It costs anywhere between $400 to $30,000 to repair foundation damage. If you know how to spot the early signs of foundation problems, you can cut that bill back to the lower end.
But if you let it go? That bill can escalate to over $30,000.
So what should you look for if you’re worried about your home’s foundation? Here are the top seven signs that something’s wrong and it’s time to call for help.
1. Sticky Doors and Windows
Do your doors and windows jam or stick when you try to open them? Is this a new problem?
Most likely, it’s a sign that the foundation is settling. While this is normal, it’s still a problem. It means that where your doors and windows once sat at perfect angles, the angles are off now and don’t line up properly.
On top of being sticky, there might be cracks, or they might be too loose.
Other issues can cause sticky or loose doors and windows, like improper installation or age. But if this is a new problem, or one you’ve noticed is gradually getting worse, it’s worthwhile to call for an inspection.
Look into foundation repair solutions to catch the issue before it gets worse. Catching this early can save you thousands of dollars.
Look out for cracks in the pavement, like in your driveway, on your floors, or in the walls. It’s a sign that the foundation for your house isn’t stable, so your home is coming apart.
You may notice cracks in your walls or diagonal cracks up the brickwork. While cracking is normal, especially in the first two years of a home’s life, look out for horizontal cracks. It’s a sure sign there’s something wrong with your foundation.
The more severe the crack, the more severe the damage. Cracks over 15 mm are a sign that there are serious problems.
Don’t panic if you see cracks since there’s a way to fix it. But it’s a sign that you need to call for help right away.
3. Uneven or Saggy Floors
If you drop a ball on your floor, does it inevitably roll to one side or another? It’s a sign there’s something wrong with your foundation. Your floor should be level, so if you’re seeing sagging or unevenness, your foundation is likely to blame.
Small slopes aren’t a problem; it’s the drastic ones you need to worry about. Do you see more than an inch of difference every 15 to 20 feet? Call a professional right away to diagnose the problem.
If your home has a pier or beam foundation and you notice your floors are sagging, that’s a serious issue and you need to call a professional right away. Don’t wait, because they only get worse.
4. Moisture, Bad Odors, or Water Damage
Moisture can cause cracking, which can cause water damage, which then causes bad odors. Just because you’re noticing a musty smell or extra moisture in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have a foundation issue.
Your area may be particularly humid; you need to replace your windows, or there’s a leak in the roof.
But if this is a factor among other foundation issues you notice, take note of it.
One way to check if moisture is getting into your foundation is to walk around your home after it rains. Look for patches where the ground is already dry next to your home. It’s likely the water drained into the foundation, not away from it.
5. Wrinkling Wallpaper
If you have wallpaper in your home, you may notice frustrating wrinkles that appear seemingly out of nowhere. It could be a sign that your foundation is shifting. This causes your walls to warp, and your wallpaper to crinkle.
Other things could cause this, like poor installation or humidity. But take note of it when you’re assessing other potential foundation symptoms.
6. Your Patio Is Pulling Away
Since your patio isn’t fixed to your foundation the way the rest of your house is, you may notice it’s pulling away from the side of your house. Look for gaps in between the flooring or gaps between the railing and the home.
These could be signs your foundation is settling and your patio is pulling away from it.
7. Gaps Where There Shouldn’t Be Any
As we discussed earlier, if your foundation is settling, you might notice gaps between the windows or doors.
But you might also notice gaps between the crown molding and the ceiling, or between caulking, or gaps at the seams of your house.
When your home settles, things don’t line up the way they should. Take note of any place you notice a weird space and point it out when you schedule a home inspection. They’ll be able to identify your foundation issues and come up with a fix for you.
Remember, the earlier you catch the issue, the quicker (and cheaper) you can get it fixed. Postponing foundation repairs only leads to more expenses down the road.
Spotting the Early Signs of Foundation Problems Can Prevent a Huge Issue
When you know how to spot the early signs of foundation problems, you can catch the problem early and stay on top of it. Look out for cracks, sticky doors and windows, or uneven floors. These can all be signs something more ominous is looming.
But by getting professional help quickly, you can protect your home and avoid a hefty bill.
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