Issues with your home's foundation should be addressed as soon as they are noticed.
The longer you wait, the worse the deterioration can become, as the weight applied to the foundation from the rest of your house puts continual strain on any cracks or other damage. As this happens, the repairs can become more difficult and expensive. Additionally, if you're currently in the market for a new home, you'll want to avoid such issues to keep your investment from turning into a money pit.
Foundation damage can result from two causes: The foundation drops or sinks because of soil compaction or your home's walls are destabilized because of pressure caused by swelling soil. These issues present distinct markers to alert you to complications. Keep an eye out for the following signs so that you can fix your foundation before the deterioration becomes more extensive:
Markers on the exterior
Start with the walls by checking them with a level. They should be level laterally and stand up straight. Leaning walls are a sign that repairs may be needed. If the property has brick or stonework, look for cracks running in stair-step pattern. This is also a sign of foundation damage. Examine other external structures, such as chimneys, and ensure that they aren't pulling away from the house.
Signs on the interior
One of the most obvious signs of foundation damage is cracks on the walls inside your home. In particular, look for cracks where walls meet the ceiling and above windows and doors. If your windows or doors begin to jam, you may need to schedule repairs.
Is your floor level? An uneven or bulging floor or cracks in ceramic or vinyl tiles that cover a concrete floor are signs of damage.
Your home's basement is one of the best places to spot foundation issues. Look for bulging or bowing and cracks in concrete walls. Additionally, this is another time to ensure that the floor is level.
Contact a professional
Foundation repairs are not something you should take on yourself. A structural engineer will need to conduct a home inspection to determine the cause and extent of the damage and recommend a course of action to put your house in order. Furthermore, this professional can suggest preventative measures that you can use to protect your home after the repairs are made.