Not enough people recognize that their house is sinking until it’s too late. It can cost thousands of dollars to fix this problem if it can be fixed, and it can cause a lot of damage in the meantime.
Do you know the sinking foundation signs that you should be looking out for?
Being able to recognize the signs of a sinking foundation enables you to call for help as soon as you start to need it. This saves you time and money.
If you’re a home or property owner and you’re starting to get the feeling that you’re experiencing a sinking foundation, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn about a few signs that you shouldn’t be ignoring.
1. Tile Cracks
If you start to notice that your tile floors are beginning to crack, you might have a problem.
Tiles aren’t particularly strong, but they should stand up to the typical wear and tear of an average home. If you’ve seen cracks with no apparent causes (such as heavy things being dropped or moving heavy furniture) you might want to call a professional.
Tile cracks aren’t necessarily caused by foundation problems, but if you notice them in tandem with any other signs, proceed with caution.
2. Door and Window Separation
Your doors and windows should be flush with the walls of the home. The frames should be firmly attached without gaps.
If they become unaligned, you’ll notice quickly.
Doors and windows won’t be able to open or close correctly. Doors are the most easily noticed when it comes to this problem.
A door frame might appear off-center, or you might notice small spaces between the sturdy frames and the flat walls. It’s likely that there will be hairline cracks in the walls around or above these frames.
3. Wall Cracks
Wall cracks aren’t always a cause for immediate concern. They can happen for several reasons, and not all of them are related to troubles with the foundation.
Tiny cracks are normal, and it’s possible that they’ve been there from the time that you purchased the property. All houses settle slightly causing a minor, typically not noticeable, amount of cracking.
Cracks that are more than a millimeter wide are the ones that should be investigated. Whether they’re on the exterior or interior wall, they can be signs that trouble is brewing underneath.
Horizontal cracks or cracks that are at an angle are more alarming than vertical cracks, but all should be investigated. If there’s too much space in those cracks, it could allow water or household pests in, further endangering the structure of the home.
4. Soil Pulls Away from Walls
If the soil around your home is no longer flush with the wall, you may want to investigate further. While some pulling away is normal with weather and moisture changes, an excessive amount of pulling is a bad sign.
If you can see the shadow of dirt around the bottom of the home but the soil is slightly separated, something is moving. It might just be the soil due to a pest or sudden plant growth, or it can be something more serious. If you notice this throughout the entire length of a wall, call a professional for an inspection.
5. Uneven Floors
Many floors have a slight unevenness, especially in areas of the country that aren’t completely flat. That being said, this should be hardly noticeable, if it’s noticed at all.
If you notice over time that your floors have become more tilted, or are even sagging, you might have cause for concern. While this happens slowly, you might notice when you drop something on the floor.
On flat (or very slightly angled) floors, the object should not roll or shift much. If the object rolls in one direction, you need to call someone to check it out.
There are several reasons that you might be experiencing this, but it’s best to investigate.
6. Gaps in Counters or Cabinets
Similar to the issue with gaps in doorways or around window frames, gaps behind and around your cabinets and counters should be a cause for concern.
Your cabinets and counters should be flat against the wall. If you notice adhesive peeling around your cabinets, or if you notice that you can suddenly see the space behind them, it’s time to investigate. You shouldn’t be able to fit fingernails or the width of a credit card behind these structures.
If it appears that things are pulling away from the wall, it’s very likely that you’re experiencing shifting foundation.
7. A Damp Crawl Space
Crawl spaces have the reputation for being damp and dark. There shouldn’t be excessive moisture down there, though. If you’re not someone who regularly checks out the crawl space, it might be time to start.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s current foundation damage, a damp crawl space can indicate future foundation damage. Dampness can cause damage to the wood that supports your home. It can also attract bugs, like termites, who can wreck the wood beams that support everything.
In short, while a damp crawl space might not be an immediate issue, you should still contact someone to help prevent the damage that it’s likely to cause.
8. Nails Popping Through Drywall
It’s not uncommon to see a nail or two pop during a long period of house ownership. This can come alongside the natural settling of the home.
If it becomes very noticeable, though (if it begins happening often), it’s possible that the movement or flexing of the walls is causing nails to become dislodged. This is a sign of foundation trouble.
Have You Noticed Any Sinking Foundation Signs?
When your foundation is sinking, there are some telltale sinking foundation signs that you can look out for.
Not all of these are going to indicate that you definitely have foundation problems, but you should have them checked out by a professional to make sure that you don’t have bigger problems in the future.
Next time you’re wondering “Is my foundation sinking?”, reach out for help.
For more posts about common home problems, or to hire a home inspector, visit our site and contact us.