How You Can Detect Home Foundation Problems

How You Can Detect Home Foundation Problems

Unless a home is built upon a solid foundation, there is no hope for it standing throughout the years. Although your home’s foundation might have gone through a complete inspection before you took ownership, there is still the chance that problems can arise down the line. This is especially true if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.

Follow these four inspection steps to ensure your foundation is up to code at least once a year.

Step One: Check The Interior

There are many warnings signs for foundation problems that can be found on the inside of your home. These include:

  • A door that fails to latch
  • A window that won’t close completely
  • Cracks in wall plaster over door frames or ceilings joints
  • Cracks on tile over a concrete floor

These could all be indications of your home’s foundation shifting. Of course, every home will “settle” over time, which could activate some of these warning signs. A slight shift or small crack isn’t cause for immediate alarm. However, you should pay attention to those problem areas in case they become more severe.

Step Two: Check The Exterior

You’ll want to walk slowly around the exterior of your home paying close attention to any evident cracks in the foundation.

The settling process often can cause a vertical crack in your foundation. This could signal a major problem if that same crack appears on the inside of your basement and runs along the floor.

A horizontal crack is typically caused by pressure being exerted onto the foundation. This usually occurs in cold climates, when soil is repeatedly frozen (expanded) and then thawed (retracted). Horizontal cracks can also show up if the foundation is close to your driveway. The continual weight of a parked car could eventually shift the soil and push up against the foundation, causing it to crack.

Step Three: Poke Your Cement

A poured cement foundation could appear to be chipping in places. Don’t confuse a bad paint job with foundation problems.

To check the cement, you’ll want to poke it with a screwdriver. You shouldn’t be able to cause any damage. However, if you find that it’s easy to chip off pieces of cement, then that could be an indication that the foundation is deteriorating. This problem could be traced back to a poor cement mixture of too much water or salty sand.

Step Four: Check Structural Posts 

If your home has a basement, then you probably have structural posts to inspect. Whether these posts are wood or concrete, they should be perfectly straight. A carpenter’s level tool can help determine how straights those posts are. There’s even an app for that!

You should also take note of any rot in the wood or puddles forming around the base of the posts. Those can also be signs of foundation issues that will have to be dealt with.

If you detect any serious foundation issues, you would be well advised to hire a professional inspector to give your home foundation a thorough review. It is always better to nip these problems in the bud before they end up costing you a lot in repairs.

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