All types of buildings are susceptible to foundation problems – new and old, commercial, and residential. A building’s integrity relies on the foundation beneath it, which is why structural damage is so serious and can be expensive to repair.
Self-diagnosing foundation issues can be tricky because the signs are often confused with minor household cosmetic problems. For example, some wall cracks are only superficial blemishes, while others indicate major changes in elevation.
Many of the warning signs of foundation damage are subtle and might go unnoticed for weeks or months. If you’re in doubt, hire an expert to assess your situation and determine the severity of the problem. URETEK ICR Gulf Coast has been offering Houston foundation repair services for over 20 years and is ready to help resolve your foundation woes today.
If you’re unfamiliar with house settling or foundation issues, no worries. We’ll explain everything in this article and even look at some of the most common house foundation issue signs.
What Are Foundation Issues?
Foundation problems occur when major settlement or other structural issues compromise the integrity of your home’s foundation. Natural settling is normal for houses and commercial buildings over time, but problems arise when extreme or uneven settling happens over a relatively short distance. Foundation damage is a huge headache for homeowners since it is often expensive and time-consuming to repair.
How do you know if you have foundation problems? There are several warning signs that your home is experiencing structural issues, such as cracking, sinking, sagging, and more. Keep reading to learn how to identify foundation problems.
Effects of Foundation Problems
Foundation problems can lead to a variety of unwanted effects on your home. If ignored, a faulty foundation can lead to the following consequences:
- Unsightly cracks
- Water and mold damage
- Pest and insect infestation
- Loss of real estate value
- Plumbing problems
- Rising repair costs
If you suspect settling cracks or foundation problems, don’t wait to see what happens if you don’t fix foundation issues. If you wait too long, more damage will occur, costing you even more money in repairs later.
Foundation Problems vs. Settling
Settling occurs when the soil beneath a foundation shifts, causing the building to gradually sink into the ground. Natural settling isn’t a big deal unless it leads to foundation damage or affects the function of doors and windows. Foundation problems caused by significant settling can be very serious.
7 Signs of Foundation Problems
How do you know if you have foundation problems? There are several signs of foundation issues, some more obvious than others.
We compiled a list of 9 signs you need foundation repair to help you determine whether your home is experiencing structural damage.
1. Cracks in Walls
Wall cracks that are caused by natural settlement are usually harmless. These minor cracks can easily be fixed with a bit of plaster and paint. However, more serious wall cracks are early signs of foundation problems. These types of wall cracks typically indicate foundation issues:
- Unusually long horizontal cracks
- Pronounced cracks wider than ¼ inch
- Large diagonal cracks around doorframe corners
- Cracks that grow larger over time
If you notice a drywall crack that keeps coming back after plastering over it, there could be an underlying problem with your foundation.
If you’re experiencing any of these types of wall cracks, contact a foundation specialist to prevent further damage.
2. Cracks in Ceiling
Ceiling cracks can appear in buildings experiencing foundation issues. Even the slightest foundation settling can shift the ceiling structure, resulting in ceiling cracks. Problematic ceiling cracks can present themselves in the form of matching vertical cracks, or cracks that extend across the entire length of the ceiling.
3. Cracks in Slab Foundation
Cracks in slab foundations can severely disrupt a building’s structure and require costly repairs if not detected early on. Slab cracks are difficult to identify in finished spaces because they are usually covered by flooring. Concrete slab cracks can show themselves in broken up flooring with uneven surfaces.
Here are some common causes of cracks in slab foundation:
- Poor construction
- Natural foundation settling
- Exposure to the elements and weathering
- Tree root encroachment on concrete slabs
- Improper concrete curing
- Poor soil preparation
How Can You Tell If a Crack Is Structural?
Structural cracks come in many shapes and sizes, so identifying them can be a challenge. If a crack appears in the form of stair-steps, it’s most likely structural, and a sign you have house foundation problems. You can also tell if a crack is structural if it is wider than 3mm or grows larger over time.
4. Window or Door Frames Pulling Away from Wall
In many cases, a window or door frame that is pulling away from the wall or twisting is a sign of serious foundation problems. Be aware of crooked door frames, gaps beneath doors, and window frames separating from surrounding trim.
5. Sagging or Uneven Floors
Sagging, or uneven floors can be signs of a foundation issue. Signs of an unlevel floor may include squeaky boards, buckling floors, or a dip in the middle of a room. In addition, the direction that the floor slopes most likely shows where the foundation damage lies.
6. Sinking Foundation
A sinking foundation is a clear sign of home foundation issues. If it seems like one side of your home is lower than the other, or if the center of your building appears sunken in, the foundation is probably sinking. If this is the case, you’ll need a professional to lift your foundation by installing piles or polymer to raise your structure. This process is also known as foundation repair.
The URETEK ICR Gulf Coast team offers pressed pilings foundation repair in Houston for homes with this issue. Contact us today for help.
7. Upheaval of Foundation
Foundation upheaval is often confused with settling, but it’s the opposite. Upheaval is evidence of foundation problems, and it occurs when a slab foundation moves upward, typically due to excess moisture in the soil.
Too much moisture can enter the soil through plumbing leaks, or flooding. If you notice your foundation has moved in an upward direction, reach out to an experienced foundation specialist in your area.
In addition to foundation remediation, our team offers Houston plumbing repairs. Contact us if you suspect the issues with your foundation are a result of underlying plumbing problems.
Foundation Problems in Texas
Heavy rain and droughts are common in Greater Houston, and this causes our soil to constantly expand and retract. Over time, this process can put a great deal of stress on your foundation.
The following Texas regions have expansive soil, resulting in frequent foundation movement:
- Corpus Christi
- Port Arthur
If you live in or near one of these areas, you should regularly check your foundation and keep an eye out for settling cracks or foundation problems. If you catch them soon enough, you can save your house from serious damage and costly repairs. Contact a specialist as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms of foundation problems.
URETEK Gulf Coast Can Help with Your Foundation Issues in Greater Houston
URETEK ICR Gulf Coast is a local provider of plumbing and foundation remediation services based in Houston, Texas. We offer foundation repairs using our pressed pilings or polyurethane foam jacking solutions. We also offer additional services such as concrete lifting, pool foundation repair, seawall/bulkhead repair, foundation soil stabilization, and more.
To resolve your foundation problems, contact us online today.