We’ve all at one time or another heard of buildings collapsing suddenly and we begin to wonder what could have gone wrong.
Buildings collapse for different reasons, but one major reason is foundation failure. This is when various damages occur to the building due to the foundation settling below the level of original construction.
Foundation problems can be nipped in the bud at an early stage to prevent more fatal damages. All you have to do is identify its symptoms and get a foundation repair before it gets worse.
Here are 8 symptoms (or signs) of foundation problem:
1. Cracks in Walls
Wall cracks, whether interior or external, are never good signs. Random cracks on the wall might be no cause for alarm, but when you start noticing a pattern, or when the cracks are adjacent to doors and windows, then you might be having a strong sign of foundation problems. When the cracks are found where the walls meet the ceiling, then you should take it more seriously.
2. Cracks in a Fireplace
Cracks on the fireplace wall; gaps between the fire place and the wall; or any other kind of fireplace distress is also a good sign of foundation problems. So is chimneys leaning away from the walls of the house. Once you notice any of these, call for it to be checked as soon as possible.
3. Doors and Windows That Stick Out or Just Won’t Close
Doors and windows are some of the best indicators of foundation problems. Doors and windows would normally operate correctly and without glitches on installation, and any slight change affects this smooth operation.
Whenever you notice your doors or windows sticking out of proportion, or swing open when not locked, or show gaps at the top or the bottom, then you probably have some foundation problem. Same as when you notice cracks on the walls at the corner of your doors or windows.
4. Stair Step cracks
Stair step cracks is also among the most common and obvious evidences of foundation problems – especially when the crack is wider than ¼ inch or the wall is bulging. These are signs you don’t need to give some time or watch further before inviting professionals for inspection.
5. Leakage through Cracks in Basement Walls
Basement walls are usually waterproof. When water (or earth) begins to seep through the walls of your basement (if your building has one), or you actually see the cracks that allow them in, then something is wrong with your foundation. The erosion will destroy your foundation further – and create some more expensive damage – if not curbed as soon as possible.
6. Uneven or Bulging floors
Uneven floors or walls could be an indicator that your foundation has shifted, or that the soil around your foundation maybe expanding or contracting. Bulges on the floor of the building can help you identify an uneven floor, because, unfortunately, uneven floors are extremely difficult to see.
7. Cracks in the Concrete Slab Foundation
These are clear indications of a distressed foundation, but might be hard to find because most buildings have decorative floor covers. Lifting the tiles or carpet might help you discover slab cracks, but that’s hardly done – or even thought of at all.
The best way to know if your foundation slab is cracked is when you begin to see some unusual ‘earthy’ bugs…bugs you’d normally see in sand or when you dig. I’m talking centipedes, slugs and other creepy bugs that crawl. They’re indications that your foundation slab needs some checking.
8. Cracks in tiles over a concrete floor
Finally, when you begin to see cracks and openings on your vinyl or ceramic flooring tiles, it might also be an indication of foundation problems. Try to get it checked to be sure.
Whether caused by erosion or soil type, or by more human errors like poor construction or poorly-compacted fill material, foundation failure isn’t a problem to handle with levity. At the earliest notice of any of the signs described above, call an expert to inspect your building. And if it’s required, as advised earlier, a foundation repair should commence immediately.
Delaying further would only lead to your foundation sinking further, causing more costly damage and potential health risks.
Now your turn…
Which other signs do you think might be pointing to a foundation problem? Let’s discuss in the comments.