How Do You Know If Your Foundation Is Damaged?

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Your foundation is mostly invisible, but it’s one of the most important parts of your home.

You’re beginning to have suspicions about your home foundation. Whether it’s a moldy odor coming from your basement carpet or a telltale mark on the wallpaper, you think that there could be trouble beneath your home. How do you know if your foundation is damaged?

How Your Foundation Works

While your foundation may look stable, it rests on a dynamic environment: the soil under your home. When soil under your home shifts, sinks, or heaves due to moisture changes, the soil and your foundation become less stable. This can cause structural problems like cracks. Cracks turn into an even larger problem: leaks that cause even more damage to your foundation and the walls around it.

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Check the floors, windows, and walls of your basement regularly to make sure that you have no foundation damage.

Signs of Foundation Damage

Many people use their basements as storage areas, while others use them regularly as spaces to live, play, and entertain. If you’re not in the basement regularly or you don’t inspect your basement floor and walls, you can be fooled into thinking that all is well with your foundation. As a homeowner, you can conduct simple inspections that help you prevent small problems from spiraling into immensely complicated foundation repairs.

Some of the first signs of foundation damage may be simple things such as doors and windows that don’t close properly. If you notice that you’re having more trouble with doors and windows that swing open or stick when they’re shut, you could have a foundation that’s tilting. You may also notice that the floor tilts. This probably won’t be obvious, but if you place a marble or a child’s ball on the floor, it will slowly move in one direction.

Cracks are another sign of foundation damage. Your wood or tile floor may become uneven, and eventually cracks appear. As the floor shifts, cracks appear in the walls as well, although they may be disguised under layers of paint or wallpaper and may just look like bubbles in the paint. Cracks occur because a house shifts unevenly, putting more pressure on certain parts of the walls and floor that on others. Look around doors and windows as they tend to move first. When cracks become really severe, the windows, doors, and floor can look like they are separating from the walls.

Outside, you may notice cracks as well, particularly when you look lower down on the house. If the foundation damage is due to poorly-sloped outdoor landscaping or water that’s leaking from the gutters, the soil right next to the home may be damp and loose.

After a while, cracks can begin to leak water, especially if there is a lot of water coming from an overflowing gutter or if a drain leads right to the area around your foundation.

What to Do If Your Foundation Has Damage

If you suspect damage to your foundation, this is not a DIY patching job. Simply changing the windows or adding concrete to a crack won’t necessarily repair the real cause of the damage: shifting soil. You need to address the foundation damage, and you probably want to ask a home inspector to take a hard look at the extent of the damage and suggest repair strategies.

You also need to address the cause of the damage. If your foundation is leaking because the gutters are overflowing, you’ll need to clean the gutters more regularly and add gutter protection such as gutter covers. If there’s a leak coming from the roof or through the fascia boards that connect the roof and the gutters, you’ll need to repair your roof or work on a gutter repair. Foundation damage can cause serious structural issues for your home, and you must not ignore it.

At Harry Helmet, we’re here to keep your home in the best possible condition so that you can enjoy living and playing in and around your home. Whether you’re looking for a new roof, gutter protection, or gutter repair, we will ensure that your home is working at its peak. Schedule an appointment today and view our photo gallery to see how protecting your home against the elements can be both beautiful and functional.

Written by Del Thebaud