9 Critical Signs of Foundation Problems

identifying foundation problemsIf you’re buying, selling, or just assessing the health of your home’s foundation, then you need to be able to identify the warning signs of foundation problems. If left unattended, a shifted or settled foundation can cause serious trouble across many parts of your house. Learn the warning signs of real foundation problems before you need serious repair.

  • 1. Cracks
  • 2. Misaligned Doors and Windows
  • 3. Sloped Floors
  • 4. Separated Wood Floors and Popped Tiles
  • 5. Separated Baseboards and Crown Molding
  • 6. Rotated Wall
  • 7. Bowing Walls
  • 8. Space in the Ceiling
  • 9. Wet Crawl Space or Basement

1. Cracks

If your foundation is damaged, cracks can form anywhere. From drywall, plaster, stucco, and even your chimney, these can be serious warning signs of foundation failure.

Types of Foundation Cracks

Vertical hairline cracks

More than likely, you’ve found these cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks. Hairline cracks in concrete are rarely a problem. These are common and often do not seriously impact the structural integrity of your foundation.

L-shape cracks

The L shape is formed out of continuous and seasonal shrinking. They aren’t due to structural problems, but you could patch them up to keep moisture from seeping in.

Diagonal cracks

This crack is caused when foundation settlement is not equal. One portion may be completely supported, but another may be unsupported, causing the foundation to slide down and break.

Step cracks

Cracks in the shape of a stair step; these are created due to moisture pushing on the wall. These should be taken seriously, especially if the cracks in the joints are causing the wall to bulge out or separate in extreme situations.

Horizontal cracks

If you see a crack running sideways, contact a foundation repair specialist immediately. This can mean your foundation/walls are bowing, which could result in a complete structural collapse.

2. Misaligned Doors and Windows

Since doors and windows are precisely aligned inside of their frames, they are easily affected by shifts or settling foundations. If movement of the foundation causes one of these frames to shift (even just a few centimeters) it can create problems with door alignment. These shifts can make it difficult to open or close doors or windows in your home.

3. Sloped Floors

If one end of your foundation begins to sink, the floor will slope down towards that area. In most homes, the slope in a settling foundation is very minor. In extreme cases of foundation settling, you can see and feel the slope of the room. Test the slope by rolling a ball or marble on the floor to see if it favors a certain direction.

4. Separated Wood Floors and Popped Tiles

The planks in wood flooring can misalign and pop out of place when foundations settle. Tile floors will exhibit similar problems as wood floors and are much less likely to flex and bend under pressure.

5. Separated Baseboards and Crown Molding

As foundation settles, baseboards and molding can separate from the walls, especially on corners where two wood pieces meet. You may also notice gaps form between the bottom of the baseboard and the floor.

6. Rotated Wall

Excess moisture from soil can affect the structural integrity of the foundation, affecting the load-bearing functions of your walls. This may cause the wall to sink or raise, giving the appearance of a rotated wall.

7. Bowing Wall

Similarly to the rotated wall, moisture will seep up from the soil into the foundation and cause your walls to bow either inward or outward. When this happens, call a foundation repair expert immediately before your wall collapses.

8. Space in the Ceiling

As walls rotate or bow, this can force space in the ceiling to form. This gap can be rectified by addressing the foundation issues through slab repair and more.

9. Wet crawl space or basement

A big culprit of foundation damage is moisture. When extra moisture builds up in your foundation, it can damage the foundation, cracking crawl spaces and basements, allowing that extra moisture to spill into these previously water-tight areas.

By knowing these warning signs of foundation problems, you can decide if you need a professional fix. If one or more of these warning signs are appearing in your home, contact us to schedule a professional foundation assessment!