The foundation of a home is one of the most critical – if not the most critical – structural component of a home. Yet, homeowners often don’t think twice about it. The foundation’s stability is dependent on many factors, but shifting ground, water runoff, and deterioration can lead to cracks and even holes that put the home’s structural integrity at risk. ConsumerReports.org states not all cracks are worrisome, but for those that do need attention, the longer you hold off getting repair, the more expensive and hard to repair the problem becomes.
What should you be looking for to know if foundation damage is present in your home? Know the warning signs. What you’ll notice is that locating cracks isn’t the only thing you need to do.
#1: Are your doors or windows hard to open or close?
It’s quite common for windows and doors to become “off” in a home as it ages. Although some situations may be directly related to framing of those structures, this can also be a key indication that the foundation in the structure isn’t level. This indicates a change in the foundation that needs to be addressed by a professional.
#2: Do the walls seem to be coming in on you?
Most specifically in the basement, you may notice the walls seem to be leaning. This generally creates a scenario in which the walls seem to be leaning inward, toward you. This also indicates a change in the foundation or the soil around the home and needs to be addressed.
#3: Do you notice significant cracks present?
Look at the interior and exterior of your home. Take time to look along the walls and foundation itself. If you notice cracks, take note. Specifically, cracks that are larger than a pencil need attention right away. Hairline cracks, which are significantly thinner, are usually due to minor settling or can occur when concrete is curing. These still need attention, but may not be the highest concern initially. Mark cracks with a bright color so you can track if they are expanding from month to month. If you have cracks wider than 3/16 of an inch, including those that run vertical to the floor, you’ll need to call in a professional for repair. This may be due to buckling or bulging of the foundation. Don’t wait for these repairs.
#4: How does your chimney look?
Only if you can safely climb to the roof, inspect the chimney. Look at the structure of the chimney itself. Does it appear to be tilting or pulling away from the home? In some cases, larger cracks form along the wall or connection points to the building. These are signs of foundational changes and potential foundation damage.
#5: Is the home sinking?
In most cases, homes don’t look or feel uneven. However, if you notice an area that seems sunken compared to the rest, this is an area of concern. You may be able to see this on one or more sides of the home, and you may notice this by uneven, slanted or sloping floors inside the house.
When any of these signs of foundation damage are present, act sooner rather than later to get help from a structural engineer. Robbins Foundation Systems can help you to determine if these signs are reasons to be concerned and what to do about them if they are. It’s best to get immediate help today rather than allowing these concerns to worsen.
Robbins and Co. are Foundation Repair and Drainage Solution professionals in business since 1952. CONTACT US today at 206.244.1023 for a no-cost consultation or just to ask us a question. We look forward to talking with you.