You’ve had the cracks filled, the wall anchors put in and the foundation lifted. Now what? You might think this is the best time to grab a coffee, flop down in the recliner and put your feet up, secure in the knowledge that nothing bad will ever happen to your foundation again. However, the time after repairs are made is the best time to start thinking about how to prevent future issues with your foundation and/or basement.
What’s That Sound?
When your home was constructed, the builders used floor joists to support the subfloor beneath the first floor. These wood joists would have been straight and perpendicular to the foundation. If the foundation shifts, the joists and other wood framing posts and beams also shift, whether by slanting or bending.
If your home’s foundation has been raised and leveled, the joists and framing will move. As the wood adjusts to the position change, it may make popping or crackling noises. These sounds generally don’t last for more than a few weeks. It’s like the wood is your home’s spine, and it cracks as it straightens out. As long as the noises disappear within a month, you have nothing to worry about.
What’s That Crack?
Again, the foundation’s shifting affects everything above the foundation. Your home’s shifting frame may result in ceiling cracks. Air moisture and temperature can cause wood to contract and expand, which can also create cracks. If the cracks aren’t long—such as those that run from the ceiling and down the wall—your home will be fine.
Basement and crawl space walls also may move a small bit, resulting in hairline cracks or crumbling mortar. You should plan to have these cracks filled in the near future.
Preventing Future Damage
The reason your foundation had problems was because of moisture. When water via rain or river flooding saturates the soil, the dirt expands and pushes on the foundation’s concrete. Water finds its way through the concrete’s pores and can widen existing cracks and add moisture to the air, feeding mold growth.
Water will fill spaces between soil and create slurries—flowing soil—which can erode the dirt beneath the foundation. This erosion results in soft spots or air pockets into which the concrete can shift. When this happens, you may start seeing cracks in the concrete, bowed basement or crawl space walls, and unlevel floors.
To prevent damage, the foundation needs to be as waterproof as possible. This means going on the offense and doing things such as making sure your home’s gutters are clear and function properly, emptying out a few feet away from your house’s base. Determine if your property has the correct slope to drain water away from the foundation. When planting shrubs or trees, install a root barrier for shallow roots. Plant any trees that will grow to be large several feet from the house. Install a drainage system such as a sump pump in the basement if you live in an area prone to heavy rain or floods.
Foundation repair, whether it’s slab foundation repair or that of crawl spaces or basements, should be done as soon as you notice signs of damage. A good foundation is vital to a safe living environment, so don’t hesitate to hire a specialist to take a look and suggest what needs to be fixed.
Acculevel Has You Covered
At Acculevel, we understand the importance of a solid foundation in maintaining a safe and healthy home. Foundation and basement experts since 1996, we value hard work and honesty. We offer free in-home estimates to those living in the Midwest, including Indiana. Our company prides itself on only doing necessary repairs and never trying to get homeowners to purchase services they don’t need. If you live in the Midwest and need foundation repairs, give us a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to making your home as fit as possible.