Like most people, your home is probably your most valuable asset — and your pride and joy. However, just like over time or under certain conditions, the structural integrity of your home’s foundation can start to deteriorate — which not only poses a safety hazard but if left uncorrected can lead to a massive repair bill that may not be fully covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
What’s more, major foundation repair can take several weeks or months, during which time you’ll need to stay elsewhere like at a hotel or with your relatives (yikes!). The good news is that you can be proactive and detect potential foundation problems early, when they are relatively easier, simpler and less costly to repair. Here are five warning signs to watch for.
1. You Start Seeing Small Cracks And Fractures In The Wall
If start seeing small cracks and fissures in the wall, then there’s a good chance that your foundation needs to be inspected and repaired. These cracks start out quite tiny — sometimes online a few millimeters in length — but over time, they can grow into sizable cracks that are 1-2 inches (or sometimes more). And don’t ignore horizontal cracks, either. These could indicate that there is an excessive amount of water pressure on your home’s foundation that needs to be alleviated.
2. The Foundation Is Slowly Settling
If your home appears to be slowly sinking into the ground by small amount — obviously not as if it were in quicksand, but on a year-over-year basis — then it could mean that your foundation needs to be lifted and reset.
Keep in mind that although the foundation is built to distribute weight equally, it’s common for some homes — particularly older ones — to settle in one area vs. another. For example, the left side of your house may seem stable, but the right side may appear to be sinking over time.
3. The Foundation Is Rising
Above, we noted that a sinking foundation is bad news. That must mean that if you notice your foundation slightly rising from year to year, then things must be getting better, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
A rising foundation — which is referred to as “foundation upheaval” — can be due to many reasons, such as the expansion of underlying soil due to excess moisture (especially clay), and plumbing leaks below the slabs (if this is the case then you might also notice unusually high water bills).
4. Doors Not Opening And Closing Smoothly
If you’ve started to notice that your doors no longer open and close as smoothly as they used to, then there’s a good chance that your foundation — and not the door itself or any hardware — is the reason.
It’s important to get this inspected by foundation repair experts, since replacing the door, adjusting the hinges or chiseling the frame will only temporarily resolve the symptom. It won’t solve the root problem, which is the foundation — not the door.
5. Uneven Or Squeaking Floors
If your home is built on concrete slabs, then you might start to notice uneven floors. If your home is built using beam and pier foundations, then you might start to notice squeaking floors. Both of these are warning signs that the foundation needs to be inspected and (most likely) repaired.
The Bottom Line
If you’re noticing any of these warning signs, then contact a reputable foundation repair company ASAP. You’ll be glad that you did because foundation problems do not go away on their own. If ignored, they only get more complicated, more dangerous, and more expensive to fix down the road.
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