No one likes to imagine that their foundation has problems. But the reality is, foundation issues happen a lot. A lot of these issues are due to faulty or subpar construction. Geologic hazards like swelling soils also contribute to the problem. You can avoid the heartache that comes with foundation settlement by preparing the ground properly. This way, you won’t incur unnecessary expenses restoring your home’s foundation.
How Foundation Problems Begin
A home’s foundation is supposed to get constant support from the ground it is built on. However, the ground loses water during hot, dry months and the soil shrinks. When this happens, the underlying soil crumbles and pulls away from the footing. Gaps will form beneath the ground and this is what causes foundation settlement. The outcome is that the foundation will settle.
Settling will progress gradually depending on how fast the soil gives up its moisture. Signs may not be outright. Some people even stay for months before they notice the cracks that form in the foundation.
A sunken foundation can cause serious structural problems and expose your foundation and basement or crawl space to water. So, keep inspecting the foundation for cracks. Some may appear benign, but the truth is they can widen and compromise your foundation. Seal cracks as soon as they appear before they cause structural damage.
Signs of a Settling Foundation
Keep an eye out for these four signs:
Sticking doors and windows
As the foundation settles, the doors and windows in your home will start separating from their frames. Cracks may also follow. Try opening and closing both fixtures. If they are sticking or not opening smoothly or have gaps, the foundation is likely to be moving.
Cracks on the foundation are a strong indicator something is brewing up under your home. Vertical cracks will appear and widen as the settling progresses. Sections of the wall might tilt and pull apart. If the foundation cracks appear wider at the top than at the bottom, take immediate action.
Leaning or tilting chimney
Another sign that the foundation is settling is a leaning or tilting chimney. This happens a lot to standalone chimneys because of their immense weight. Talk to your local foundation repair contractor to fix the underlying problem.
Jagged or diagonal cracks on the drywall are an indication that your foundation has shifted. They tend to appear in high-stress areas like the corners and windows. Cracks will appear prominently on the upper areas of the home too.
Slanted floors and burst pipes are other signs that your foundation could be settling.
Resolving Foundation Issues
The weather, particularly summertime heat, is going to take a toll on your foundation. You have to prevent the heat from interfering with the moisture conditions and soil. When the weather warms up, take time to water the foundation so it doesn’t dry. You can use a hose or an automatic lawn sprinkler. Watering the soil around your foundation helps keep it moist.
The other thing you can do is install rock beds all around the foundation. These will allow water to seep into the soil, preventing cracks. Since the foundation soil will have adequate moisture, it won’t crumble and cause settlement.
Where a serious intervention is necessary, your foundation repair contractor will make recommendations such as foundation piers. These solutions help stabilize the foundation and restore the floor to its original position. In addition, they curtail soil-related problems that cause structural damage.
A settling foundation is scary, but it shouldn’t sound the death knell to your home. Get in touch with Mount Valley Foundation Services for a free foundation inspection and repair quote. We have the experience and expertise to resolve your foundation problems so your home can remain safe.