4 Exterior signs of Structural Damage to the Foundation of Florida Homes
If your house has structural problems, you will be able to spot some of the signs. Outside, you may notice that the foundation is cracked or crumbling in places. Or, you suddenly realize that an outside wall of your house or the part of the foundation that is above the ground is slightly tilting. The worst thing you can do in these situations is wait. It is best to call a professional structural contractor right away to assess the foundation before things potentially get worse. We are very conscious of the unique structural issues experienced by Florida homeowners. Here are a few as well as structural damage problems that affect all homeowners.
1. Leaning Foundation Walls cause Exterior Cracks
Homes in Florida are primed for settling. This is because of the types of soil in the area, the limestone deep underground, the frequent rains and fluctuations in the water table. As the ground swells or shrinks depending on how much moisture is in the soil, the ground under and around a house’s foundation can shift. One of the results of this type of shifting is that a foundation wall may start to lean. When a foundation wall leans, the cinderblocks are now resting on an uneven surface. Cracks start to develop. Water seeps in and the foundation becomes less stable.
2. Moisture and Pressure Shifts cause Cracks too
Settling cracks are common in homes. In frame homes, they form as the house’s framing expands and contracts from weather, moisture and pressure shifts. This kind of movement happens all the time. Over time, all framing eventually starts to sag. Joints in the house start to separate and a crack forms. Cracks can occur in both older and newer homes. These cracks are not all necessarily structural damage, but the only way to know for sure how serious a crack may be is to get an expert structural contractor to look at it.
3. Improper Drainage causes Erosion
Soil erosion around the house is a huge problem for homeowners, especially in Florida. Since this area has a lot of rain, homes that aren’t prepared to handle that much moisture start showing damage early on. Some of the main reasons homeowners start having foundation problems include: improperly placed gutters and downspouts, grade issues and improper drainage, and lack of maintenance.
4. Dark Discoloration of Wood Suggests Rot
Too much rain over time unfortunately results in excess moisture, which causes rot. Areas of your house that are exposed to moisture but aren’t waterproofed or sealed properly will eventually rot. Your first clue to rot is a dark discoloration on wood surfaces and other materials that have been repeatedly soaked. This color change comes from the fungal growth that starts the decaying process. Common rot areas tend to be around windows and doors, the fascia of the roof, soffits and crawlspaces.