When a house starts to settle and shift over time, a lot can go on with the concrete foundation of that house. Damage can occur that a homeowner may have never seen coming. The seemingly permanent foundation walls (cement or stone) along with the concrete slab flooring may crack, buckle, bow, and warp. Early detection can be a benefit in the areas of safety, renovation plans, and repair costs if you know exactly what to look for.
Cracks in The Flooring or Walls
Cracks of any size are usually the first and most obvious sign that some foundationlist distress is going on. Cracks appearing in the walls and floor, by earth shifting, by water or even by improper concrete curing, are blows to your foundations integrity and should be dealt with immediately. Foundation cracks will also show up in your house above in the upstairs drywall and plaster as the problem grows. Remember; smaller cracks will lead to bigger problems.
As a foundation shifts, its integrity shifts as well. A once straight, level, plumb wall that now has damage to it will show that damage in other areas. A door mounted in that wall will not be true anymore.
As the earth under a slab foundation floor swells and constricts with seasonal temperatures and water accumulation and drying, it will alter the footing of the slab. Heaving can happen, causing sections of floor to break free and rise up over other sections.
Just as with doors, a window that will not open or gets stuck once it is opened or is difficult to open is a spot-on signifier that some foundation damage may be at hand.
Tilted or Cracked Chimneys
A house is built on its foundation. So, what happens to the foundation will affect the above structure as well. Leaning chimneys may be a indicator of foundation damage. Chimneys that show cracking that follows the staircase line of the mortar is another sign.
Any leaking that happens should be promptly taken care of. And water seepage can be attributed to foundation damage. Look for wall or floor cracking, holes in mortar (between stones or concrete blocks), gaps between the wall and floor juncture, and spacing between the door or window box and the wall itself.
Pressure on foundation walls- by water, soil or tree roots- can push a wall inwards. Add cracks to that wall and the problem grows quickly. Pieces of mortar or dust in a stone foundation may appear along the base of the wall. Top sections of a concrete foundation wall tipping in, if left unattended, may lead to collapse.