A major part of being an owner of a home or building is knowing the warning signs of potential issues, especially foundation issues. The foundation is the stable base of the building that supports the entire structure. Structural integrity depends on a secure foundation. Foundation issues can affect almost every aspect of your home or building, from doors and windows, to walls and up to the roof.
Knowing what warning signs to look for in your foundation can save you a lot of money if you notice the signs early and arrange for repair. Ignoring the issues over time can lead to a lot of damage that will be expensive to be fixed, or worse yet, not able to be fixed.
What causes these issues? There are a number of factors involved in foundation problems. Water is a big factor. Here in Florida, the heavy rains associated with summer storms or hurricanes combined with inadequate drainage is a common cause. Plumbing issues can also be a cause. Soil erosion or poor compaction can also create foundation problems such as uneven sinking.
Not sure what the warning signs are? Following are the most common ones to look for.
- Cracks or fractures in the walls or floors. Hairline cracks (1/16”) are common. Look for cracks that run in a horizontal pattern, especially over doorways, windows or where the walls meets the ceiling.
- Doors and windows that stick and don’t open and close properly. Interior doors will tend to stick at the top, whereas exterior doors drag at the threshold. Exterior doors can even appear to hang down and are uneven
- Uneven floors that slope
- Cabinets and counters that are pulling away from the wall. Uneven foundations create walls that aren’t level, which affects how the cabinets or counters hang.
- Cracks in exterior walls that are large and in a zig zag pattern are a warning sign.
- Foundation sinking. Some settling of a foundation is common. But, if one side of the structure appears to be lower than the other, this could indicate a problem with a sinking foundation.
- Foundation upheaval. The opposite of sinking, this is when the foundation rises. It’s most common in slab foundations that have been exposed to excessive water or moisture.
The above are the most common signs of foundation problems to look for. It’s a good idea to seek advice if you see anything that doesn’t seem right or has changed over the years.
If you notice any of the above, or anything unusual, call us and have us come out and inspect your home or building. We’re experienced in all aspects of foundation repairs and have structural engineers ready to evaluate any issues.
It’s better to know if you need foundation repairs now rather than letting it go, as it will only get worse and take more time and money to fix. Look at it this way – your house or building was a large investment. An investment that you hope will grow in value over time. Neglect your foundation repairs and you will surely have trouble either selling the property or receiving the dollar value it’s come to be worth.