It’s an unfortunate fact of life—your house will not last forever, and the major problems usually start with the foundation. If your foundation settles or sinks, you’ll get cracks in your walls, uneven floors, doors and windows that won’t shut all the way, and a variety of other problems. And the worst thing you can do for your home is ignore issues with something as important as your foundation.
It’s true, foundation repairs are about the biggest fixes you can make on a house. This means they’re among the most expensive services, but it also means they’re among the most important. If you ignore a foundation problem, it will only lead to even more expensive structural damage and a host of other problems down the road.
How Does Your Foundation Become Damaged?
There are essentially two things that can actually happen to your foundation—movement, and reshaping. These things are what can cause unsteadiness that leads to all the other kinds of problems in your house. It’s important that you look out for signs of damage, so you can fix it early on.
If your foundation is misshapen or shaky, here’s what might be causing it:
- Water main breaks
- Improper grading of surrounding soil
Foundation damage is more likely if your home is built on expansive clay or poorly compacted fill soils. Another thing that can contribute to foundation issues is poor maintenance of the surrounding area. Something as simple as overgrown foliage can cause problems. Of course, if you live somewhere very prone to earthquakes, foundation problems may show up sooner.
In general, the biggest threats to your foundation are moisture and time. Moisture slowly causes foundations to expand, rot, collapse, or worse, and the process happens very slowly. Most people don’t notice any issues until it’s too late. If you fail to notice what’s happening, you’ll end up paying for a lot more than foundation repair. You’ll have to replace your drywall, repair floor trim, reinforce joists, reshape doors and door frames, and much more.
Foundation Repair Solutions
Regardless of the specific cause, the earth under you home shifts and moves over time. You’ll need a professional contractor to do a full inspection of your foundation when the time comes, but there are several things you can do at home to see if you need an inspection to begin with.
Look out for:
- Windows that are hard to open or close
- Cracks in the walls or ceilings
- Doors that don’t close correctly
- Doors that don’t stay in place when they’re open
- Floorboards coming off the walls
- Shelves or cabinets coming loose
You can also check the floor level yourself. You can find a level app on your smartphone, or you can set something like a tennis ball on the floor and see if it rolls on its own. If you notice any of the above things, you should hire a professional to inspect your home’s foundation. Just remember, the longer you wait, the more damage you’ll have to repair!
For more expert foundation repair advice or to hire a professional, contact Southern Home Structural Repair today.