Common Causes of Residential Foundation Problems

Spotting foundation issues can be tricky. Sometimes, serious signs of trouble can mimic conditions that are not serious at all, and to be on the safe side, you should contact a foundation specialist when you aren’t sure. However, if you know the early warning signs, you can protect your foundation and save yourself thousands of dollars in repair costs. Here are the signs you should keep in mind.


Failing Doors and Windows

When a window or door frame pulls away from a brick wall, that is a serious sign that your foundation is in jeopardy. When a door or window is so out of square that it neither opens nor shuts properly or when there are cracks in the wall, these issues also need to be examined carefully for foundation failure.


Cracking Floors, Ceilings, or Walls

Many things can cause cracks, but if there are too many cracks in your floors, ceilings, or walls, it could be a sign of trouble with your foundation. If you see any of the following issues along with cracks, that can also indicate trouble:

  • Wooden floors that bounce as you walk.
  • Nails popping out of drywall.
  • A floor gradient of more than one or two inches every 15 feet.
  • Interior sheetrock cracks in a zig-zag that runs close to the height of the wall.
  • Wallpaper that pulls away from the wall.
  • Cracks at the junction of the wall and ceiling.

Usually, small, fine cracks in exterior walls are nothing to worry about. However, exterior cracks that are large and have a zig-zag pattern are a cause for concern. Cracked bricks or bricks that stick out from the wall should also be checked. A leaning chimney can also indicate problems down below.


Unlevel Foundation and Tilted Walls

Use a level to check for leaning walls inside and outside your home. Additionally, bulges and curves in a block foundation or in poured concrete walls are signs your foundation has shifted. Often, this happens when the soil around your foundation is expanding and contracting, which puts pressure on walls.


Concrete Chips and Flakes

Use a screwdriver to poke around chipping or flaking foundation. In an ideal situation, the concrete should be too hard to damage, but if you chip or break off a piece, the concrete could be deteriorating. This may be because the mix contained dirty or salty sand or because too much water was used. Common in homes built in the early 1900s, this issue sadly has no remedy other than a whole new foundation.


Overall Water Intrusion or Damage

When your home has a strong foundation, you should not find puddles or see wet framing. Moisture in the crawl space can also indicate a potential problem or a heightened risk of damage. To protect your foundation, make sure that your gutters aren’t clogged and that the soil outside your home slopes away from the foundation about six inches for every 10 feet of horizontal length.

If you see any of these signs, it’s time to get help. To set up a foundation inspection and learn if you may need a repair, contact us today. At Atlas Piers, we work with commercial and residential foundations.