Most people don’t give much thought to their home’s foundation until a problem arises. At this point, however, homeowners are likely to be looking at expensive structural foundation repairs. Knowing the signs of a damaged foundation and how to prevent foundation damage can save homeowners time, stress and money.
Signs of Foundation Damage
- Cracked Walls – Cracks are one of the telltale signs of foundation damage. Cracks usually appear in walls above doors and where the walls and ceiling meet.
- Wall Separation – Another sign that the foundation is stressed is when the exterior walls of the house begin to pull away from the window frames. The walls can also pull away from the house, creating a bulge, due to expanding and shrinking soil.
- Sticky Doors – When the foundation starts to shift, doors and cabinets can start to stick, making them difficult to open and close.
How to Prevent Foundation Damage
- Water the Lawn – Foundation damage can come from shrinking and expanding soil. When heavy rains fall down on soil that has gotten too dry, the soil can swell more than usual and stress foundation walls. A soaker hose is a good way to keep soil moist during a drought.
- Fix Lot Grading – A lawn is supposed to drain water away from the house, and if it doesn’t, water can accumulate around the home and cause water damage to the foundation. The yard should be graded six inches in 10 feet to ensure water is draining properly. Installing a French drain system may be necessary for yards that still tend to flood despite proper grading.
- Plant Trees Away From House – Tree and plant roots are another cause of foundation trouble. When soil around the foundation competes with roots for water, the soil often loses and dries out. This can cause a foundation to settle and sink. Make sure to plant trees and shrubs with deep roots away from the house.
- Stop Basement Leaks – A wet basement can also lead to foundation damage, and nearly 90% of basements will suffer from some form of water damage. Fix basement leaks as soon as they show up to prevent moisture from building up and creating cracks in the walls.
Signs of Foundation Problems and How to Fix Them
It is important to keep an eye out for signs of foundation damage and to know how to keep them from showing up. Homeowners that neglect signs of trouble could end up with expensive structural foundation repair.