Foundation Failure Warning Signs

Foundation Problem Warning Signs

Warning Signs in Ridgeland, Clinton, Madison, Brandon, and More

A foundation that is moving, sinking, or heaving can be significant in terms of damage and expense. When the soil underneath a home is altered, primarily due to moisture changes, it will shrink or expand and become less stable. The foundation that rests upon that soil begins to either sink or lift, and the pressure from its movement causes strain on other parts of the home. Resulting cracks, stuck doors and windows, sloping floors, and other types of problems become evident.

If you notice any of these signs of foundation problems, contact us today for a free* estimate.

Cracks

Floor

A sinking or heaving foundation will put pressure on floor materials and can cause cracks or breakage in tile, wood floors and concrete substrates. Plumbing leaks tend to go unnoticed until it becomes a bigger problem. When water—the catalyst for most foundation problems—seeps out quietly from a crack in a plumbing line, the damage it causes before it’s noticed can be extreme.

Sheetrock

Noticeable cracks in drywall or sheetrock are a clear sign of foundation movement. They are most typically noticed near windows or doors and corners of the home. To be sure a prior owner didn’t cover cracks in the walls caused by a foundation problem, examine the drywall and sheetrock inside and outside of your home. Rather than looking straight at a wall, stand to the side and look at it from an angle.

Brick/Siding

The evidence of foundation damage may be most noticeable in fascia boards around a roof, on siding, and in openings around doors, windows, and garages. For instance, on a brick home cracks will be noticeable in a stair-step pattern moving through the mortar, a sign that the foundation has sunk and the bricks are beginning to separate.

Foundation

Exterior cracks in the foundation alongside a home are a sign of the foundation’s lack of stability on the soil below.

180 Degree Cracks

If the entire house sunk one inch, there would be no foundation problems. But because foundations typically sink in one corner, the pressure will cause a starting point and an ending point. If you find a crack in the middle of the house by the front door, for instance, it’s likely you will find the “ending” crack 180 degrees on the other side at the back of the house.

Corners

Check for cracks in siding near the corners of your home and around doors and windows both inside and outside of the home.

Misaligned Doors, Windows, Floors

Gaps

Large openings, such as doors, windows and garage doors are usually the first point of pressure in a moving foundation and will show signs of cracking at corner joints.

Sticking Doors & Windows

Sticking doors and windows are not only an annoyance but can also pose a serious safety risk when residents cannot easily get in or out of an area. Doors and windows become misaligned when the foundation moves and causes shifts in the home’s structure.

Sloping Floor

As a home’s foundation shifts, sloping may become noticeable toward the point of the foundation failure.

Other Considerations

10+ Year Old Home

Older homes are more prone to foundation problems, especially in the semi-arid southern region of the United States. At about the 10-year mark, homes have settled, mature trees surrounding the home have larger roots seeking water, plumbing is older and more likely to develop a leak, and there have been many wet/dry cycles in the weather causing soils to heave and shrink.

One-Story Slab, No Basement

Typically, a one-story home with a concrete slab directly on soil, surrounded by lots of trees and watered flower beds will be a hot spot for foundation problems. Raised foundation houses (on pier and beam) are typically less susceptible because they have less direct contact with the movement of soil beneath. Two-story homes are also less susceptible because they are typically better reinforced during construction to handle a heavier load from the second story. Homes with basements and crawlspaces are also less susceptible because their footings are deeper in the ground in more stable soil.

*Free estimates in the Jackson metro area.

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