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Foundation Issues? Here’s How to Tell

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Your home is one of your biggest investments, and you want it to remain in prime condition for as long as possible in order to get a high return on that investment. However, foundation issues can threaten this. It’s best to fix foundation issues as soon as possible; the longer they persist, the more expensive it will be to make repairs.

Below, we’ll examine the causes of foundation issues, tell you how to recognize warning signs and offer solutions.

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Causes of foundation issues

Water is the most likely culprit for foundation issues. An excessive amount of water causes the soil to expand; typical sources are leaks from your plumbing, water from rain and snow and water draining from the roof. On the inverse, not enough water results in shrinkage and settlement.

In addition, soil is often an issue during the home’s construction. If the house is erected on more than one type of soil, settling and shifting will be uneven. In addition, if the soil starts eroding, the foundation will shift. 

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Signs of foundation issues

So, how do you tell if your home has foundation issues? Here are a few of the most common warning signs:



  • Between the walls and floor



  • Between the walls and ceiling



  • Above kitchen cabinets



  • Between the garage door and pavement


Cracks on or around:


  • Floors



  • Moldings



  • Sheetrock



  • Bricks



  • Foundation



  • Fireplace


Other signs:


  • Cabinet doors that won’t stay closed



  • Doors and windows that won’t completely close


It should also be noted that a certain amount of settling is normal; if your home has a crack that is less than ¼ inch, fill it in to prevent moisture issues.

Fixing foundation issues

Minor cracks are relatively easy fixes — though you’ll still need to call a professional — that range from $300 to $700. A more serious issue is a sinking foundation. There are two primary ways to fix this. Piercing is a very expensive process that involves putting supports underneath the structure. This can cost several thousand dollars. Slab jacking or mud jacking, which involves pumping a mixture of cement, water and sand into the slab, is usually much less expensive.

A structural engineer can help you determine what’s causing the foundation problem and suggest the best repair option. 

Avoiding foundation issues

To lower the probability of encountering foundation issues, reduce the amount of water that gets to the soil under and surrounding your house. For instance, ensure that drainage from your roof’s gutters slopes in the opposite direction of your home, so the water drains several feet away.

Additionally, since the soil will expand and contract depending on moisture level, consider a soaker hose system to keep the soil moist on a regular basis.

The type of tree that you plant close to your home can also increase your chances of developing foundation issues. Oak, willow, elm and poplar are known for absorbing a lot of water, which can dry out your soil and lead to foundation problems. Plant trees away from your house, especially if you want a large, thirsty tree.

Have you dealt with foundation issues? Do you have any other tips for dealing with them? Let us know in the comments!