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The Signs of Foundation Problems

Do you know what cracks, gaps, settlings, and leaks in buildings have in common?

These signs indicate problems with the structural integrity of your property. Most foundations in the US are adversely affected by soil, climate, flooding, and poor drainage systems. Sadly, whether new or old, residential or commercial, your property is prone to these challenges. 

And since your property is probably one of your most expensive investments, it pays to safeguard it. Therefore, if you notice anything unusual about your building, it’s prudent to seek professional advice. You can contact 1—800—Foundation Repair for a quick fix. 

Wondering why you can’t self-diagnose your foundation issues?

It might be tempting to self-assess your property, but it isn’t a smart choice. This is because most foundation issues are subtle, needing trained eyes to uncover them. However, as foundation repair specialists, we want to share some crucial signs with you.

We believe these warning signals will help you recognize foundation issues and seek professional assistance quickly. In no particular order, here are some 15 signs to keep an eye on. 

Exterior Cracks:

Cracks can be a visible sign of foundation issues. However, should you worry too much about them? You shouldn’t panic over fine, minor cracks on your exterior surfaces. Mostly, they are aesthetic and don’t pose any foundation issues. Yet, large, zigzag cracks are signs that your foundation needs urgent attention. So, don’t hesitate to call us when you see unusual cracks. 

Joint Expansion Separation:

Another sign of a foundation issue is joint expansion separation. Contractors built an expansion joint into structures to accommodate temperature changes, humidity, wind, the earth’s movement, and other factors. However, the expansion joint can separate over time, causing serious cracking. In addition, a faulty expansion joint can lead to the collapse of the foundation. 

Ceiling Cracks:

Can you see a continuous crack across your ceiling and down the wall? If so, then you probably have a foundation issue. Buildings with poor foundations may develop ceiling cracks. Even the smallest foundation settlement can cause these because the ceiling structure will shift. The appearance of problematic ceiling cracks might take the form of parallel vertical cracks.

Sticky Windows and Doors:

Your windows and doors should be able to open and close easily. So, a slight difficulty opening and closing your windows and doors should concern you. Note that sticking windows and doors are clear symptoms of structural issues, indicating the foundation has shifted from its original position. And this makes windows and doors not open and close properly.

Floor Cracks:

Cracks in your flooring system are signs of a foundation issue. Though objects falling on your ceramic and vinyl flooring can cause cracks, they aren’t problematic. However, if you notice a wall-to-wall, tile-to-tile, or raised tile that is unusual in shape, there’s an issue with your foundation. And the most obvious cause can be moisture, which can damage the integrity of your structure. Seriously, too little or too much moisture can make your foundation unstable. 

Sagging Foundation:

You can see a home’s foundation problems by its sinking nature. So, you shouldn’t take it lightly when you notice this happening. It’s a disturbing sign that the integrity of your building is in danger. Are you wondering how to notice a sagging foundation? Well, it’s very easy—check if one side of your property is lower than the other end. In short, check for uneven floors. 

Rotten Pier & Beams:

Is your house or property using wooden piers and beams as support systems? If so, then watch out for these signs. First, decaying wood on piers and beams shows that the integrity of your house needs professional attention. Another foundation issue is excessive moisture in your crawlspace or basement. Also, insect infestation of the piers and beams should move you to seek expert assistance. 

Uneven Floors:

An uneven floor is one of the easiest symptoms of foundation issues. To a large extent, it’s common with older buildings. Yet, you don’t have to ignore its occurrence in newly built homes. It’s worth noting that an uneven floor can indicate poor quality wood, excessive moisture, and insect damage, among others. To test the level of your floor, pour some water on it and watch how it spreads out.

Movement of Home Items:

Though you might pay less attention to the movement of your room items, they are obvious signs of foundation compromise. For instance, the wide movement of your kitchen cabinet away from the wall shows major foundation damage. If you notice this unusual movement in your home, you must draw the attention of an expert. 

Foundation Upheaval:

Have you noticed your structure lifting? Then you have a foundation problem! While you might mistake it for settling, it’s a foundation upheaval. Foundation upheaval, which happens when a slab foundation rises upward, is a sign of a foundation problem and is often caused by too much moisture in the soil.

Flooding or plumbing leaks might allow excessive rainwater to reach the soil. Note that this structural challenge can raise an entire foundation, creating severe damage. Therefore, any slight sign of it deserves the attention of an expert. 

Unattached Chimneys:

Do you notice your chimney separating from its attached position? If so, then the integrity of your home is affected. Separating chimneys from a building is a clear warning that your foundation needs repair. While this may be just an issue with the foundation under the chimney, it might also indicate something is wrong with the home’s main foundation.

