The foundation of your home is of course just as important as its appearance, regardless of whether you are planning to sell it or live in it for some time.
Crumbling or bowing walls, and water seeping in through cracks are just two of the common issues that many homeowners experience with their home’s foundations. Sinking, or settlement is also a frequent and potentially dangerous problem that can affect your home’s stability and your family’s safety.
Is Your House Settling?
Your home’s foundations are actually placed on footings, which are wider platforms located below the foundations and settlement occurs when these footings break because of a lack of support.
Realistically, your home can settle over the course of several years, and that is a much more likely scenario than a sudden sinkhole appearing and swallowing up your home. You may find yourself working hard to save your home and the money invested in it if you experience settling while living in your home.
Getting settlement issues taken care of before they become severe and costly is essential, and these six methods of diagnosing settlement of the foundations can help you:
Slanted Mortar Joints
Measuring your mortar joints is one of the easiest ways to tell if your home has settlement issues and may need foundation repair. A method called a laser line is commonly used by a foundation specialist to check the alignment of any joints in your mortar, and your home may have shifted under the ground if anything seems to be out of alignment.
Your home may have settled if you can see visible cracks on the outside or the inside of your home, and the wall may actually be rotating if you can see vertical cracks which appear to be actually getting wider. When inspecting your home this way, look for long horizontal cracks or stair step cracks in your home’s brickwork.
You should also inspect for cracks in your concrete slab floor, as well as check your drywall and paneling made from wood. You may have to determine whether heaving of the concrete is responsible for any cracks in a concrete basement floor, which isn’t the same as settlement.
Repairs and Patches That Look Suspicious
It’s a good idea to check carefully for any signs of past repairs that might be an indication of a problem if you bought your house from a previous owner. Repairs carried out to fix or simply hide cracks may be signs of settlement, and you may need to spend money on foundation repair.
Doors and Windows Sticking
Doors and windows that are not level and squarely aligned anymore will stick when you try to open them, and this can be a sign of your house settling on one side. Check for indications of framework or latches having been moved or repaired if you are buying a house from a current owner; it can be a sign of settlement of the home.
You can easily check your floors for signs that they are slanting or uneven, by using a level or a laser line, and uneven floors may mean the house has a settlement issue. Sagging joists or beams can also lead to uneven floors, so this method of checking isn’t always a foolproof way of knowing whether your house is settling. Always check the floors at a few different places, such as along the outside wall, along with the inside walls and in the middle of the floor, to get a more accurate picture.
In most homes, the chimney is installed at the same time that the house is constructed, meaning that if your chimney seems to be leaning or has cracks in it, your house could be experiencing settlement. However, these signs can also be indicative of a sinking chimney foundation or slab, and although this is no immediate cause for concern, it will need to be addressed at some point. Check the foundation of your home at the same time if you are spending the money and taking the time to have your chimney checked.
Look for a combination of the above signs of foundations settling, rather than jump to the wrong conclusion if you just notice one of them. A foundation repair expert should be consulted if you are in doubt about the stability of your home and especially if you see cracks. Keeping your investment in good shape is essential, as well as making sure the occupants of your home are safe.
Thank you so very much to the contractors at Ramco Foundation Repair for this great post on what to expect from your homes foundation. Don’t fret to check out their business below:
Ramco Foundation Repairs Edmonton
9807 47 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T9M 1P3