Any kind of water infiltration can damage a home’s foundation — but it also can damage other parts of the house. You might miss obvious signs, such as cement cracking if the issue is concealed behind a workbench or under an area rug. Many homeowners don’t know the less-obvious signs. So, we list 10 signs your home is experiencing foundation problems.
Look for small pools of water or damp spots on the foundation after a heavy rain. If you see any, this means you have a leak — maybe more — somewhere in the basement or crawlspace. Even if the water is located under a windowsill, the sill not being flush with the cement also indicates foundation movement.
Cracks anywhere in the foundation or basement walls are indicative of water leaking in. Cracks can be shallow, deep, short, or long. Water that is too close to the foundation swells the soil around and under the foundation, creating pressure, which can crack the cement.
Bowed walls often go along with cracking. Basement walls are designed to handle pressure coming from above or below — not from the sides. Soil that has been saturated with water presses against the foundation and walls from the sides. This can result in buckling or bowing walls. This takes some time to happen, so if your walls are bowing, it’s because your home has had waterproofing issues for quite a while.
Mold thrives in humidity, so if your basement is wet or humid, mold will likely grow — and it’s not always easy to find. Also, periodically check behind items such as shelves and the basement ceiling. If your basement smells moldy, there is mold somewhere.
Check the ceilings on all floors above the basement, including in the attic if you have one. A shifting foundation can cause cracks and other issues above.
Unless someone throws something at a window or a bird runs into it, windows don’t just crack. Pressure must be applied to the glass for damage to occur. In relation to foundation issues, the pressure and changing angle of a shifting or waterlogged foundation can radiate upward and result in cracked windows.
Doorjambs and Windowsills
Grab a level and check out all the home’s windowsills and doorjambs. They should be level and the sills should be flush with their surroundings. Anything that is at an angle or detached indicates foundation problems.
Squeaky floors are one thing, but if you set your foot down and it feels like the floor has some give to it, you may have a foundation issue. Like cracked ceilings, sagging floors, or wood flooring where the pieces are starting to separate means problems below the first floor.
Most wood does expand and contract a bit with the addition or removal of humidity in the air. However, if you have a door that consistently does not latch, close flush, or open without a bout of wrestling, your home’s foundation needs to be looked at.
Sometimes, everything looks flush and nothing appears damaged, but there still is a problem. If your entire house has shifted, everything shifted with it. If the ceiling molding or baseboards aren’t level, have a professional look at the foundation.
Check the outside of your home for exterior cracks. Also look for any place the exterior walls might have shifted away from the interior of the home, such as where they join or along an external chimney.
Acculevel Knows What to Look For
Our Acculevel experts know every symptom of foundation problems and are ready to check out your home. We have specialized in basement and foundation repair since 1996 and believe in being honest with our clients. If you don’t have a problem, we will tell you that. We don’t try to sell you what you don’t need. If you live in the Midwest, give us a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].