Everybody understands the importance of a good foundation. From cosmetics to education, the term is used to describe the things that must be in place to provide a solid beginning for whatever comes afterward. When it’s the foundation in your home, the things that follow are your walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, and roof, and when that foundation isn’t what it ought to be, those are the areas that will show it. Here are four signs of foundation trouble.
Doors That Won’t Latch
A door is a perfect rectangle, and its frame is supposed to be one also. Several things can indicate that the frame is shifting. The door may not latch, or it may come open without turning the knob. The door may also drag on the carpet or in the frame, or you may notice that the gap around the door is uneven.
Walls Showing Cracks
Settling or shifting foundations will either stretch or compress walls. This can lead to cracks in drywall or plaster, and can also show up in baseboards, crown molding, chair rail, and other trim elements. Drywalls crews may begin to swell up through the paint as well. It is important to note that trim may show gaps between pieces as the wood cures, so examine other areas before concluding that your foundation has problems.
Siding, brick, and other exterior wall coverings are installed level and square. If they begin to show signs of deviating from that, there may be a foundation issue. Vinyl siding can begin to look wavy, and mortar joints may crack or begin to crumble. You may see spaces open up where two sections of siding or cladding are butted together, and window sills may indicate that the brick below them has settled.
Direct Indications on the Foundation
As you inspect or work around the outside of your house, you may see that the foundation is cracked or leaning. A block foundation is particularly easy to see this on, but poured foundations will also crack and split. If the foundation has been covered with stucco or similar finish materials, they may crumble or begin to slough off in large pieces.
With quick intervention through underpinning, many foundations can be stabilized and provide many more years of solid footing. The key is early detection. Monitor the home for any of these early signs, and take action at the earliest indication that something is wrong.