Why You Can't Settle for a Settling House
Know the signs of settling, what’s normal and when to call in the pros
Every homeowner wants to believe that their house was built on a solid foundation. The truth is, not all homes have the support that they should, and common signs of settling may point to a bigger problem. There’s no need to panic, however; knowing the signs of settling and when to call in the pros puts you in control of the safety of your home.
What Causes Settling?
Water is the major source of most problems with a settling foundation. There are several reasons why your house might suddenly begin to sink or list to one side. If the house was originally built on soil that wasn’t properly compacted before the foundation was laid, the weight of the house and the natural flow of water will cause it to compress over time. Soil that expands and contracts considerably with changes in moisture or temperature, such as clay, can also lead to settling. Houses that were otherwise stable might start to settle after a major storm if enough water finds its way through the soil underneath the foundation.
Poor construction and a lack of reinforcement when the foundation was originally laid can lead to future problems. Even a good foundation can suffer from settling without proper maintenance. You also want to avoid planting shrubs too close to the house, since these take moisture from the ground and can wind up causing excessive dryness that facilitates soil shrinkage.
Beware the Lopsided House
How do you know if your house is settling? Watch for these telltale signs:
• Windows that no longer open properly
• Doors that stick or are hard to open
• Cracks in the ceiling or walls, especially in sheetrock
• Cracks in the basement
• Visible cracks in the exterior, including brickwork or the foundation
• Floors that bend or bow
• Molding that separates from around doors and windows
• Walls that change alignment
• Unusual or excessive flooding in the basement, especially after a storm
When to Call the Pros
Some signs of a settling house, including small foundation cracks, are simply the result of weather changes and are nothing to worry about. However, if new cracks are appearing more frequently or old cracks are getting larger and longer, you’re likely dealing with a foundation problem. Also of concern are pipes and gas lines that bend or break without warning. If you notice any of these signs, call Ram Jack of Indiana or visit our website for information on our comprehensive solutions for failing foundations. We offer repair services for a variety of damage as well as direct foundation repair and house leveling to ensure that your home is stays stable, strong and level.