Damp and wet basements are one sure sign of foundation problems. Many homeowners call us at this stage. But by this time, there’s often an accumulation of water damage: mold growth, damage to drywall, carpets, and flooring. In the worst case, leaking foundations can damage a home so severely that it becomes uninhabitable. (See our blog “6 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home and Your Health.“)
Dampness is indeed a sign of foundation problems, but the question of “How high’s the water, mamma?” can be averted. There are many indicators of potential foundation problems that you can catch before the wet sets in. Watch for the warning signs before you’re swimming in troubled waters, literally.
1. Cracks and Gaps in Concrete Foundation, Walls, and Floors
Not every crack should cause you to hit the panic button. Just as you need to settle into a new house, the house needs to “settle in” to its surroundings. It’s normal for your home’s foundation to sink and develop tiny cracks in the first 2-3 years following construction. Vertical hairline cracks are a common sign of settling. But bigger, horizontal cracks of 5mm and sometimes much more in brick exteriors or the concrete block walls of your basement could be a sign that your home is experiencing more than an acceptable, normal amount of settling.
Floor cracks, wall fissures, and broken chimneys also point to possible trouble. If you see fractures that are at a 45-degree angle, this could indicate that severe foundation movement has occurred.
Aside from the typical settling, your home may experience foundation movement due to a variety of conditions such as seasonal expanding and contracting of the soil, or a bout of exceptionally wet or cold weather.
Whatever the environmental cause, larger foundation cracks invite not only water, but insects, which can weaken an already damaged foundation. Some problems are cosmetic, others are more serious and will require immediate repair. It’s the job of professionals like Groundhog Excavating to know the difference.
2. Gaps Around Doors and Windows
When there’s a problem with your foundation interior, doors tend to drag at the threshold or hang down at the top. Are the tops of your interior doors higher on one side or the other? Sometimes high humidity causes doors to stick, but a foundation problem is a definite possibility too– especially if you also see the cracks and fractures noted above.
Notice gaps around your exterior window frames, or spaces around your exterior doors? Do your doors no longer latch? These are also signs of foundation problems.
3. Uneven Floors
Do your floors seem to be out of level, sagging or dipping? This is another sign of a foundation issue. Besides being unsightly, uneven floors are dangerous, especially for small children, the elderly, and those who are physically impaired. Uneven floors are yet another sign of foundation problems.
These are just a few of many signs to watch for that your home’s foundation may have problems that need to be repaired. See our page on foundation repair and waterproofing for an overview of the types of repair we perform at Groundhog Excavating.
The worst thing you can do in response to signs of foundation problems is to ignore them. Give us a call at 778-233-7499 or send us a message and we’ll assess your situation and make recommendations for repair of your home’s foundation. We serve all of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Estimates are free.