Owning a house is one of the biggest dreams and major investments for every individual. So, it is crucial to take care of your dream home in order to safeguard your investment and also for self-assurance that you and your family are residing in a safe place. One of the most vital aspects of caring for any building is ensuring that it is built on a solid foundation, which is laid using good ground improvement techniques based on the ground conditions and other best foundation practices. To learn more about different methods of ground improvement, click here.
A home owner’s responsibility does not end at just laying a good foundation; further, they have to give equal importance to monitoring the infrastructure for potential foundation problems.
Here are the top six indications that warn home owners of possible foundation problems.
Exterior Stress Cracks
The first exterior indications to watch out for foundation or house leveling problems are exterior stress cracks that show up in the brick veneer. The shrinking and swelling of clay soils and natural forces are exerting high pressure on the foundation of your home. In this case, the soil movement is not uniform due to which few parts of the building may go through uplift, while few other parts may collapse. The forces are strong enough to break few of the bricks into half and may also damage the window frames. This is not an issue that can be solved just by patching up the cracks with mortar, but rather will need a foundation repair.
When doors have cracks at the frame corners or get jammed, it is normally due to foundation issues. This is one of the first interior warning signs to indicate foundation problems. You may also face difficulty in opening or closing doors and windows, cautioning that the foundation is sinking. Watch out for uneven or sloping floors as these are also indications of foundation movement. Further, watch out for wrinkles on the wallpaper, gap between the molding and walls or cracks in sheet-rocks.
If there’s a basement in your home, it would most likely have been constructed using masonry or poured concrete reinforced wall. If you notice dirt, seeping water or cracks in the walls, take quick action. If these issues are not addressed at the earliest, there are more chances of erosion eating away your home foundation, leading to costlier repairs later in addition to causing health risks due to insect and mold infestation.
Chimneys are normally constructed using rock fascia or bricks. The mortar, which keeps these materials together is very weak when in tension (resisting twisting or pulling forces), but very strong under compression (pressure). If you find a crack on the chimney, it is due to movement of chimney owing to foundation problems. In the same way, a chimney that starts leaning away from your home also warns of possible foundation problems.
Gap between Grouting
Blocks, the most common foundation material, usually position on a footing to give a flat base to construct up from. If these blocks settle down unevenly or if there is heavy load on them, they can show gap or crack between the grouting, indicating that there are other structural problems.
Cracks in Floor Slabs
If there’s no basement in your home, the building would be positioned on slab-on-grade or concrete slab. If you find cracks in floor slabs, this is a very evident sign of foundation problem. Since most of the homes are covered by decorative flooring, this is not easy to find. However, you can look out for few signs such as presence of bugs like centipedes, earwigs or slugs on a constant basis, dirt or earthy odor following heavy rains and cracks in tiles.
So, you must always be on the look-out for these indications on a regular basis so that you can call a professional immediately once you find a potential issue. More often than not, the repair works are easier and cheaper to be carried out in the initial stages than later on.
Author Bio: Barnabas Luther is a home improvement expert, who specializes in foundation, drainage, and other building construction and maintenance related projects.