Every homeowner dreads the idea of waking up one morning and discovering a major problem – something that absolutely needs to be taken care of, even if it costs tens of thousands of dollars to address. This comes with the territory of being a homeowner, but that doesn’t make it any more agreeable when it happens. Thankfully, the right preventative maintenance can go a long way to prevent these kinds of situations – provided you’re aware of the risks and you take the right steps.
Your home’s foundation is a good example. It’s one of the most important structural components of any house, yet it often gets neglected. People assume the foundation is fine, and that there are no problems – but this is often because they don’t recognize the warning signs. Here some telltale signs that your home’s foundation may need work.
1. Cracks in the foundation
The foundation of a new home will naturally “sink” and “settle” during the first couple of years after construction – but if you notice horizontal cracks in the bricks of your home’s foundation, this is a sign of potential problems. Small vertical cracks often indicate “normal” settling, but horizontal cracks can indicate that the actual perimeter of the foundation is under pressure. Diagonal cracks can also indicate problems. Determining the health of your home’s foundation based on the size and direction of cracks is a skill that requires training and experience.
2. Doors and windows that stick
People often don’t equate sticky doors and windows with foundation problems, but this is often the culprit – especially if there are multiple examples in the home. As the foundation of a home shifts, the right angles of doorways and windows can be pushed and pulled out of alignment, thus making it difficult to open or close windows and doors.
3. Sagging floors
In this way, floors are just like walls: They’re made of beams, and they’re totally dependent on a healthy foundation. When the foundation of a home begins to shift in problematic ways, floor beams can sag or ‘dip’ noticeably. Depending on how severely your floors change shape, this can be a sign of major foundation damage.
4. Moisture in crawlspaces or basements
When it comes to your home’s foundation, moisture is one of the biggest threats. If you’ve recently had a waterlogging or flooding event – or if your local area has recently been hit with a lot of precipitation, be aware that foundation problems often follow. Waterproofing techniques and/or foundation repair may be necessary to protect against these threats and keep your home’s foundation secure.
Maintaining a secure foundation
It’s far better to identify foundation problems before they become serious – but doing that requires some knowledge and technique. If you’ve notice signs that your home’s foundation may be in trouble, a professional opinion is your next step. But who should you call? There might be a long list of contractor in your area who offer foundation repair services. Those that are reputable and experienced are bound to stand out.