The foundation of a home or building is meant to provide structural support. It keeps the structure’s walls, flooring, roof, windows, doors, and firmly in place. When parts of the foundation begin to sink or develop large cracks, it can affect all of these places throughout your home. Here’s how you can know if there is an issue!
Signs of a Foundation Problem
The foundation may cause signs of excessive wear and tear in many different places in your home.
- Doors and windows aren’t closing or opening properly. You may notice your doors or windows either aren’t closing all the way or are failing to stay closed. On the other hand, they may be almost impossible to open. In any of these cases, it’s possible that the window and door framing have shifted as the foundation has shifted.
- You can see gaps. Gaps may be visible around doors (particularly exterior ones) or windows. They may not be correctly aligned. Similarly, cabinets, countertops, or baseboards may be visibly pulling away from the walls and creating a gap.
- Your floor is no longer flat. Sometimes, foundations are pushed upwards by soil and cause an upheaval of soil and concrete under your floor. This is a major example of foundation changes that can affect not just the flooring, but walls, windows, and doors as well. You may notice that certain places on your floor have bubbled, sagged, or taken on a wavy appearance.
- You have noticed cracks and fractures. The walls, floors, or ceiling may start to create cracks along their surfaces. Bricks, concrete, and chimneys may see similar signs as they break apart due to foundational shifts.
What causes these problems with the foundation?
The foundation of your home is meant to protect the structure from the constantly changing soil beneath it. However, after a while, even this base starts to be affected by the earth’s shifting.
- Water: Just like any other part of a building, there are always going to be small cracks in the foundation that, by themselves, have no effect on the home. However, when water gets into these cracks, it will begin to erode the material. Places like Colorado where it gets quite cold see the most problems of this kind because when the water fills the cracks, it can also freeze and expand. This further breaks down the foundation material.
- Wet and dry soil: When there is a lot of moisture in the soil, it will swell and put pressure on the base of your home. However, when the soil dries at a quick pace, the soil will contract and your home will settle into the ground. When the soil later expands again due to moisture, the materials supporting your house may begin to break down again.
- Movement of Land: Even the smallest of earthquakes or general shifting earth can move the foundation around and cause problems.