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Is Your Home Settling?  Three Signs That Your Foundation is Sinking

 

Imagine you repainted your living room.  You chose a lovely shade, a color that fills you with a feeling of serenity.  You’ve done the job well: you stripped off the outdated wallpaper, repaired cracks in the drywall, applied 2 coats of primer and painted.  Now it’s time to enjoy the space; you’re relaxing in your favorite chair- debating if you want a nap- when you glance up and there it is again.  A crack above the window, creeping towards the ceiling.  How infuriating- you just fixed that!  

Unfortunately, it’s probably going to take more than drywall putty and paint to make this crack disappear.  What you’re seeing is an indication that your home is settling- a sign that something underneath your house has shifted and needs your attention.  At Acculevel, we’ve been repairing settling foundations since 1996 and guarantee our work for the life of your home.

We’re going to review the signs of a settling foundation, what causes it, and why you should address it.

Want a faster diagnosis?  Check our Symptom Checker for more info.

Watch for These Warning Signs

  • Sticking doors and/or windows.  When your foundation shifts, it pulls at the structural wood framing of your house.  This means the door and window frames start to move off-center, and this is what creates the opening/closing issues that you’re experiencing.  It’s referred to as ‘sticking,’ but that can be a misnomer. You may also have doors that won’t latch, or windows that slide shut on their own.
  • Cracks in the drywall.  Like your door/window frames, as the structure shifts it strains the drywall until it cracks. Cracks above doors and windows are especially telling.
  • Cracks in the foundation, or in the exterior of your house. These can be cracks in the block or in a brick facade overlay.  As the ground settles, the foundation struggles to support the weight of your house.

This stair-step crack indicates a settling foundation.cracked brick exteriorThis picture was taken by an Acculevel Project Manager on a routine free estimate appointment.

What Causes the Foundation to Settle?

Why is your foundation moving?  Generally speaking, it’s caused by changes in the ground surrounding your home.  Water saturation is the most common cause. Too much water flowing under or around your home can soften-or even erode-the soil under your footings.  

Another possibility is a reduction or lack of soil compaction.  When a home is built, the soil is dug out to make room for the foundation.  It should be compacted tightly before the foundation is laid, but sometimes this isn’t done thoroughly.  Alternately, there could be layers of soil below the compacted area that are of a different (or weaker) composition.   

 

Why Should You Take Action?

Like many home repairs, this is something you should fix as soon as you can.  It will not get better on its own and will worsen over time. In fact, the worse the settling becomes, the more expensive the repairs will be.   

If your sinking foundation is left untreated, the pressure it’s exerting on your house will begin to warp the structure itself.  Your windows will crack, pipes will be strained and then burst, the walls will bow and give way. If you’d like additional information on bowing walls, we have an article with details here.

Repairing your foundation gives you structural stability, peace of mind, and better resale value for your home.

 

What’s Your Next Step?

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you should do a thorough walk-through of your home.  Make a note of any other symptoms of settling that you discover, then find an experienced local foundation company, and make an appointment.  Before you sign a contract for any service, you should always verify the company is reputable, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.  

If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states, contact Acculevel.  Established in 1996, we specialize in foundation repairs.  If you have noticed any of the warning signs in your home, you can request a free estimateAn experienced project manager will evaluate your foundation’s condition and recommend the best course of action for you, to keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.

We have also created a free tool that any homeowner can use to see what could be causing problems in your home and how to fix it. Identify problems, explore solutions, and get advice on how and when to take action with our Symptom Checker.