Basement Water Infiltration:

Do you have a basement in your house? And do you notice water running through its walls? If so, then you might have a foundation problem. Water seeping through your basement indicates the presence of a crack, allowing water to cause damage. Experts can solve this issue by using a polyurethane grout injection to fill cracks and produce a waterproof barrier on the soil side of the basement wall through a procedure called curtain grouting.

Cracks Near Corners of Windows and Doors:

The sight of diagonal cracks from the corners of your windows and doors toward the ceiling signals that your foundation may need expert attention. Of course, this may not be an issue if the cracks are small. However, larger cracks can indicate a serious issue with your foundation. So, if you’re unsure, consult a foundation expert to have a second look. 

Weeds Around Foundation:

Can you spot weeds close to your foundation? If so, do you know what is making them thrive? Probably, the area has enough moisture to aid their growth. These unwanted plants can cause major damage to your home’s foundation. 

They can create cracks and openings, leading to foundation instability. Some think scattered weeds don’t pose much of a threat compared to gathered ones. Yet, you can’t gamble on this advice until you consult an expert.  

It’s worth noting that weeds poking through the foundation itself call for immediate action.

Jiggling Floors:

Builders create foundation floors to provide stability. In addition, they designed it to prevent differential settlement of the structure. Therefore, a floor that bounces under your feet signals a structural problem. This might be caused by termites, poor structural design, moisture, or foundation settlement, among other factors. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What Are the Signs Of A Faulty Foundation?

A foundation plays a major role in the integrity of your home. So, a well-constructed foundation provides your building with stability from the ground up. A foundation performs this function by distributing the structure’s weight to the supporting soil. 

However, no matter its durability, it may weaken someday. Termites, moisture, soil expansion, drainage, transpiration, weather conditions, etc., are a few factors that compromise its integrity. Sadly, one or a combination of these factors can collapse your house. 

But regardless of their degree of impact, they always give warning signals. And a few of these signs are: sticking windows and doors, cracks in the floor, wall rotation, and diagonal cracks. Others include stair step cracks, ceiling cracks, joint expansion separation, etc. 

When Should I Worry About My Foundation?

Foundation damage should be of concern to all homeowners. This is because some of them can cause severe damage to your home, amounting to thousands of dollars in repairs. But interestingly, not all foundation cracks are detrimental to the integrity of your property. 

These minor cracks may look ugly and unsightly, yet they don’t endanger your home. These are non-structural cracks that result from shrinkage during the curing process. In contrast, you should be much more worried about structural cracks. They are mostly bigger, wider, and diagonal. 

What is Considered a Failure for Foundations?

A foundation exists to support the full load of your building. This is its basic function. So, experts consider a foundation a failure if it can no longer perform its primary function. A foundation failure results from excessive settlements, causing devastating damage to your home—walls, ceilings, floors, basements, and chimneys, among others. 

What is the Most Common Foundation Failure?

In most cases, the foundation acts as an interface between a supper structure and the underlying soil. Like all things on earth, a foundation can fail due to human error or an act of God. The most common foundation failure stems from a differential settlement. 

Differential settlement is the unequal settling of your home’s foundation. It’s caused by soil expansion and structural load, among others. When differential settlement occurs, you’ll have cracks, gaps, sticking doors and windows, warping frames, structural instability, etc.

What Causes a House Foundation to Sink?

As a proud homeowner, are you worried about a sinking foundation? Well, the fact remains that you aren’t alone. Most property owners are concerned about the cause of a sinking foundation. A sinking foundation occurs when one side of a building is lower than the other side. 

Surprisingly, they start slowly and steadily, collapsing structures at unexpected times. While there are other factors, soil and weather conditions are the chief causes of sinking foundations. With regards to the soil, it expands and contracts, creating cracks and gaps in home foundations. 

Additionally, temperature changes—ice, snow, rainfall, etc., create excessive moisture that isn’t friendly to the foundation. These factors can weaken the structure, causing it to sink. 

What Causes Unstable Foundation in Building?

Your foundation is unstable if it’s gradually losing its support capabilities. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t develop overnight. It takes time, and there are underlying factors that contribute to it. You can count on poor drainage, weather conditions, soil expansion, and transpiration. In addition, an unstable foundation can result from plumbing work and design defects, among others.

Foundation Issue in Summary

If you’re like most homeowners, your house is probably your biggest investment. That’s why you should protect it from internal and external factors. To safeguard your home, you should perform routine checks on it. 

With these regular checks, you’ll notice any warning signs that might damage the integrity of your home. These signals include a sinking foundation, an uneven floor, exterior cracks, and sticking windows and doors. 

Also, ceiling cracks, foundation upheavals, and weeds near the foundation are clear signs your home might be in danger. Luckily, there’s no need to panic, as you can rely on us for all your foundation repair solutions. So, if you notice any of these warning signs, call us for a timely fix.