It’s your most valuable asset, so making sure that foundation problems don’t impact the structural integrity and value of your home is a must. Understanding what happens when a home naturally settles a bit can help you identify the signs of a foundation problem and get it repaired quickly, minimizing the damage caused by this common issue.
For most homes, the foundation is made from a layer of concrete poured over a steel structure. Over time, that concrete can crack as the soil your home is built upon shifts and expands. The steel is in place to prevent the concrete from cracking to pieces; some minimal cracking is normal, but big, noticeable cracks or shifting is likely to impact your home in a negative way. How can you tell the difference between normal settling and foundation problems?
Some Settling is Normal
Some settling is natural and happens over time, mostly due to weather and the surface your home was built on; you may see a few small cracks in the foundation itself. The home may sink or settle a bit after it has been built; settling should be minor and not have a big impact on the appearance of your home. Soil expansion accounts for most settling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Even a new home can experience some settling, particularly if the home site was not properly prepared when the home was built or if the property has experienced extreme weather.
Problems occur when the home settles too much, or shifts out of place entirely. Foundation problems can have an impact on the appearance and value of your home, so it is important to be aware of the signs that indicate a true problem with your home’s foundation.
Signs of a True Foundation Problem:
- Cracks in walls, particularly where corners meet and around window and door frames; long, jagged cracks that run at an angle indicate that you have a significant problem.
- Doors and windows that stick: If your doors or windows are tough to open and close, this could be a sign that your foundation is shifting; the frames are actually twisted out of place as the foundation moves.
- Damage in the upper floors of your home is an indicator of a foundation issue; problems often become most obvious on top floors and at the roofline.
- Actual visible cracks in the foundation itself indicate a problem; if you see clear signs of damage, it is time to with foundation repair.
If you spot the signs of foundation trouble in your home, or are not sure if what you are experiencing is just normal settling, we can help. Contact us to have one of our foundation experts take a look; we’ll either discover and rapidly correct your problem or give you peace of mind that your home is settling normally