EARLY WARNING SIGN OF
Most people don’t realize they have a foundation issue until they start seeing cracks
on the walls. At that point, the problem may have become very serious. But what if
you can spot the warning signs early? Before a simple fix becomes a serious repair?
Knowing the telltale signs can help you determine whether you face normal foundation
settling that needs periodic maintenance or major foundation issues that
should be fixed immediately.
Soil pressure pushes against the wall, causing it to bow. If the wall seems to be bulging out or bowing, it is a sign that the wall is becoming unstable and should be addressed as soon as possible. An external wall can bow due to pressure exerted by the surrounding soil. Cracks on the walls are pretty easy to see. The direction of the crack can help an experienced contractor evaluate its cause. The direction can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or diagonal step.
If you see cracks on your floor tile, on the concrete floor of the garage or on the foundation itself (when the carpet is pulled back), this can be a sign of a more serious problem. Here, the width of the crack is important. You should be concerned with anything other than a hairline crack.
All windows and doors should open with ease. If you have some that are sticking (won’t open or close easily), particularly if they are concentrated in certain parts of the house, it’s definitely a sign you should follow up on.
A sloped floor can sometimes be easy to miss, especially if the slope is not very steep. If you have a hardwood or tile floor, you can use a marble or a tennis ball to help determine whether your floor is sloping. You should not be concerned if it’s a very slight
slope, but if you can feel a definite slope while you walk, then you should have an expert check it out before it worsens.
If your chimney is leaning or tilting away from the house, this should be repaired immediately as it presents an immediate hazard. The chimney could collapse and fall down. Keep everyone away from the
chimney, pets as well, until repairs are made.
There should not be any space where the walls meet the ceiling or the floor. Any separation or gap in this area indicates foundation movement.