There are different reasons why your house may develop problems with its foundation. First, some builders are not that knowledgeable about building the foundation of a house. Second, the surrounding soil may have settled, which means there are weak parts in the soil where the foundation rests.
The foundation may be breaking to the point that it becomes dangerous to live in your home. To resolve this, your foundation repair specialist will have to check various contributing factors, such as the type of soil you have under your house and the amount of rain or floodwater that hit your property. The foundation itself could have also been made with inferior construction materials, which explains why the foundation is flimsy.
That said, here are six signs that you should look for to know if your foundation needs to be repaired immediately:
- Your Basement Floor Layers Are Separating
If your foundation is shifting position, you’ll notice that the layers of flooring beneath start to come apart.
For example, if you had the first builder install wooden parquet flooring on the concrete floors of your basement, the wooden components may become loose, making it easy to pry them apart with your bare hands. Immediate repair needs to be done to prevent further damage.
- Your Inner Walls Show Damage
There could also be some damage on your inner walls, like large cracks running across the surface of the walls. These could be horizontal and found near the windows, your ceiling, or even beside door jambs.
These cracks indicate that there’s a change in the foundation’s stability, so the walls are also changing orientation. This is because the weight of the walls rests on the foundation, so any instability underneath will eventually affect the stability of the walls as well.
- Your Basement Floors Have Water Seepage
Since the floor of your basement is directly over the foundation of your house, there’s a possibility that water may start to seep into that room. This could be due to the cracks under the basement floor. Water seepage indicates that the foundation itself is no longer waterproof and is shifting.
To avoid water seepage, you need a contractor like Oriole Basement Waterproofing to examine your basement for you.
- Your Basement Posts Could Be Leaning Off-Center
This is the most dangerous sign of an unstable foundation because it means the weight of the house is off-balance. Pretty soon, the unbalanced house will be leaning to one side and may even collapse.
Thus, if your posts are already leaning, you need to have your foundation repaired immediately.
- Your Wooden Components Are Starting to Rot
If there are already signs of water seepage, look at the wooden parts of your house. Do they look and feel damp? These suggest that the wood will be rotting soon.
If the posts of your house are made of concrete, the moisture won’t be such a risk factor. But if the posts are made of wood, there may be a risk that the wood will become unstable for holding up the rest of the house.
- Your Concrete House Components Are Starting To Break Apart
If you can insert the tip of a screwdriver into concrete parts of your house, then that is a sign that your foundation needs to be repaired because stable concrete cannot be pried apart with any tool by hand. The foundation could be shifting already, thus the concrete parts of your house have also become unstable.
What You Can Do To Address Weak Or Unstable Foundations
You can contact a structural engineer to assess the damage done to your foundation. Sometimes, it is the contractor who will recommend consulting a structural engineer, especially if the damage to your foundation is already severe. The original contractor may have taken some shortcuts during the laying of the foundation, which explains the instability. So, the next best option is to have the foundation repaired.
Check your budget for having your foundation repaired. The contractor and possibly the structural engineer can recommend how much repairs will cost. They may also be able to tell you for how long the repair work will be conducted. The budget and timetable for foundation repair are important since you and your household may have to temporarily vacate the house.
The house that you and your family are living in will have to be inspected regularly by a qualified structural engineer to ensure that the foundation is stable. The original builder of your house might not have been advised by a qualified structural engineer while the house was under construction. Also, sometimes, building contractors may not be skilled or experienced enough to construct a stable house foundation. Although having the foundation repaired may cost a lot, at least your home will be stable enough to live in.