A solid and dependable foundation is critical to any building, especially your home. In order to keep your family and property safe and maintain the value of the home, it’s important to stay on top of preventative maintenance and repairs when needed. Of course, in order to fix those issues, you need to know how to spot them and the differences between settling and an actual foundation problem.
Not sure when you need basement foundation repair? Follow this expert advice. Our team completes basement foundation repair in the Springfield area.
Cracks in the Walls
One of the clearest signs of foundation issues in your basement are the cracks that appear in the walls of your home. Some minor cracks may not be a big deal, so long as they’re roughly ⅛ of an inch or smaller. However, as soon as the cracks get bigger than that or start forming diagonally, you have a problem on your hands. Cracks may form in basement walls or in the walls of the rest of your house, so be sure to take a look every few months. If you have existing cracks, take photos of them every few months as well so that you’ll notice if they get bigger.
Have you ever stumbled over a dip in your floor that you could’ve sworn wasn’t always there? Foundation problems can cause floors to sag, which can lead to people losing their footing at home. You may also notice sagging floors from below; for example, if you’re standing in the basement looking up at the ceiling and it appears to be sloping or sagging.
Sticking Doors and/or Windows
Since the foundation holds up the entire home, foundation problems can throw everything out of alignment. Doors and windows refusing to open or close, or requiring extra elbow grease to do so, maybe an indication that it’s time for basement foundation repair.
Water Damage in the Basement
Damage to the foundation, especially damage that results in cracks in your basement walls, may allow water to leak into the basement and cause pooling or other water damage along the floor and walls. If you spot any puddles that aren’t near pipes or appliances, it’s worth checking the walls to see where the leak is coming from.
When cracks get big enough to let water through, they also let in all kinds of pests. The last thing you need to be dealing with when you already have a foundation problem, is an infestation! Creepy-crawlies like centipedes, spiders, ants, and silverfish can make their way into your basement and explore the rest of your house. If you’re suddenly finding bugs in places they weren’t hanging out before, head down to the basement and check for cracks.
Cracks Around the Exterior
Just as your foundation can crack on the inside, it can show signs of damage on the outside as well. Crumbling and cracking around the exterior of a home’s foundation is never a good sign, and people who notice this should call a local company for basement foundation repair as soon as possible.
What is Settling?
When you tell someone you think you have foundation issues, they may reply, “Don’t worry, it’s probably just settling.” What is foundation settling and how do you tell the difference between settling and an actual problem?
Settling is a phenomenon that occurs when a building sinks into the soil around and underneath it. It sounds alarming, but a certain amount of settling is normal. How much a home sinks into the soil will depend on the soil conditions in the area, and it can change by season. For example, homes in areas with above-average levels of clay in the soil may experience more settling in the summer when the clay dries out and shrinks back away from the home. This leaves more “wiggle room” for the house to shift.
Settling can cause minor cracks in your home, but except in cases of extreme shifting, it usually does not cause extensive damage. Cracks less than ⅛ of an inch (about the thickness of a dime) are likely caused by settling. Be that as it may, if you have doubts about whether or not the cracks are caused by foundation issues, it’s best to call a foundation company to inspect the basement and make sure.
What Should I Do if I Find Foundation Issues?
If you do find problems with your basement foundation, don’t panic. The first thing you’ll need to do is call a foundation repair company near you for an inspection and estimate. A trained professional will come out to your home to inspect the damage- both the signs that you’ve noticed and more subtle ones that you may have missed. They will then determine what needs to be done to fix the foundation and provide you with an estimate. It’s a good idea to get estimates from a few companies before choosing one to work on your foundation.