10 Common Signs of Foundation Damage
A building’s foundation is critical to its safety and soundness. Since the foundation is the load-bearing portion of the structure, it needs to be as strong and secure as possible to support the rest of the home or commercial property. Since foundations are built below ground, they are susceptible to damage from natural sources. Leaks, improper drainage, and many other factors can also cause foundation damage.
Read on for 10 common signs of foundation damage and what you can do about it.
1. Exterior Cracks
If you have begun noticing small cracks in the exterior walls or on your steps, it’s probably nothing to worry about. However, larger exterior cracks that have a zig-zag pattern could indicate foundation issues. Fractures positioned at a 45-degree angle may indicate significant foundation movement has occurred. If there are cracks in your building’s bricks or the bricks are protruding from the wall, this could also be a sign of a problem.
2. Sagging Floors
If the floors in your home or commercial property appear to be dipping or sagging in an unusual way, this could mean your foundation has been damaged. Foundation issues that affect pier and beam foundations tend to cause sagging.
When the slabs are concrete, floors are prone to unevenness. Since slab foundations are placed directly on the ground and pier and beam foundations are not, damage presents differently. It is best to consult with a foundation repair service if you are unsure whether your foundation has been damaged.
3. Rotted Wood
While rotten wood can be attributed to a variety of causes, including dry rot damage, it can sometimes be a sign of foundation issues. If you have noticed rotting piers and beams or rotten floors resulting in bouncy, unstable wood, this could be the culprit. These conditions can make a building unsafe for inhabitation, so they must be addressed by a foundation repair expert immediately.
4. Warped Siding
Many things can cause siding to buckle or crack. However, sometimes this is a sign of significant structural issues rooted in the foundation. Warped siding or gaps between plans often mean there’s a problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
5. Foundation Upheaval
If your slab foundation has moved in an upwards direction, it may mean upheaval is occurring. Heaving usually affects the perimeter area of a concrete slab foundation. However, it can impact the building’s interior, including doorways and halls. Usually, outside garage walls will be pushed upwards as well.
Many factors can cause foundation upheaval in slab foundations, including soil expansion and contraction and excessive moisture. In fact, the main cause of slab foundation upheaval is moisture, whether due to plumbing leaks, heavy rains, or natural climate. If your water bill has been unusual recently in conjunction with any of the signs of upheaval, you may need to make foundation repairs.
6. Gaps Around Exterior Doors and Window Frames
Some homeowners or commercial property owners may notice gaps around exterior window frames and doors that make it difficult to latch them closed. This may simply seem like a characteristic of an older building, but it actually often means there is a problem with the foundation. If double doors are not aligning properly and are difficult to close, door frames are crooked, and windows are not operating properly, contact a foundation expert to diagnose the problem.
7. Sticking Doors
If you have noticed your interior doors have become difficult to open and close and appear to be “sticking” when they should be smoothly operating, this could also be a symptom. They may be dragging at the top of the door against the frame. French doors or other types of double doors may be unable to meet in the middle and/or hang correctly. This issue can affect all kinds of slab and pier and beam foundations.
While door sticking can also be caused by temperature fluctuations or high humidity, it is best to contact a professional so they can rule out foundation failure.
8. Foundation Sinking or Settling
Your building or house may appear to have sunken lower on one side than the other. The center might also appear to be sinking. If so, your foundation may need to be lifted. It might also require interior or exterior foundation piers to be installed. These are placed around the foundation’s perimeter in order to raise it, or they are installed in the interior of the structure.
Foundations movement leads to settling and impacts all buildings differently, depending largely on the type of foundation and how it was constructed. Regardless of what type of residential or commercial foundation you have, it is critical that you work with a foundation repair service to address the cause of the problem.
9. Cabinets and Counters Separating from Walls
If the cabinets and countertops in your home seem to be tilting or pulling away from the wall, you may have a problem on your hands. When walls are not level, cabinets and other parts of the building cannot be level either. This could be due to something affecting the foundation that is causing it to be uneven. If this is not addressed, the gaps will continue to grow, so it is important to contact a foundation repair company right away.
10. Damp Crawl Space
If your crawl space seems damp and humid and you’ve noticed a strange odor, this could be caused by a range of factors. However, one of those factors could be a foundational issue. Puddling water in the crawl space and musty basement smells could indicate mildew. Mildew occurs when moisture is getting into the structure through tiny cracks in the foundation and must be addressed promptly.
Contact Victor Construction & Engineering
If you have noticed the signs of foundation damage in your home or commercial property, contact Victor Construction & Engineering today. We offer foundation repair services in Marin County, CA, and beyond. Call 415-472-9144 to make an appointment.