If you want to know the most common signs of foundation problems, you’re in the right place. This article will teach you what foundation problems you should worry about, how to spot them, why you have foundation problems, and how experts fix them.
Signs Of Foundation Problems
Here are the most common signs of foundation problems.
Unsafe Foundation Problems
- Foundation walls that are bowing more than 3 inches – If your foundation walls are bowing (the center of your wall is pushing inward) more than 3 inches, you need to call in a professional as soon as possible. When hydrostatic pressure or expansive soil pushes against your walls, the movement can compromise the structural integrity of your foundation.
- Foundation cracks – Experts recommend looking out for any horizontal or stair-step cracks on your foundation walls. If you notice any of these “structural cracks,” call a professional now.
- Foundation settling or sliding caused by soil creep – If you live below a hill or on the side of a hill, your home might experience soil creep. Sometimes, after heavy rains, soil can slide down the hill and cause lateral movement against your foundation, causing loads of problems.
- Uneven or cracked floors – Foundation problems can lead to uneven floors, especially if you have a settling crawl space. This can lead to unsteady appliances, rocky furniture, and trip hazards. If your floors are cracked wall to wall, this could also indicate you need foundation repair.
Other Foundation Problems
- Windows and doors no longer close correctly – If your foundation settles, it can throw your house out of plumb. This can make it hard to close any windows and doors since your walls or floors no longer sit straight.
- Walls, floors, and ceilings are separating – Foundation problems can cause your walls, floors, and ceilings to separate from each other.
- Wallpaper is tearing – If your wallpaper is tearing, look for any hidden cracks.
- Drywall cracks – If you have drywall cracks that are running diagonally from the corners of your doors and windows to the ceiling, you probably have foundation problems.
- Your chimney or porch is separating from your home – This could be an issue with the foundation directly under your chimney or porch. We recommend calling in a professional to check out which foundation has problems.
Why Do You Have Foundation Problems?
The most common cause of foundation problems is differential settlement. That’s when sections of your home settle at different and uneven rates. One part of your home will sink lower than another part of your home, which will cause foundation problems. Here’s what causes differential settlement.
- The soil under your foundation wasn’t compacted correctly – This means the soil particles are too far apart and are filled with voids.
- Buried material under your foundation is degrading – Sometimes, before your foundation was poured, contractors can toss things in your soil that don’t belong there, such as coolers, plywood, and cardboard boxes.
- The soil under your foundation is expansive – Expansive soil grows and shrinks based on moisture content (how much water saturates your soil). If your soil swells with water, it can push against your foundation slab or walls. Then when your soil dries, the pressure will lift off your foundation. This movement can cause foundation problems.
- Hydrostatic pressure is pushing against your foundation walls – Bowing walls are usually caused by hydrostatic pressure. That’s when water swells up in your soil and heaves against your basement walls. Bowing walls can also be caused by expansive soil, frost-heaving, and lateral pressure.
How Do Experts Fix Foundation Problems?
If your foundation problems are caused by differential settlement, experts will use underpinning methods such as steel push piers and helical piers. If your foundation problems are caused by hydrostatic pressure, experts can use special anchors to pull your foundation walls back outwards. Here’s how those solutions work.
Foundation problems caused by differential settlement
- Steel push piers – These piers are pushed deep beneath your foundation until they reach the load-bearing strata (strong enough soil to hold up your home). Then, using hydraulic jacks, your home is lifted back to the maximum practical level. This is the ultimate amount of foundational lift achievable before the piers cause any structural or cosmetic damage.
- Helical piers – Helical piers, unlike push piers, are twisted into the soil beneath your foundation. Then, using the same process, your home is lifted back to the maximum practical level.
Foundation problems caused by hydrostatic pressure
- Wall plate anchors, c-channel anchors, and carbon fiber straps – If your foundation walls are bowing more than three inches, experts can use wall plate anchors or c-channel anchors to pull your wall back outward. If the bowing is less than three inches, experts will use carbon fiber straps to stabilize your wall and prevent any further movement.
Cracks caused by foundation problems
- Epoxy injections and carbon fiber staples – If foundation problems have caused any cracks to form on your walls, experts can seal them using epoxy injections and stabilize them using carbon fiber staples.
Who Can Identify And Fix Foundation Problems Near You?
If you live in the Greater Chicago area and have signs of foundation problems, you need to call in a professional and reliable company. You need to call The Real Seal. We’ll come out and inspect your foundation problems, determine how serious they are, and what we can do to help. We also provide basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, concrete leveling, and more. Call today for your free inspection and estimate.