• Time to Stabilize: How to Know When You Need Residential Foundation Repairs

  • Time to Stabilize: How to Know When You Need Residential Foundation Repairs

    March 21, 2019 | Blog
  • Whether your home is old or new, it could be sitting on an insecure foundation. Unfortunately, foundation repairs aren't cheap if you let them get out of hand.

    On the low end, residential foundation repairs could cost as low as $2,000. But if left untreated, you could be looking at a bill of $14,000 or more. Major foundation repairs also might not cover smaller damages caused by severe foundation shifting.

    This is why it's in your best interest to address foundation problems early on. But to do so, you need to know what you're looking for. What may appear harmless or benign could actually be an indication of costly and worsening foundation issues.

    Think something is wrong with your home's foundation? Save money on repairs by looking for these ten signs of foundation problems.

    1. Fractures

    Fractures and cracks just about anywhere in your home can be signs of shifting foundations. These can occur in your floors and walls and around windows. If you do notice cracks here or there, don't fret immediately.

    Hairline fractures may set following construction or simply appear through age. Others may appear from the drywall expanding in the heat. Pay attention to the type of crack to determine if it's been caused by a foundational issue.

    Horizontal fractures or cracks wider than an eighth of an inch are clear indicators that the foundation is putting pressure on your home. If you find cracks with these qualities, you should call an inspector for an immediate diagnosis.

    Always keep an eye on fractures in your home and take note of any worsening conditions.

    2. Uplifted Foundation

    Uneven moisture can swell soil and clay on your land and uplift your home. These changes occur slowly throughout the years and can become difficult to detect. If you notice that one part of your house seems higher than the rest, it's possible that section of the foundation has been uplifted.

    Left untreated, the uneven foundation will pitch downward and damage your home more extensively.

    3. Sinking Foundation

    Just as wet soil can swell and uplift a foundation, soft soil can also sink. An uneven home in either sense can become a very dangerous situation.

    Not sure if your home is uneven? Vertical fractures can occur as the foundation shifts. If detected early on, a house foundation repair service can easily raise the foundation of your home and prevent further damage.

    4. Stuck Doors

    Are your doors difficult to open or close? When your doors don't fit in the doorframe the way they did before, that's a good sign they've become distorted due to shifting walls.

    If your doors still work properly, be mindful of the space above and below the door. Wide or uneven gaps are potential signs of moving walls and floors.

    5. Gaps Along Exterior Walls or Windows

    Patrol the perimeter of your house. As walls and windows pull away with the foundation, gaps will appear and reveal soil underneath.

    Rainwater and insects can slip into these gaps and further damage your home. If you find gaps on the exterior of the house, you should inspect your basement for mold.

    6. Mold in Basement

    Mold anywhere in your home could be a sign of foundation problems, but the damage is typically concentrated in the basement.

    Does your basement or crawlspace smell musty? Over 50% of U.S. homes have some type of mold problem. When it comes to the health of your foundation, you need to discern where the mold originates.

    When water slips into cracks or gaps in the foundation, it will settle against your basement's walls. Inspect any cracks or plumbing for signs of moisture. If you find your plumbing is holding up, then water is seeping into your home from the outside.

    You might want to consider waterproofing your basement.

    7. Uneven Countertops

    Is there a gap behind your countertops or cabinets? Shifting walls will distort more than just your doorframes. As walls pull away, your countertops will remain anchored in place.

    Unlike mold and fracture damage, gaps behind your countertops are a definite sign of foundation damage.

    8. Nails Emerging from Drywall

    While walls slant or shift away, your studs may stay in place. This causes nails to pop out of the drywall or come loose.

    It's a simple inconvenience to nail them back into place, but don't overlook nails that emerge from the drywall. They could indicate issues with your foundation. 

    9. Slanted Chimney

    Chimneys are especially vulnerable to changes in your home's foundation. Keep an eye on your chimney and inspect it for fractures or signs of slanting. Unless your chimney was installed incorrectly, problems with your chimney are a sure sign of foundation damage.

    10. Warped Floors and Ceilings

    A shifting foundation can change the way your house allocates its weight. With an uneven load, different parts of your home will sit on different elevations.

    Do your floorboards squeak? It's a sign that they are under pressure. If you have wood floors, pay attention to the individual cuts of wood. Inspect if they are warped, bending, or popping free.

    Even if you don't see anything wrong with a naked eye, the floors could still be warped. Use a level to see if your floors are slanted. If you don't have one, take a small marble and place it on the floor.

    If it rolls on its own, this means your floor is slanted and foundation repairs could be in order.

    Need Residential Foundation Repairs?

    If your home has one of these signs of foundation problems, you should have a foundation repair company inspect your home. You can't ignore issues with your foundation. It's best to pay for residential foundation repairs before the problem gets any worse.

    With all the heavy machinery required, repairing a foundation can seem alarming and expensive. But it doesn't have to be. Give yourself some peace of mind with a free estimate from Martin Solutions.