance.
2. Improperly Fitting Windows and Doors
Foundation issues cause your home to be uneven in several areas, creating a noticeable effect on door and window frames. Just one or two inches of foundation shifting can cause your window and door frames to angle, making it difficult to raise and lower windows, or fully shut a door.
Inspect doors and windows for any small gaps whenever they are shut as far as possible. The slightest space remaining is an indication of unevenness at best, and foundation problems at worst. Even if your foundation isn’t to blame, it is good to ensure that your windows and doors close properly, preventing any cold or heat loss from your HVAC system.
3. Sagging Floors
Uneven floors are one of the most obvious signs of foundation problems. Your floor’s level is contingent on the foundation remaining in place and intact, so any slight movements can cause you floor to slope, even if only slightly. A good way to test for this is to place a tennis ball in random parts of your floor throughout the home. If it rolls on its own, you might need a professional inspection.
Another simple way to check your floors is to look for any unnatural gaps in between the flooring and baseboard. The baseboards in your home should rest on top of the floor. Foundation issues will cause separation.
4. Water Damage
Foundation shifting can cause small slopes and divots on the outside of your home that can encourage water either collecting or seeping further into the soil. This can lead to moisture collecting in various areas of your home, or through any cracks in the home’s exterior. Significant foundation damage can cause rainwater to collect inside your walls, causing paint to peel, or wood to warp. In some cases, cracks and sagging can occur on your roof, leading to water damage to your ceiling.
5. Cracks in Interior Walls and Crown Molding
While cracks in exterior bricks may be harder to spot, interior wall cracks should be easier to spot. Such cracks may run along baseboards, in the middle of walls, or in corners. Crown molding issues are easy to spot as well. Be on the lookout for crown molding cracking or separating in corners.
Contact Dirt Connections for Your Foundation Needs!
Dirt Connections’ team of experienced contractors are always happy to assist you with any inspections or repairs for your home’s foundation. We provide numerous repair techniques and methods that allow us to handle most any foundation repair situation. Contact us today to find out how we can address your home’s foundation needs and provide a structurally safe and sturdy home for decades to come.