Signs of Foundation Failure
In many areas of Texas, the soils on which houses are built are prone to foundation problems. These soils, known as expansive soils, swell or expand with moisture and contract or shrink when they become dried out. In Texas, our rainy season often comes swiftly and heavily, then the summer droughts quickly follow. Year after year, these drastic seasonal changes are often enough to cause foundation problems in homes across Texas. But, how do you know if your foundation is in need of repair? We’ve put together a quick check list for you to identify the warning signs of foundation problems.
1. Are Cracks Developing?
A settling or heaving foundation will put pressure on areas of your home, causing cracks to appear. The most common areas for problems to develop include:
- Bricks: Bricks on the exterior of your home can separate from one another, and loose bricks might even fall out completely. Cracks will often appear in a staircase pattern.
- Walls: You will see cracks begin to appear in the drywall, in corners and seams, and where the walls meet the ceiling or floor. If you have cement walls or retaining walls, those can show cracks too.
- Floors: Cement or concrete floors will crack, and wood floor panels and tiles will begin to pop out of place.
2. Have Windows Become Misaligned?
As a foundation moves or shifts, windows can become misaligned which may make the harder to open or close. As the foundation moves, the walls move and the frame of the windows can become warped. Windows can become stuck open or closed, which is an inconvenience and can be costly to fix.
3. Are Doors Not Opening or Closing Properly?
Just like with windows, foundation settling can cause problems with your doors. You may notice that your doors don’t seem to line up perfectly with the door frame, cause the door to stick or not close all of the way.
4. Are the Floors Sloped?
In the more serious cases of settling foundations, you may actually be able to see or feel that the floors of your house are sloped. You might notice that one side of a room appears to be very slightly lower than the other side. While this slope could simply be caused by bad flooring installation, you should probably contact a professional foundation expert for an inspection because you could have a serious foundation problem that will require repairs.
5. Are There Cracks on The Exterior of The Foundation?
If you look at the exterior of your home where the ground meets the building, you should be able to see some of the cement foundation (below the siding or bricks). If you see cracks on the exterior of the home, there are likely foundation problems below the house.
6. Is the House 10 or More Years Old?
Even if your house was built with a perfectly secure and level foundation, it can still develop foundation problems over time. If your home is 10 or more years old, it would be wise to have a foundation inspection just to make sure years of soil movement haven’t caused any significant issues. Your property may have also developed plumbing issues including leaks.
7. Is it a One-Story Home Without a Basement?
One-story houses built on a concrete slab directly on the soil tend to be more vulnerable to foundation problems. This is especially true of homes that are surrounded by many trees and watered flower beds because the recurring wet/dry cycles cause the soil to expand and shrink. However, homes with basements are less susceptible to these issues because their footings are deeper in the ground where soil is more stable. Likewise, two-story homes are less affected because they are constructed to hold more weight.
If you notice any of the above signs around your home, contact an expert at Ram Jack of Texas for an inspection. Foundation issues don’t go away on their own, and it’s better to address the problem sooner rather than later.