How to Spot Foundation Damage

Although often overlooked, a home’s foundation is arguably the most important part of the house. And when problems occur, costs can quickly add up.

Avoid the headache, stress, and expense of foundation damage by checking for potential trouble before it becomes a major issue. Here’s how:

1. Notice Cracked, Crumbling or Compromised Foundations

As a home owner, hopefully, you’re doing routine inspections of both your home’s basement and along all exterior surfaces of the foundation. If not, start now!

During the inspection, pay special attention to the foundation itself. There should not be any noticeable signs of structural damage, including: hairline fractures or cracks in any direction, sloping, buckling or sagging foundation floors or walls, gaps or ruptures and/or crumbling or flaking concrete. Noticing any moisture such as pooling water, mold and stains is another sign of foundation damage.

2. Water Damage and Soil Shifting

One of the leading causes of foundation damage is improper water drainage. During rainfall, the soil surrounding your home quickly expands, and during dry spells, it contracts. This process can lead to unnatural soil shifting, which can cause extensive pressure on the foundation.

Besides being a cause of foundation damage, improper water drainage is also a sign that foundation failure has already occurred. Foundation cracks can redirect water to lower soil levels, which results in major moisture accumulation around the property.

Homeowners can check for signs of water damage by checking the soil around the home to see if it is wet (when there hasn’t been recent rainfall), or unusually dry (following a heavy rainfall).

Water damage and improper drainage can exist in other parts of the home that are hidden from view. To check for invisible leaks, turn off all water-based appliances, note the readout on the water meter, wait a few hours and then note the water meter’s reading again. If a change in the reading occurred, water may be leaking behind walls or underneath floors and should be addressed immediately.

3. Sagging Floors, Warped Ceilings and Exposed Gaps

When there is foundation damage, issues can appear in the upper levels of the home. Sagging floors, warped ceilings and exposed gaps where interior walls are supposed to meet the floor and ceiling are telltale signs of foundation damage. Checking the slope level on each floor and ceiling with a level tool can help prove if this is the case in your home.

4. Cracked, Crumbling or Buckling Walls

Homes are designed to settle a little bit over time. Settling too much, however, is a common sign of foundation damage. Check your interior and exterior walls for cracks, fissures, warps/shifts, crumbling/decay, and water damage.

5. Poorly Fitting Windows and Doors

Your home’s windows and doors should not be too tight or too loose, but instead, fit perfectly in place.

Even if foundation damage is not the culprit for a poorly fitting window or door, the issue should be repaired as this can create heat loss and high utility bills.

Trust the Foundation Experts!

Unsure how to properly inspect your property’s foundation for damage? See something during your inspection that worries you? Trust Conterra Foundation and Repair to make sure your foundation is in great condition for years to come. Contact us today for more details!