Periodic check ups are an exercise in prevention. Ideally all of us should have the habit of undergoing periodical examinations in order to make sure that our bodies are running on all cylinders, or if it turns out this is not the case, to know what is happening and act upon this knowledge to prevent further health risks.
And just like our bodies, our houses could definitely do with a check up every now and then. After all, we are talking about our living spaces so we want to reduce any risk of damage to our properties. But how do we go about and do that? Well, it turns out that knowing if your house is structurally sound isn't that difficult. All we have to do is look for the telltale signs that indicate possible foundation damage. In this post we will tell you what you need to be on the look out for.
The first signs are cracks. Cracks can happen on walls and floors. However we have to understand that not all wall cracks are a sign of foundation damage. Sometimes these cracks are the direct result of the drywall or the textures of the walls themselves. Another thing to look out for in cracks is how wide they are. Generally if a crack is exactly the same width on both ends then there’s no much to worry about, however if the width differs from one end to another then you should definitely pay attention to it; if the crack is wider on the lower end it means there is some sinking going on. If the crack is wider on the upper end then there might be some tilting and in the case of cracks on exposed brick walls, there is a definite case of foundation damage.
Another early sign of foundation damage are cracks on floor tiles or concrete of the garage. In this situation any crack wider than a hairline is definitely a cause for concern.
Finally, if there is any separation where the walls meet the ceiling or floor this definitely indicates foundation movement and it is urgent to call for an expert.
Besides cracks, other signs to look out for are both window framings as well as doors. In the case of the window framings, one instance that indicates foundation damage are cracks or separation where the window framings meet the walls. In the case of doors, while sometimes sticking doors might indicate some sort of damage, this might also be due to the door being slammed constantly or loading or hanging items on the door itself. I mean, I plead guilty of hanging stuff from the doors every now and then so there is that. So in this case what you should be paying attention to is the door frame itself; if it is uneven or misaligned.
Next are the sloping floors. Now these are sometimes easy to miss if the slope is slight. There are a few ways to check this. First of course is a level tool. If you don’t have that at hand you can always use a small ball and see if it rolls to one side. Now if you can feel a definite slope you can skip these steps, as you definitely need to take immediate action.
Then come the chimneys. Just like cracks, chimneys can immediately tell you whether there is damage in the foundation or not. A tilting chimney represents immediate hazard and you must make sure to keep everyone away from it (as well as valuables), and specially make sure that no children or pets get near it until and expert has had the chance to check it up.
Finally there is the case of the two storey houses. Initially this might appear to be a little tricky but it really isn’t. The thing about a second floor is that it might have cracks, but this might be due to the framing. This is because the second floor is not directly sitting on top of the foundation. Slopes might also be present. Now it could be damage to the foundation, but as mentioned earlier, it might be the framing, so the telltale signs that we mentioned earlier might not be as reliable in this case. The best thing to do is stick to the first floor and check for the signs there.
So in case your house presents any of these signs you should reach out to the experts immediately before the damage to your house becomes more serious and dangerous.