Your foundation is the base of your house. Foundations can be concrete, wood, stone, or masonry. They can be shallow or thick, but they all should give your home stability for many years. However, foundations are not infallible. They do age and can become damaged and deteriorated. Sometimes, they break apart because of soil conditions under your home.
If you catch these problems early, you can often make repairs before they severely damage your home. Knowing the early signs of foundation troubles is important. Here are some of the early signs your foundation may be in trouble.
Visible Foundation Damage
Some cracks in the foundation are a part of normal settling. They are usually not deep or wide. You can often fill them with putty. However, if they get bigger over time, then you may have a problem. Another concern is if the foundation material is easy to break apart or crumble.
Interior and Exterior Cracks
Some small, thin vertical cracks in the walls occur during normal settling. However, they should be thin enough to be barely noticeable. Also, they should be no more than a few inches long. More noticeable horizontal or slanted cracks may be signs of a foundation problem. Cracks that grow larger over time are a definite sign of a problem.
Door and Window Problems
Often, one of the first signs of a foundation problem is recurring problems with doors and windows. Perhaps your windows or doors don't open or close like they used to. Your doors or windows may look slanted or askew.
If the ground outside looks like it's sinking, chances are your foundation is, too. One way to check is by looking at your outdoor appliances, like your central air conditioner. If it's not level, then you may have sinking ground. Sagging fences near the home can also show signs of soft ground.
Wood floors will sag or feel bouncy if their supports or foundation start to fail. Sometimes, sagging wood floors may indicate a termite problem. However, uneven floors, especially on the ground floor or basement, are a sign of a failing foundation.
Sometimes, gaps form between walls and floors when the foundation starts to deteriorate. You may see gaps between the floor and the walls, for example. Gaps between counters and walls, or toilets and the floor, are other problem signs.
Foundation problems get worse over time. Fortunately, you can likely fix your home's foundation provided you don't wait too long. Even a sinking foundation is repairable. When you make repairs early, you can reduce the chance of more damage.
Contact a foundation repair contractor if you suspect your home's foundation is failing.