Foundation Problems

Causes of Foundation Problems

A stable building depends on a strong foundation resting on a stable, level base. Any instability in that base can cause the foundation to sink or settle, resulting in a lower, unlevel foundation. That instability can be caused by loose soil or by freezing and thawing patterns in the soil. Some types of soil and some climates are more prone to these problems.

Whatever the cause of your foundation sinking or settling, it’s important that you learn to recognize the signs of those problems so they can be addressed. Foundations are designed to evenly distribute the pressure caused by the weight of the house. When the foundation isn’t level, that pressure is not uniformly distributed, which can consolidate pressure and cause damage in certain areas of the foundation and parts of the structure itself. The longer the problems remain unaddressed, the greater the potential damage and the higher the cost of repairing that damage.

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Signs of Foundation Problems

Settling or sinking is usually not sudden. In fact, it can be so gradual and small that it can be hard to notice it. Once it starts to affect the structure above the foundation, the signs become more obvious. You might notice “stair-stepping” cracks in brick or vertical cracks in stucco or drywall. You might notice doors and windows becoming more difficult to close or open. You might notice a slight, irregular slant to floors and other surfaces.

Some people’s instinct is to plaster over these problems as soon as they show. However, doing so does nothing to remedy the fundamental problems with the building’s foundation that are causing the problems. You have to be careful not to focus too much on the symptoms and not on the conditions that caused the symptoms. Plaster over a crack and other cracks will appear. Not until you take action to correct the settling or sinking of your foundation will these problems really be gone for the long-term.

Before Foundation Is Lifted
After Foundation Has Been Lifted