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Problems with a building’s foundations can be one of the biggest problems a homeowner can experience. It is one of those things which if not quickly addressed can lead to substantial issues which inevitably lead to very expensive repairs or worse. The quicker any problems with the foundations are identified the simpler and cheaper they will be to resolve but how do you go about spotting an issue which is basically hidden underground? Evidence of the problem can be seen throughout the building and so you should keep an eye out for them so you can address the problem as soon as possible. These are a few of the tell-tale signs.
If you can see evidence of cracks in the visible foundations outside the home or within the basement this represents how the foundations have slipped on or sunk into the earth beneath the house. Alternatively you might find cracks between the brickwork where the mortar has come apart. This is caused as the house sinks and the sheer weight causes a large portion of the bricks to crack apart and buckle. Cracks might also be visible around windows, fascias and doors as sizeable areas move around them and come away from them.
If you find evidence of leaking within your basement it is possible that is due to flooding. However, there is a possibility that it comes down to faulty foundations. If the earth on which the house is built shifts or compresses over time so the stress this causes on the concrete foundations can create cracks. These will then allow water to enter the building. It is possible for these cracks to be caused by pipe leaks or even tree roots which have forced their way through the foundations.
Windows & Doors
If you begin to notice that certain windows or doors start to stick or become difficult to close this can potentially be down to issues with the foundations. As the walls around them shift slightly so they separate from them and they become slightly misaligned. This is what causes them to be difficult to shut. If you have a problem with more than one window or door in an adjacent area it is quite likely that it is not just a fault of the door or window itself but the foundations.
Just like external cracking if you see any cracks on internal walls there is a chance that this is a large chunk of the house buckling under its own weight as the foundations have shifted. Regular places to observe these cracks are running from the doorframe to the ceiling, vertical cracks in sheet rock and torn wallpaper indicating a hidden crack beneath.
There are three main methods to fix faulty foundations. A whole new set of foundations is one option which clearly will be very expensive and indicates severe problems. Another option is bracing the foundations with steel. The final option is underpinning. This method restores the foundation and will strengthen, stabilise, and level your homes footing to prevent cracking or movement.