Do Small Earthquakes Affect Foundations?
Texas has already seen its fair share of earthquakes in 2014 – the most recent of which took place in Victoria with a 2.8 magnitude. In February, a quake reaching 3.0 on the Richter scale shook the area just west of Azle. (Azle has been the site of many, if not most, of the Texas earthquakes so far in 2014.) And west of Amarillo, Hereford experienced a 3.5 earthquake in January.
While any sort of quake is enough for most Texans to take notice, these smaller earthquakes aren’t quite strong enough to do any severe damage. But that doesn’t mean they don’t take their toll, of course. Even minor earthquakes can damage a home’s foundation. If you live in an area with frequent earthquakes, even minor ones, you should check your home’s foundation for damage on a regular basis. To check your home’s foundation for earthquake damage, follow the tips listed below:
- Look for cracks outside: Cracks are the easiest-to-spot sign of earthquake damage to a home’s foundation. Hairline cracks usually pose no threat. However, larger and deeper cracks in your foundation’s blocks can indicate a shifted foundation. Any crack wider than ¼ of an inch could indicate problems. These cracks could be stair-step or horizontal in nature.
- Examine exterior cracks: If you find a crack, use a flashlight to peer into the crack. Note how deep the crack is or if the crack is clean through and has exposed the steel reinforcing. Anytime you see this, it can indicate severe foundation damage.
- Look for cracks inside: In addition to cracks in the foundation, cracks within your home in the sheetrock can also indicate a foundation shift. However, small cracks are most likely no big deal. Be sure to look around door openings and windows both inside and outside for cracks as they are often present themselves in these areas. You also may notice doors or windows becoming difficult to open and shut when the foundation has sustained damage.
- Look for broken blocks orbricks: Broken bricks or blocks on the foundation indicate damage to the foundation. Crumbling blocks or bricks most certainly indicate a damaged foundation. Therefore, be sure to examine your foundation’s blocks or bricks carefully.
- Examine your whole house: Do a visual examination of the outside of you home. Make sure your home is not off the foundation or leaning in any way. In addition, examine your chimney and make sure it is not leaning or has become unattached.
- Contact the experts: No matter how sure you are that your home’s foundation has not been damaged, if the area you live in has had several earthquakes, it is best to contact foundation experts (hint, hint) to make sure you have not overlooked any damage.
To reduce costs in the long run, call in the experts – ASAP.
Having a foundation that has sustained damage of any kind needs the attention of a professional. It is important to not let any foundation damage remain without attempting to have it repaired. And really, ensuring that your home’s foundation is structurally sound is one of the most important issues you need to be concerned about as a homeowner. After all, a damaged foundation can negatively impact your whole house and eventually lead to major structural issues – all while bringing down your home’s overall value.
Thankfully, there are many ways to repair a foundation without a huge expense or hassle. For jobs that require a bit more of an investment of your resources, we offer a range of financing options. So if you suspect you have damage to your foundation due to an earthquake or other issue, don’t try to wait it out – because it will only get worse. Instead, call in the experts as soon as possible.