Soil and hydrostatic pressures, sinking substructures, expanding clay soils, transpiration, erosion, soil shifts and structural instability, there are all kinds of terms that used when describing problems related with foundation failure. It’s never very clear what these terms mean and what they entail and usually seem like a bunch of nonsensical jargon. To make it easily comprehendible to the layperson, we have here, provided a few of the warning signs and symptoms that you need to be on the lookout for when suspecting foundation damage.
Sign No. 1 –Vertically Cracked Walls; Concrete, drywall, brick or block
What it means: Cracks in walls are an obvious indication of settlement of the foundation. This is mostly due to the movement of the soil that the foundation sits on. This movement or shift may be caused either by loss of moisture from the soil in case of a drought, or by excessive water-logging, due to heavy rains, flooding, or leaky plumbing. Other signs of a settled foundation include sloppy floors and sagging floors, step cracks in bricks or sinking porches or decks.
Sign No. 2- Sticking or Misaligned Doors and Windows
What it means: Windows that no longer open as easily as they used to, or doors that tend to get stuck halfway through and never close quite right, all point to a much more sinister problem than just poor installation or improperly lubricated hinges. Usually it suggests a sinking foundation with unstable soil underneath.
Sign No. 3 – Bowed Basement Walls
What it means: Basements walls that lean in or outwards more often than not hint towards raised pressures, hydrostatic or soil. Over the years a combination of faulty plumbing, improper landscaping or any other water-related issues can cause the soil under and around the foundation to expand. This expansion or presence of high amounts of moisture exerts a pressure that is enough to eventually grind and crush the cinderblocks or concrete and move them thus giving them a bowed or curved appearance. A crack that appears due to this crushing force is laterally placed instead of the vertical cracks that are indicative of a settling foundation.
Should you find any of these signs in your house and home, instead of picking up a caulk-gun to patch up those cracks yourself, a better idea would be to pick up the phone and call your trusted foundation repair contractor at Project Hope.