It’s spooky season, alright.
Even though there may not be as much trick-or-treating or as many costume parties this Halloween, you can still get into the spirit — and we sure have.
If you’re anything like us you’ve been decorating your home with fake cobwebs and plastic skeletons, carving jack-o-lanterns, and putting out that bowl of that candy corn that nobody actually likes. This year is especially spooky, given the Halloween full moon.
But not everything has to be spooky this time of year, especially when it comes to foundation problems. The best way to avoid getting tricked with foundation issues is to look out for early warning signs.
Fall is also an important time to keep an eye out for these issues because of the changing temperatures. Cooling temperatures and dry ground can actually cause the soil around your foundation to contract, creating gaps that can lead to foundation cracks.
In fact, the dropping temperature can make concrete contract, which can cause existing cracks to grow.
The average first frost can arrive in St. Louis can come as early as late October, so a string of chilly, foundation-damaging days before Halloween is not out of the question.
Exterior Warning Signs
As you’re setting up your outdoor Halloween decorations or raking leaves this fall, take a look around your house’s foundation. Large cracks may accent your decorations now, but they will lead to big headaches when it comes to the winter cold and spring thaw.
Are stair-step cracks creeping up your brick walls or chimney? Their presence likely means that the soil has shifted, and your wall has reached a breaking point after different levels of pressure have been exerted on the wall in different places.
As you’re looking around your foundation for developing cracks, it’s always a good idea to check your gutters, too. Keeping them clear of leaves will keep water away from your foundation.
Peak fall colors typically occur about mid-October in St. Louis, so there’s still plenty of leaves yet to fall.
Improper drainage can lead to excess moisture that can expand the soil around your house and create pressure points. It’s one of the most common — and also preventable — causes of foundation failure.
That being said, it’s important to not let the soil around your house completely dry out. Periodic watering around your foundation will help maintain ideal moisture content and prevent any problematic significant expansions or contractions of the soil.
Interior Warning Signs
As you’re stashing Halloween candy throughout the house to snack on (we all do that, right?) take a minute to make sure there aren’t any new cracks in your walls.
A vertical crack is less of a concern than a horizontal or 45-degree crack, though neither will magically disappear with a wave of the plastic wand that’s part of your kid’s costume.
Other symptoms will appear around doors and windows. Are their frames slightly misaligned? Is there an autumn breeze sneaking in a gap between the window and frame? That could be an indication of a developing problem below.
Oftentimes signs of more significant foundation issues can appear in the form of cracks around your wall’s weak points such as door or window frames. These types of cracks suggest more advanced foundation shifting that should be addressed immediately.
Of course, one of the more obvious symptoms of a foundation issue is water intrusion. If you’re getting water in your basement after rains, the culprit could be improper drainage. Excess moisture will erode or consolidate the soil around your foundation and cause settlement.
Whether it’s waterproofing, basement wall correction, or foundation stabilization, we’re here to get your home ready for winter. If you find any foundation warning signs this Halloween season, give us a call to come out and check on your foundation.
The earlier you catch a foundation problem, the less scary it can be!