For many people, uncovering a foundation problem can be all but impossible. If you’re looking to try and discover whether you have a foundation problem, you might not even know what to look for. The good news is that even someone who’s not a home repair expert can discover a foundation problem early on. You just need to be on the lookout. Here are eight top signs that your home is dealing with a foundation problem.
1. Cracks in the Walls
Have you started to notice cracks in your walls, especially diagonal cracks around the corners or stair-step cracks in brick walls? These cracks tend to indicate that one side of the wall is settling more than another side. That can indicate significant foundation problems that you need to tackle as soon as possible.
2. Sticking Doors and Windows
Do you notice that it seems to be difficult to open and close doors and windows? Do they sometimes “stick” at a specific point in opening or closing them? This could indicate that the frame for the door or window has become warped, which often happens due to waterproofing problems or foundation stability problems.
3. Gaps Between Walls, Windows, and Doors
Any time walls, windows, or doors don’t quite match up with each other, you should automatically assume that there are some issues you’ll need to address. This is especially true if the walls, windows, or doors initially did match up, but over time, they have shifted to a position where they no longer match up.
4. Sagging and Slanting Floors
Any time your floors start to sag, it’s important to look at your home’s structural integrity. Most of the time, this occurs because of issues with your home’s floor joists. If your floor joists don’t have the structural integrity they need to hold up the floor, you’re going to end up with sagging floors, typically near the middle of the room.
5. Leaning Chimney
A chimney that’s leaning away from the home indicates that there are serious foundation problems, often with the chimney itself. Most chimneys have distinct foundations from the rest of the home. A leaning chimney indicates that the chimney’s foundation has broken away from the home and is merging away from it too far.
6. Bowing Basement Walls
Basement walls shouldn’t bow inward. If they do, it’s almost always because the basement walls don’t have enough structural integrity to stand up against the onslaught of hydrostatic pressure around the basement. When you have bowing basement walls, it’s an indication that you need to alleviate the hydrostatic pressure or add more structural strength.
7. Musty Smell in the Basement or Crawl Space
A musty smell in your basement isn’t normal, as much as you may have heard that it is in the past. If you have a musty smell in your basement or crawl space, that almost always indicates that there are mold and mildew problems that you need to address. This musty smell should alert you to talk to a basement or crawl space repair expert.
8. Damp Walls or Leaks
Moisture is your home’s number one enemy. You can have damp walls and leaks anywhere in the home, but it’s most common in underground areas like basements and crawl spaces. If you notice these damp walls and leaks in the basement or crawl space, it’s almost certainly because of an excess of hydrostatic pressure that you need to address.
Foundation problems are frustrating, but they’re not the end of the line. If you have a foundation problem, you can fix it. You just need to know how to do so. Make sure you talk to a foundation repair expert whenever you notice any of these signs. You can fix the problem early on and ensure that your home stays stable and steady.