Knowing the early warning signs of foundation troubles can head off problems that ultimately could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. The sooner you identify potential problems, the easier — and less expensive — it is to fix them.
The 5 Basic Indoor Warning Signs
Houses settle over time, and a little unevenness isn’t cause for panic. At the same time, you’ll want to be alert to these warning signs that more dramatic changes are taking place:
Sticky and/or uneven doors can be a sign that your home’s foundation requires repair. Doors can stick, swing open after being pushed shut, or have gaps around the top and bottom.
2. Cracks in drywall
Drywall cracks are one of the most common signs that you have foundation problems. Cracks will usually appear around doorframes, in the ceiling, in corners and along the wall.
3. Cracks in tile
If your foundation shifts, brittle, inelastic material such as tile flooring will chip and crack.
If the frame of your home shifts with a settling foundation, the windows may become difficult to open, stick, or develop separations around the framing.
5. Sloping/Uneven floors
When your home is built, the support structure is designed to hold whatever is on top of it. Over time, unstable soil, poor support design or waterproofing issues can damage your home’s foundation and cause uneven floors.
Check Outside for more Clues
6. Cracks in brick
Brick cracks are more than a cosmetic problem; they could be an indication that your foundation needs repair — before your cracked bricks grow into a larger problem.
7. Cracks in foundation
Your concrete slab is made to bend and flex to a certain extent. If your foundation moves and flexes too much, the slab will crack.
8. Chimney issues
Your chimney is the heaviest portion of your home and concentrates a lot of weight in a small space. If your foundation or the soil that it sits on is unstable, your chimney may start to lean or bricks crack.
9. Fascia board separation
Since your roof line is directly affected by the settling of your foundation, frieze boards may separate in the corners and fascia boards will pull away.
What Do All the Signs Mean?
There are two basic types of structural foundation damage: walls destabilized due to lateral pressure from swollen soil or settling and a dropped or sunken foundation due to soil compaction or desiccation.