Homeowners sometimes dismiss foundation cracks as part of the home’s aging process. Those thoughts could not be further from the truth. Foundation cracks are signs of other issues and should not be neglected. Catching foundation issues early can avoid costly repairs and irreversible damage.
What is the purpose of your house foundation?
It seems self-explanatory, right? Simply put, foundations ensure that the ‘load’ of the structure is evenly distributed underneath the building. Architects and engineers account for soil conditions, water tables, and the footprint of the building itself. These variables are considered when building the building’s foundation.
This Old House explains that Foundations are essential to every building structure. They serve to distribute the vertical load of building materials, occupants, and belongings to the soil. Foundations also keep the soil around and under the building from pushing it out of position. Therefore, when you discover an issue with the foundation, there is a need for considerable concern.
Since foundation problems are among the most expensive issues to repair, it is crucial to determine their severity. While some foundation problems are simple cosmetic problems, others require professional attention.
How can you tell if your foundation is cracked?
There are visible signs of damage to your foundation that should be addressed. Is a crack in the foundation bad? Well, that depends on the size and location of the crack. It is best to consult a professional service to ensure that no further damage can occur and that the crack is fixed correctly. Never ignore the signs. Catching something early is your best bet.
- Visible cracks in your basement floor or walls
- Damp or wet floors
- Warped walls in the house
- Bowed basement walls
- Noticeably cracked chimney
- Cracked outside façade bricks or sagging siding
- Cracks in a wall above the door
- Zig Zag cracks in a brick wall
- Windows that were easy to open now stick or cannot fully close
A good rule of thumb is to take a walk around your house once a month or, at a minimum, when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors. A simple walk around your home can alert you to a broken attic window, a damaged soffit, or a crooked door that may not close just right. Whether monitoring your house for invasive pests and nuisance wildlife or looking for changes in the structure, a good walk can save you much pain, time, and money!
The exterior wall is pulling away from the house.
If you find that the exterior wall is pulling away from the house, a foundation contractor should be contacted immediately. Failure to do so promptly could cause harm to your family and pets, let alone the safety of your home’s foundation.
If an exterior wall is also a wall for an addition that is pulling away from the house, it may be that the addition was not correctly built. Homeowners looking for the least expensive options have been known to build an addition on a patio or deck! A solid
Foundation is meant to be down to the frost line and 2 to 3 feet deep. There will be movement if an addition is built upon a patio slab 6 inches thick.
Brick pulling away from the house or brick pulling away from a window are telltale signs of a foundation issue. Homes without gutters or proper draining will find water can do a lot of damage to brick walls and chimneys too. Hire a professional foundation specialist to assess the damage and work with you and your contractor should an excessive repair be warranted.
Can you fix a cracked foundation?
In most cases, yes. If the foundation cracks are more significant than ¼ inch wide, you should have them examined by a structural engineer or professional foundation repair company. If they are less than ¼ inch wide, the cracks can be repaired but should be reviewed by an experienced and licensed foundation repair service.
What to do if your foundation is cracked
If your foundation is cracked, you need to look at the damage and its possible source and get a professional opinion on how to proceed. Minor cracks and nail pops can be the result of normal settling. Improper drainage can change the water level under and around your house.
Your foundation is just that- the base and support of your home. Avoiding foundation inspection and repair can be costly and significantly devalues your home. We offer a free assessment to assess the damages and determine the best course of action.
Contact us for a free inspection.