Your foundations are literally the part of your home that holds everything together, the anchor that makes sure each wall is kept in the right place and at the right angle. As you might expect, damage to your home’s foundation is not just a nuisance – it can be an incredibly serious problem.
However, knowing how to spot (and react to) individual problems is extremely important. One of the biggest causes of major foundation damage is not noticing smaller issues, which can quickly build up until they become a problem that requires a lot of time and money to resolve.
Here are nine core signs that something might be wrong with your home’s foundation, whether your home is brand new or has been around for decades.
Naturally, if you see cracks in walls and floors, then there is something causing them. This is usually foundation damage, and that means that you will want to do actual repair work instead of just filling them in and ignoring them.
Sagging Ceilings and Floors
If a foundation is damaged too much, it can start to shift, pulling walls and beams away from one another. This changes the weight distribution in your home and can often result in a sagging floor or ceiling, one that might get worse over time.
If your floor seems too slanted, then you likely have foundation problems. It is worth checking the flooring with a spirit level tool if you are ever unsure of how flat it is: if it is getting more slanted with each passing week or month, then you have foundation issues.
Stuck Windows and Doors
If the doors and windows in parts of your house have completely stopped closing correctly, then there could be some foundation issues that are distorting the frames. This is not the only cause of a window being stuck, but if it is happening to multiple at once, then something might be up.
This will gradually get worse and worse as the foundation problems intensify, so if a window goes from sticking to completely jamming, then you should do a foundation inspection just in case.
Any gaps between walls and other parts of your home (doors, windows, facades, or even a deck) can mean that your foundation is pulling parts of the structure apart. These not only let moisture and insects in but can get worse the longer you leave them unresolved.
Watch out for this kind of physical damage because it can result in needing major repair work for even the smallest issues. The earlier you catch it, the easier and cheaper it will be to repair, so do not hesitate to do some basic checks of your own or hire an expert to do it for you.
If you can smell something awful in your basement or other under-wall areas, then mildew might be leaking into the basement walls. While this can be a plumbing issue, it also happens when moisture can seep into the foundation through cracks.
This is not always a clear sign of foundation damage itself, but it can still be worth investigating – no matter the cause, it will be something that you will want to fix anyway.
Just like the mildew that could start forming in your basement, mold by the edges of windows and doors (or even at the edges of walls) can mean that moisture is getting into your home through a crack or gap.
As before, this could just be due to other sources of water or moisture, but you should never rule out foundation damage too quickly. The more mold you see, the worse things might be getting, do be sure to double-check everything as soon as you possibly can.
Bowing exterior walls are a sign that the foundation is moving. While it is easy to mistake heat or water-related paint damage with bowing at first, it should quickly become clear that the wall itself is shifting in a way that it should not be.
This can be important in houses that might cover quite a large surface area since the foundation damage might only start in one corner of your home. Catching the bowing walls early on makes a big difference, especially if they are load-bearing walls.
If you see nails popping out of drywall or poking out in strange ways, then the wall might be moving in a way that forces the nails out. This can be a very clear sign that something has pushed them out, and this usually means foundation damage – or wall damage, at the very least.
You can fill individual screw holes in drywall quite easily, but if a lot of nails keep popping out, then the damage will not stop coming any time soon and needs to be repaired as soon as possible. The longer you leave it alone, the worse it might get.
If your chimney is shifting or looks ready to collapse, then it is most likely being shifted by the foundation’s movements. A chimney runs all the way through a house, so any changes to the structure can impact the entire chimney as a whole.
Make sure to get it repaired and stabilized as soon as possible since a collapsing chimney can be a major health and safety hazard around the home. If it does fall apart, you can use one of our dumpster rentals to help move the damaged bricks and debris away safely.
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