All homes settle into the soil over time. You can often prevent major damage with good yard maintenance and proper landscaping. Homeowners should also plan for a foundation repair at the first sign of damage to halt the progression of complications. Landscaping involves planting trees in the right places and adding a slope to the property. Standing water can indicate a problem with your yard or the beginning of a foundation problem. Look for common signs of foundation issues, such as cracks, sticking doors, and uneven flooring.
Here are some common signs of foundation damage:
Landscaping problems may begin before you ever move into a home. If you purchase a home with established trees and flower beds, have a thorough inspection of the property before committing to a purchase. You can also have a professional landscaper assess the plants on the property. Unfortunately, you may need to remove trees if they reside too close to the home. Trees should remain at least 15 feet away from the house to minimize damage from roots.
If you have extensive flower beds and shrubs, find out how much water they need and set a strict watering schedule. When the soil becomes too wet or dry, it can contribute to the movement of your foundation. You may need foundation help if you notice cracks in your sidewalk or driveway. You may also notice standing water on the property if the landscaping or foundation needs attention.
Cracks do not happen only on outside surfaces. When your foundation moves, it affects the walls and floors of your home. Problems may begin with small cracks that you barely notice. As the foundation continues to move, the cracks may get bigger. If you have carpet, you may not notice cracks in the concrete underneath. Tile floors may break or crack, however.
Doors and Windows
Older homes may have doors and windows that stick when you open or close them. Do not ignore this symptom of foundation problems. You may want to adjust the door or frame to make the door work properly. You may, however, need foundation repair and concrete leveling to restore your home.
You may notice changes in your flooring if you have foundation problems. With carpet, you may not notice problems until the floor feels uneven. Tile floors may crack or move significantly. You may notice bumps of different sizes in the floor. Wood and laminate floors may also warp or look noticeably higher or lower in some areas.
Uneven floors often happen when tree roots grow under the house. A subfloor above a crawl space may become spongy and collapse with severe water damage, as well. Get a foundation inspection and repair before attempting to install new flooring.
Sagging Floors & Ceilings
Does your house structure appear to be tilting or sinking? If yes, then there is a possibility that your foundation needs repairing. Signs like settlement issues and warped floors and ceilings generally occur when the foundation has problems.
Sometimes, the structure’s weight is uneven on certain spots, or one side of your house is lower than the other. If this is the case with your residence, the foundation may need to be lifted and require the proper installation of interior or exterior foundation piers.
Gap Between Cabinets & Walls
Another big sign of foundation problems is the separation of the kitchen cabinets or countertops from the base. Sometimes they have slightly started to tilt and pull away from the walls.
Measure these gaps and if it is 1/8” wide or appears to be 1/2” or more away from the wall if you have got serious foundation issues. Also, check whether the cabinets and other things in your house are in level with walls or not. If they aren’t, this is definitely a sign of foundation damage.
Mold & Mildew
Another sign to which many people don’t pay much attention is the mold and scaling. Yes, these things are connected to your house’s foundation. When the mildew starts appearing in the corners of windows and walls of your basement, this means that moisture is accumulating in your home.
Before you start the dehumidifier, examine all mold-prone areas to know whether your foundation has any issues or not. These gaps, holes, and foundation-related cracks let the water inside the walls, so they’re the main reason for the buildup of mold.
The Bottom Line
When you know the signs of foundation problems, you can get help before you have severe damage. Often, small changes in the home indicate a foundation issue. Pay attention to the outdoors, as well. Many clues show up in the landscaping of your home. Take cracks and flooring disruptions seriously to keep your home safe and protect the appraisal value.