Is Your Foundation in Trouble?

Your home's foundation is extremely important to the overall health of your home. If your foundation is showing signs of potential problems, it will need to be repaired right away. Here is what you need to know.

How Can You Tell If You Have Foundation Issues?

Take a look at the above-grade part of your foundation. Do you see any cracks in the cement? If your foundation is made from stone or bricks, do you see any broken mortar or displaced bricks? Check out your windows and doors from outside as well. If they don't appear level, this can also be a sign of a foundation that is shifting too much.

From inside your home, cracks in the drywall or plaster are a telltale sign of the foundation shifting. These cracks are often seen above doorways or in arched openings. The floors may no longer be level. The windows and doors may also be hard to open.

What Causes Foundation Issues?

Homes that are in regions of the country that have expansive clay soil are prone to foundation issues. Expansive clay usually has a high moisture content; however, in drought conditions, it can contract considerably. This back-and-forth change in volume can seriously affect your foundation.

If the soil around your home has poor drainage, this can cause foundation issues as well. Soil that has been too compacted can also be an issue as it impedes draining. In regions like the Great Lakes and the northeast, the extreme temperature shifts can also cause the foundation to shift. It can heave from the frost in the ground and the spring thaw. Tree roots growing too close to the foundation is another frequent cause of foundation trouble. Natural disasters, such as flooding or hurricanes, can also create foundation problems.

What Is Involved in a Foundation Repair?

How a foundation is repaired depends on the reason the foundation is in need of repair to begin with, how much damage has been done, and what type of foundation the home has. A foundation repair company can perform a thorough inspection, determine the problems, and then devise a repair plan.

For example, one method of foundation repair that may be used when a slab foundation has shifted is using high-density polyurethane foam. This is a quick and easy method of stabilizing the foundation again. In other situations, steel piers or jacking up the house and replacing the basement may be required. Once the foundation repairs are made, the home needs to settle for several months before repairs in the home can be made.