How to Spot Damage Caused by Foundation Sinking and Settlement

It is an indisputable fact that foundations tend to sink or settle over the passage of time. As such, the soil beneath your house has undergone settlement for a long, long period of time. Generally speaking, each layer of this soil possesses distinctive attributes and this, more often than not, has an influence on your foundation and even the structure built on it. The moment this topsoil fails to effectively support the weight of your home, the foundation will start to sink or experience settlement.

There is a number of factors which may trigger settlement in a foundation. This can include adverse climatic conditions and soil associated problems like gaining and losing excessive amounts of moisture. Houses are, in ordinary conditions, expected to experience uniform settlement after construction. The exact tolerance level of absorbing this pressure is always contingent on the foundation’s design and the soil type. The characteristics of soil layers might alter with time too.

In most cases than not, the expansion and contraction of soil attributable to freeze/thaw cycles will give rise to foundation movement. In its turn, this can cause the structure above it to sink in a gradual manner. When this occurs, your property might sustain damage in diverse ways. Some of which tend to be more conspicuous than others. However, when your have a good idea of just what is happening, the telltale symptoms of foundation sinking and settlement tend to be unmistakable. Here then are some of the most remarkable signs that can point to issues triggered by foundation shifting.

Look for cracks on the foundation itself

This is one of the most prominent symptoms of foundation sinking and settlement. Still, not all cracking on your foundation can be attributed to foundation movement. For instance, shrinkage cracking may occur when the concrete slab undergoes the curing process which can take up to a year to end. These sorts of cracks don’t change with time and are normally not a cause for concern. On the other hand, when cracks start to form on your foundation years after construction, the main culprit behind it is usually foundation movement. First of all, cracking on foundation walls which happen to be wider at the top are normally a good indicator that part of the foundation is falling away. Once you notice this occurrence, it will be prudent to consult a Foundation Repair Raleigh NC contractor to figure out what is really happening.

Look for cracking on walls and above doors and window corners

Drywall and plaster cracking tends to be fairly simple to patch up, but it may be essential to determine what caused it. In some circumstances, this occurrence could point to excessive moisture accumulation or even improper mud and tape jobs. On the flipside, it could as well infer your foundation is sinking or settling. Should this be the case, you will notice the cracks you patched up reopening. Drywall cracking occurring around doors and window corners is, in most cases than not, caused by foundation shifting. Should you notice cracking of this sort, make it a point to enlist the services of a seasoned foundation repair contractor. Yet another issue to be always on the lookout for is nail pops on the drywall. This occurrence takes place when the drywall sustains damage at the spots where nails or screws were installed. This almost always indicates your foundation is settling.

Look for doors and window that stick out of their frames

The sinking of a foundation can have a negative impact on doors and windows. Even subtle movements will make windows and doors to be out of alignment. One way to ascertain if this is what’s happening is to position a 4-foot level on the top of a window or door frame. If they aren’t level, it will be a good idea to have your foundation examined by a professional.

Look for sloped or uneven floors  

The flooring of your property might be built with wood at the top level and concrete at the basement level. Sloped floors that manifest on any level of your house can be a serious indicator of foundation settlement. On the other hand, when your basement floor is uneven, it could point to foundation upheaval. In either if these 2 scenarios, you will want to bring a professional into the case since these issues tend to worsen with the passage of time.

Look for plumbing fixtures that burst

When a foundation experiences settlement, one of the most obvious signs that will alert you of the problem is when water pipes get broken. Should this not be resolved, it might give rise to cracking and water damage which could progressively become worse. Leaky plumbing fixtures will spill water into your foundation and weaken an already compromised foundation. Also, water damage might rapidly spread to other parts of your home like the basement, crawlspace and even load-bearing walls.