Your home's foundation is important. If it is weakened or damaged, it could mean a host of more serious problems later on. Collapsing walls, water leaks and mold, and structural insecurity can all result from a damaged foundation. Although you usually can't readily examine the foundation of your home, that doesn't mean that you can't detect a potentially weak or damaged foundation by looking for clues in other areas of your home. A weak foundation can be spotted by looking for specific symptoms of foundation troubles both in and outside of your home.
Pipe Problems Could Be a Sign of a Larger Issue
If your home is newer, it probably is outfitted with flexible plastic pipes that can bend and conform with a foundation's shifts. Older homes, however, have pipes that are made from inflexible metal.
When a foundation starts to shift and expand or contract, this can cause pipes near the bottom of the foundation to break or fail. If you have had problems with plumbing on the lower floors of your home, it might be a sign of a rapidly shifting foundation that will get worse over time if not dealt with.
Inspect Walls, Windows and Doors
Problems with your foundation usually cause obvious signs in your basement walls, as well as the interior walls in your home and your windows and your doors. Look out for weird bends in your basement walls. This could be caused by constant contraction and expansion of the soil on which your foundation is built as it absorbs and exudes moisture, which causes stress and shifts in foundation.
Cracks in your interior walls are signs that the foundation is shifting. Homes are built to withstand a certain amount of normal soil settling, but when your foundation begins to shift the stress is too great and causes large cracks in the walls of your home. Keep a particularly keen eye on areas where your walls meet the ceiling, as foundation shifting can cause the joints that meld the wall to the ceiling to start to separate.
Windows and doors that are hard to open, look like they have been installed on an angle, or just won't open at all are also a sign of foundation problems. When a foundation experiences a large crack, and then shift, it causes part of the home to rest higher up the rest. This shift makes windows and doors look like they were installed crookedly, as well as renders them almost non-functional.
Check The Chimney
A Problem with your chimney is usually a good indicator of foundation ailments. A foundation that has cracked and shifted quickly causes the chimney to start to bend away from the home, partly due to its heavy weight.
You should also check both the tile and brick around the fireplace inside your home. Massive stress due to a damaged foundation causes small cracks in the tile and bricks surrounding the fireplace inside your home.
Examine the Exterior
Check around the exterior of your home, especially at the base, carefully for large cracks. Smaller cracks are usually benign and more of a surface issue. However, large cracks, especially at the base of your home and in locations where walls are jointed together, mean problems. Large chips in the concrete that rests at the base of your home is also a sign that your foundation is damaged.
Examine your garage door and doors that lead from the outside to inside of your home for looseness and separation. Foundations that have shifted dangerously put a lot of stress on these exterior doors, causing them to become loose.
If you suspect that your foundation is damaged, it is best to find more info and take action immediately to have it repaired. The longer you let your foundation decay, the greater risk you are imposing upon your property. Foundation repair can easily restore your foundation, ensuring that your home stays strong, safe, and secure.