How to Recognize the Signs of a Bad Foundation in a House

For the average person, a house is one of their biggest investments. It’s also a place where a person builds memories and feels the most relaxed. This is why it’s important to protect your home. To avoid issues with your foundation it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of a bad foundation in a house. There are a number of factors that can lead to damage or deterioration, requiring foundation repair, and some of these include the climate, soil conditions, improperly compacted soil, drainage, and others.

Preventing Foundation Damage

One of the big things that you can do if you are concerned is to make an appointment with a contractor who specializes in foundation repair and have them inspect your home. They can take a look at all aspects that are likely to be problematic and then tell you what condition your foundation is in and if anything needs to be done. It’s super important to identify problems as early as possible.

It may be that you have to also get a structural engineer to take a look and make a report on your foundation. Depending on whether it’s a residential home or commercial building the price for this can range anywhere from $350 up to $750 and more in some cases. Other things that can raise the price of this cost include buildings that are oversized. The best way to prevent costly foundation damage is to recognize early signs that require your attention.

Three Signs Your Foundation May Need Your Attention

1. Sinking or Settling of Your Foundation

If you begin to notice that your foundation appears to have sunk or is in the process of settling, then this is an early sign that it needs your attention. If this is allowed to go on too long you could begin to see one side of your house slightly lower than the other. This may mean that the foundation needs to be lifted and you may need to install exterior or interior piers. These are put around the perimeter of the foundation to help raise it and keep it in place.

This process can be a bit messy. In some cases, the foundation slab may need to be cracked and that thought can be a bit scary for property owners. In most cases, if the foundation has begun to settle it will do so vertically. What might begin as a half-inch dip can become very large in a fairly short period of time. If this issue is not attended to early on it could cause problems that are very difficult to solve.

2. Doors Start Being Difficult to Open Or Stick

Some property owners feel that if a door begins to stick or is difficult to open that it is just a problem with the door. But this is very often an indication that the home or its foundation has begun to settle. The doors are sticking because as the foundation and home settle the opening changes shape making the door difficult to open and close.

It is true that doors can stick or be more difficult to open and close because of other factors such as humidity. If it is one of these other issues you will typically see that it is not a constant problem. If, for example, humidity is causing the issue then it will be problematic for two or maybe three days and then you will notice that it returns to working well. If, on the other hand, it is due to the foundation of the home settling then the problem will be chronic and will continue getting worse until the foundation is fixed.

3. Cracks in The Wall, The Floor, Or The Foundation Itself Begin To Show

If you notice cracks in any of these areas, that is a telltale sign that there is an immediate problem that needs to be addressed. This problem can cause cracks to develop in the floor and walls and even areas such as the chimney. If your foundation starts to shift it can lead to some very serious issues. It’s a foundation is on certain types of soil and it was not prepared properly then these problems can arise.

It should be noted that it is considered normal and typical for a foundation to sink a little bit in the first few years. It’s even considered normal for the foundation to develop a few small cracks over those initial first few years. Because of this fact, it really isn’t something that an average layperson can determine as to whether it is normal or problematic. This is why it will usually be necessary to get someone with experience to come out and examine your property to determine if it’s fine or if certain problems need to be fixed.

Your home is usually one of your most important possessions. It’s also an expensive investment and one that needs to be cared for properly. A home that is built on a good foundation is a home that will last. If the foundation begins to develop problems and those problems are not addressed, it will simply lead to ever-increasing problems. It is for this reason that you should always keep an eye out for any signs that your foundation is going bad.

Richard Earls
Richard Earls
Richard has been involved in construction and foundation repair since 1991. He specializes in repair of homes in the historical Garden District and French Quarter in New Orleans.

Published by Richard Earls

Richard has been involved in construction and foundation repair since 1991. He specializes in repair of homes in the historical Garden District and French Quarter in New Orleans.