Foundation problems can damage your floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical wiring, heating and cooling system, and roof. Look for tell-tale signs of trouble like these and get professional help when you need it!
What are the signs of foundation problems?
- Cracks. Hairline cracks in a foundation are common and usually not a problem. Large or horizontal cracks are different and should be inspected by a professional. Cracks in walls, around doorways and windows, along the seam where walls and ceilings meet, and in floor tiles can be signs of a problem.
- Mold and musty smells. Since cracks let in water, look for mold and the cause of stale smells in your basement and other rooms. Dampness and water point to trouble.
- Cabinets, counters, and nail pops. Counters and cabinets can pull away from walls when your foundation shifts. Shifting can cause nails to pop from dry wall too.
- Doors and windows that stick. Foundation problems can cause doors and windows to become misaligned, making them hard to open or close. Gaps that open between door or window frames and walls can also indicate trouble.
- Bowed walls in the basement. If basement walls are bulging, curving, or pushing inward, that’s a sign your foundation is under stress.
- Posts and piers that aren’t straight. Posts and piers should rest firmly, stand straight, and sit directly beneath the structures they support. If they don’t, it’s an issue.
- Crooked chimneys. Chimneys that look off-center or askew can indicate foundation issues.
- Sinking porches, stoops, and steps. Be sure to check the structures attached to the outside of your home. These can be warning signs too!
How can you avoid foundation damage?
Too much and too little water in the ground can both cause problems. To prevent damage from too much water, keep gutters and downspouts in good repair. Grade your lawn and landscaping so water flows away from your home, and avoid planting trees and scrubs close to the house. When the soil is too dry, water near your home to maintain ground moisture.
Repair cracks and leaks, which will help protect your foundation. Keep in mind problems can also be caused by the ground shifting or settling, and these are harder to prevent.
How much do foundation repairs cost?
The cost of repairs depends on the size of the problem. Fixing cracks before they turn into bigger problems might only cost a few hundred dollars. Addressing structural problems can cost thousands, and major structural repairs and foundation replacements can cost even more.
If you think you have a problem, get a qualified professional to inspect your foundation. Take care of issues quickly before they cause more damage or make your home unsafe. And look for the right kind of professional to help you. Many contractors can repair cracks and waterproof foundations. When you have structural problems, you’ll probably need a reliable engineer and a construction company.