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9 Warning Signs Of Home Foundation Problems

Your house is one of the most valuable assets you have, so it’s important to protect it as best as you can. Foundation damage is not something a lot of homeowners want to face but it's almost inevitable that sooner or later you'll need foundation repair. Signs of foundation problems aren't always the most noticeable but it's important to address them quickly to avoid severe damage to your home that can be expensive and difficult to fix over time. 

How do you know when you have problems and are in need in foundation repair? Here are nine common signs that indicate your home has foundation damage to help you detect the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

Top 9 Signs Of Foundation Problems

Cracks In The Walls and Bricks

warning signs of foundation problems in a home

If you’ve noticed a foundation crack in the brick exterior, slab foundation, exterior walls or a wall fissure inside, there’s a good chance that you have a foundation issue. Slab foundation cracks aren't too uncommon, due to the nature of the material. Expanding and contracting soils can cause fissures.

While some are hairline fractures that don’t require much attention, even small cracks of ¼” can indicate stress on your home’s foundation. Watch out for horizontal foundation cracks because it’s an indication of pressure pushing against your foundation. Protruding bricks are also a sign that there’s a problem. You can try and fix them, but this might only be a temporary solution since frequent foundation movement will cause more protruding. 

Ceiling cracks also point towards foundation issues. Although you can fix these minor cracks with simple tools, more and more will start to appear if left unchecked. 

Doors and Windows That Stick

When there’s a problem with your foundation, it can make your door frames and window frames uneven. As a result, they may be harder to open or drag at the top. Doors that meet in the middle, like double doors are especially prone to this. However, door jamming can also be caused by high humidity or water damage. If you notice an ongoing problem with your doors and windows, contact a professional to get an assessment. 

Sagging Floors

Sagging, uneven floors whether concrete or hardwood indicate that you have foundation issues that are affecting the structure above. So if you feel tempted to install a new hardwood floor with your flooring nailer, find out what the root cause is first. Some uneven floors can even feel bouncy, which could indicate issues with the supporting elements of the sub-floor, such as supporting columns and beams.

While uneven floors might seem like a little problem — it can lead to full-blown foundation failure. Your foundation might no longer be able to support the full weight of the home. That's also one of the reasons why you should inspect the home foundation before doing any projects that add more weight to a home like adding a second story or installing a new roof over the old one.

Tile Cracks

Many houses use tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. Keep an eye on them because cracks in your tiles can be a sign that you have foundation issues. Tiles can be rather unforgiving. If there’s a problem with the flooring, floor cracks will likely appear in the tiles. 

Damp Walls and Leaks

damp walls and water leaks

Check your crawl space and basement to make sure they aren’t damp. Too much humidity can cause structural damage. Outside water can also leak in through foundation cracks. If you’re noticing water where it shouldn’t be, you may have a serious problem. Excess moisture is also a welcoming environment to insects and rodents. You do not want a damp basement. 

Strong Musty Odors

Noticing a musty smell in your basement or crawl space that wasn’t there before? That’s a red flag. It could be the scent of mold, rot, or mildew in your house. Not only are they dangerous to your health, but they’re indicators that your foundation has suffered damage. Often these substances are eating through the framing of your house. 

Walls Pulling Away From House

If your cabinets and counters are separated from your walls, then the walls are pulling away from the rest of the house. Check frequently since a small fissure between the wall and your cabinets can turn into a large gap quickly.

You may also start to notice gaps around your exterior doors and window frames. When the walls start to pull away, the doors might not latch properly, which will make them harder to close. A door frame pulling away from a wall is often an indication of severe foundation damage.

Bowing Basement Walls

Are your basement walls starting to curve inward? This means you have bowing walls. It can happen for multiple reasons. The soil underneath the home may be expanding and shrinking as it absorbs water and then dries out. Shifting soil saturated in water can also exert pressure on a home’s foundation, as does frozen soil. 

Both expand and push against the walls. Home foundations, whether made up of concrete slab or other material, may also experience lateral pressure when a car is parked directly on the soil next to the house. As soon as you see this, call someone to get your foundation repaired as it often increases your foundation trouble as time passes. Shifting soil is often responsible for several other problems too. 

Expansion Joint Separation

An expansion joint is built into the structure of the house. Many factors like changing soil conditions, can lead to foundation problems. You can tell if there’s a foundation failure if you notice the expansion joint start to separate. Conversely, if the expansion joint fails, it can lead to issues.

As soon as you notice any signs of foundation problems, it's essential you call your local foundation repair experts. It's the best way to prevent costly repairs since over time these issues get worse. 

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Alex Berezowski

Alex Berezowski, is the Owner and General Manager of The Foundation Experts. Inc. Alex is a second-generation expert who has experience training with the Master European Masons and is known for working in this field for over 25 years providing top quality services within the construction industry. Foundation Experts Inc. is a foundation restoration, structural repairs & waterproofing company. The Foundation Experts Inc. provides the highest level of product and service for foundation repairs to homeowners in the greater Ottawa region. The owner of Foundation Experts Inc. has trained extensively as a certified concrete and masonry repair technician and is an indoor air quality specialist with over 25 years of hands-on experience in foundation structural repair and waterproofing. The Foundation Experts provide a level of knowledge, insight, and communication that, according to many of their clients, is unrivaled in the construction industry, in both official languages.