How to Identify Home Foundation Problems
Cracked foundation wall in need of repairs
To know how to identify a foundation problem is usually a simple visual observation of damage or cracking that has occurred in your home or building. These foundation cracks can be visible in your basement foundation wall, concrete slab, cracked drywall or plaster, or cracks in the brickwork of your home or structure.
Identifying foundation problems can also be less obvious, such as binding (sticking) windows or doors. Sometimes identifying foundation problems may not be as simple in the early stages as seeing the signs mentioned above and simple crack repairs won't not be enough.
Very early signs to look for often before foundation settlement occurs:
Foundation wall crack repaired
Moisture or water coming in the basement / crawlspace or puddling near the perimeter of your home.
This type of problem is most often caused by some change or changes at or above ground level. Gutters leaking, blocked by debris, or damaged in such a manner that water is overflowing or not being caught from the roof properly.
Downspouts not extending far enough away from the structure.
This could be leaks below ground if they are buried or extension / splash blocks moved, missing, or never installed.
Most common and problematic is poor or incorrect drainage or slope at and around the structure. This situation is extremely common and causes the most problems and damage.
Any of these things alone can cause current and future problems and often more than one occur at the same time.
Problems associated with these things are leaking basements, water damage to the structure at and above ground level, puddling around and near the structure and other water and mud related symptoms.
The big concern is the differential moisture situations that these problems cause at and below the structure. There are differing opinions which is better or easier to control damp or dry soil at and below the foundation. However, most if not all agree that an even moisture content in the soil is the least likely to promote differential movement (settlement / heaving) in a building foundation.
Usually, fairly inexpensive, is the correction of these problems.
The above situations must be corrected starting at the top:
- Be sure all gutters properly catch the water from the roof.
- Downspouts must disperse the water an adequate distance away from the building and must flow away from the building at that point.
- Most important is the contouring of the ground around the building. A foundation is not designed to repel or resist water, it is designed to be dry.
If soil around the foundation after the excavation is not compacted and re-contoured to direct water away from the structure, water will run toward the building causing serious immediate and long-term problems. Voids under walks, patios, and driveways must be filled to prevent improper water flow. Planters and landscaping, although often cosmetically appealing, need to be designed in such a way that they direct water away from, not toward the building. Correcting these problems is not a guarantee you will not have future problems, but if left uncorrected you most likely will.
In most cases, correcting these problems will slow or stop basement water problems, and improve the appearance of both the house and the growth around the house. Also, like changing the oil in your car, maintenance of the gutter system and most importantly, the changing soil and grade around your home is important and necessary.
If there are any suspicions at all that a foundation settlement problem may exist, even without the visible signs of cracked basement walls, foundation cracks or ceiling cracks, that is the time to call in a Perma Jack foundation repair system specialist to diagnose your problem early, before more unsightly crack damage develops.
Protect your investment and repair the building or home foundation with confidence. Contact one of our foundation repair companies today for a free consultation and analysis!