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What to Do About Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation

When you think about the most important parts of your home, what comes to mind? People will often mention the roof, the siding, the furnace, the insulation, or even the plumbing. It’s hard to say what the most important part of the home might be when there are so many vital aspects. You can live with out a roof, you can’t live without siding, and you can’t live without insulation — certainly not in New Jersey, where winters are fierce and summers hot.

But there’s one aspect of the home that many actually be the most important — yet many people don’t every think about it until they have a major problem. That aspect is the foundation of the home. The word itself should tell you about its importance — foundation is a word we use to describe the very basis or core of something, whether it’s a football team or a corporation or a house. The foundation is the basis on which everything else becomes possible.

When people find out how important their home’s foundation is, they’re often shocked to learn that foundations commonly have problems — and that these problems can have major effects on property value and structural integrity. Suddenly, there’s a whole new aspect of being a homeowner that you have to worry about.

Some of the signs of a faulty foundation aren’t what you might think. For example, if you find that a certain door in your home suddenly starts to stick, or won’t latch properly, this can mean that a slight shift in your foundation has actually caused the doorframe to stretch or move. The same thing can happen with windows — you’ll be unable to close them, or keep them open.

Other signs can include cracks suddenly showing up at the intersections between walls and ceilings, cracks in the walls, cracks over doorways, or cracks on tiles floors.

So let’s say you’ve got one or more of these warning signs. What could actually be wrong with your home’s foundation?

Over time, virtually every foundation will begin to show signs of wear. Cracks are a common problem, but not all cracks are equally problematic. When you have cracks in your masonry joints that looks like stair steps, you might have a water problem that’s putting pressure on your foundation. When you have horizontal cracks in your home’s foundation, you might have wet soil that froze and expanded, pushing at the foundation from the outside.

The bottom line is that there are many different foundation repair scenarios, and unless you’re an expert on the subject, you probably won’t be able to figure out what’s wrong without the help of a seasoned expert. Whether or not you’ve been noticing any of the classic warning signs of a damaged foundation, you might want to have a professional walk through and check the foundation for you. Knowing that this very vital aspect of your home is in good shape brings much-needed peace of mind — and stopping small problems from becoming big ones can save you a world of hassle in the long run.