8 Warning Signs Your Home Needs Foundation Repair
You’ve probably invested a lot into your home. And that’s exactly why you should do what you can to protect it.
That starts with learning how to identify the most common signs of foundation deterioration which can be caused by a variety of things: climate, inadequate drainage, leaks in plumbing, and soil. In order to help you make that identification, we’ve put together a list of things that may indicate that you are in need of foundation repair. The sooner you are able to pinpoint these potential problems, the easier and less expensive it will be to repair the foundation.
Sign #1: Sagging floors or ceilings
As the foundation of a home shifts, it starts to pull apart or push together walls and support beams, causing the weight of the house to sit disproportionately in certain areas and resulting in warped floors and ceilings. Use a level to check the slope of your home from time to time as slanted floors – especially continually in one direction – is a telltale sign of a need for foundation repair.
Sign #2: Your counters and/or cabinets are separating from the wall
Counters or cabinets that are pulling away from the kitchen wall might seem minute when the gap is small but the longer you let this process continue, the wider the gap gets and you know you have a real problem. When the walls of the house aren’t level, the cabinets and other parts of the house can no longer remain level and things start to slope.
Sign #3: Gaps forming around window frames and exterior doors
When your home is in need of foundation repair, the doors on the exterior of the structure often won’t align with the door frame properly, making them difficult to close. In some cases, the doorframe may become crooked and impair the door from operating correctly. Similarly, gaps between the window and frame may become obvious as water and insects slip through the cracks. If you’ve noticed these signs, you should do a visual inspection on your house, testing things like a slope in your flooring.
Sign #4: Nails popping out of the drywall
Nails that have begun to pull away from the drywall are an easy fix but if they occur consistently, it could be due to the movement of the wall and signal a much larger problem and need for foundation repair.
Sign #5: Your basement is emitting musty smells
If you’ve started noticing a musty smell in the corners and crawl spaces of your basement, this could mean there’s an issue with your foundation as the odor is likely caused either by mildew – indicating leaking basement walls or by a plumbing-related issue. Gutters that are blocked due to foundational issues can cause outside moisture to seep in through cracks in the foundation. Check your gutters as you give your home’s interior and exterior a once-over and if it looks like your gutters are clear and yet you’re still having problems with a damp basement, it could just require a little redirection.
Sign #6: Look for movement of your chimney
This is another telltale sign that you are in need of foundation repair and this is a pretty obvious one because few other things result in the movement of your chimney. If your chimney shifts too much, you run the risk of having it collapse in, posing a real threat to you, your family, and the value of your property. So if you do notice that your chimney looks a bit crooked, you should seek a professional’s expertise immediately.
Sign #7: Pinpoint sources of mold
Just like the mildew in the basement, recurring mold is a cause for concern. If you notice it reappearing in the corners of windows or walls, it means there’s moisture accumulation in your home so you should check those areas for foundation-related cracks and gaps that may be letting water in.
Sign #8: Learn to read foundation cracks
A crack in your concrete should not automatically raise red flags. Concrete shrinks as it cures so it’s bound to have at least a few cracks but it’s important to be able to distinguish between the cracks that are insignificant and those that are should raise alarm.
Hairline cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks rarely are cause for concern. But you should call in the experts if you see a crack that is:
- Horizontal or at a 45 degree angle.
- A stair-step crack on interior or exterior walls. This could mean that a plugged gutter or other moisture source outside is exerting too much pressure on the wall.
- Wide on one side and becomes narrower.
- More than ⅛ of an inch wide.
- Leaking water.
And you should always pay attention to cracks in the walls or floors of your home by measuring them monthly to make sure they aren’t growing in size.
For all your DIY foundation needs, Batchelder & Collins has got you covered with all the products you’ll need. If DIY isn’t so much your thing, ask about our recommendations and we can introduce you to a qualified company that can do the work for you.