Warning Signs for Structural Problems

Structural problems are not unique in many homes. There are many foundation problems that homeowners might come across over the years, and it is something that can be taken care of quickly and easily if the issues are identified and resolved early. That’s why you should routinely inspect the interior and exterior of your home for different signs of foundation damage so you can repair the issues as soon as possible.

All good things start with a solid foundation. If that foundation is not stable, things may begin to crumble over time. Your home is a major investment, and you want to keep it standing on solid ground. That’s why you should always keep an eye on the warning signs that will let you know that your home could have foundation damage.

A foundation is an essential structural component in any building. It provides solid support for your home and carries the structure's weight and its occupants. In addition, with a functional foundation, your home is safe from water damage and enjoys the much-needed insulation. Despite these critical functions, the foundation doesn't always receive the attention it deserves during home maintenance. And failure to repair minor foundation problems early can lead to costly repairs running into tens of thousands of dollars. While inspecting your home, look for these warning signs as they might be a sign of a structural problem:

The following are some warning signs of foundation failure that you should keep an eye on.

  • Exterior Cracks
  • Sagging Floors or Ceilings
  • Crawlspace and Basement Moisture
  • Poor Drainage
  • Poorly Fitting Doors and Windows
  • Off-Kilter Chimney
  • Mold Infestation

These are not the only signs of foundation problems but these are the most common homeowners will come across, and they are all easily identifiable. If you think you may have foundation issues, you should contact Samson Lift to fix any issues and make sure you are set on solid ground for years to come.

1. Exterior Cracks

As the house settles, fine cracks might appear on the foundation walls. These cracks might also develop as water evaporates from the concrete mixture. While cracks are common on concrete walls, you should closely monitor them to check if they point to a more significant underlying issue — any large zigzag crack could portend foundation failure.

If you notice there are cracks in your slab, it could be a result of foundation issues, which may need to be repaired. These cracks can be caused by shrinking the soil underneath the slab or the swelling in another area. If you notice cracks in mortar and bricks, it is usually caused by the flexing of the slab. The mortar and bricks lose their grip on each other, indicating that your foundation may need to be repaired.

2. Sagging Floors or Ceilings

Any foundation movement affects other house components, including support beams and walls. Eventually, these movements can force the house to shift and sit unevenly, affecting the floors and ceilings. Therefore, you may have an underlying foundation issue if you notice slanted doors or sagging floors and ceilings.

You may observe a sloping or a bellying of the house between piers. The weatherboards could appear weary or be separating. Cracks or sloping in a patio and porch indicate problems that need to be observed.

3. Crawlspace and Basement Moisture

The space below your home's walls is susceptible to water problems. However, foundation contractors understand this, and they mitigate the risk through waterproofing systems.

If you notice crawlspace or basement water problems in your home, this is a sign of a failing foundation. It could be due to foundation cracks, which allow groundwater to seep through into the house.

4. Poor Drainage

After completing a new building, you should inspect the effectiveness of the drainage system. However, with time, the foundation might shift and affect the slope gradient around the house. This could lead to drainage issues such as standing water near walls or basement moisture.

5. Poorly Fitting Doors and Windows

The joy of every homeowner is to move into a functional home. This can be easier said than done, especially for older homes. Whether your home is old or new, if foundation issues develop, some frustrating problems arise. One result of foundation problems could be poorly fitting doors and windows. These signs are among the first signs of foundation trouble, and fairly easy to spot. This is a problem that most homeowners try to correct by repairing the affected fittings. This may solve the problem temporarily, but it will not completely fix the problem, it will only delay it, especially if the underlying foundation issues continue to worsen. If you notice the doors and windows getting stuck, or cracks in your door or window fittings, consult a foundation contractor who has the tools and expertise to inspect your home's foundation.

6. Off-Kilter Chimney

A chimney that is pulling away from the house is a common problem with new homes, and, many times, it gets the wrong diagnosis. Often, this is a problem caused by a shifting foundation. The best solution for such an off-kilter chimney is to check the foundation for any structural issues and carry out repairs.

7. Mold Infestation

If you notice signs of mold on window and door corners, your home's foundation is likely failing. In case of foundation cracks or gaps, water seeps into the wooden parts of your home, causing mold growth.

A few other things you may need to look out for are cracks in the slab, sloping in patios or decks, and wrinkled wallpaper, cracks in the sheetrock, or gaps between the walls and the molding. These could all be caused from foundation damage.

These warning signs present you with an opportunity to repair your home's foundation early enough. However, due to the size and critical function of the foundation, you need an established contractor to do any inspections and carry out necessary repairs. Any problem that compromises the integrity of your home's foundation poses a significant risk to your investment. For this reason, you should stay proactive in foundation maintenance by looking out for any signs of developing problems.

Remember to act quickly once you see any of these warning signs, especially if they worsen over the years. Often it is easier and cheaper to make the repair now and prevent more structural damage to walls, floors, doors, and windows later on.

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