Whether you own a home or are looking to purchase your first house, one of the things that you should be concerned about is whether you have a substantial and intact foundation. There are a number of signs to look for in order to identify foundation problems.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, is a cracked foundation. If you are able to see cracks in the foundation from the outside of the house then there is most likely some sort of foundation problem. Cracks in other places can also indicate foundation issues. For example if the home is made of bricks and there is cracking in the mortar or even bricks that have split in half, this can be a sign that the basement foundation has problems and has caused the bricks to shift and crack.
Cracks in walls or in interior moldings such as crown molding are another indication that there are problems with a foundation. Movement of a foundation can cause walls to rotate or to bow. This can be evident on both interior or exterior walls. Walls might also pull away from the house or molding might pull from the wall due to a shifting foundation.
Walls are not the only part of a home that can give you clues to whether you need a foundation repair. Floors will show signs of foundation damage also. For example, if a foundation sinks or shifts the floor can become uneven or slope. You might see this in a separation from the wall. Cement, tile or flagstone floors might crack as a result of foundation problems.
Another, perhaps less obvious sign of foundation issues is that of windows and doors. If a door won’t close properly or a window won’t open this could be because the foundation has somehow shifted. Windows and door frames may also separate from walls due to foundation issues.
If you see any of these signs in your own home or a home you are interested in purchasing you should hire a professional to inspect the property. A professional will be able to determine the extent of the damage as well and whether such damage will continue to worsen over time. He or she will also be able to make any necessary repairs and assess the cost of such repairs.
Foundation problems can seem scary, but many are fixable and need not prevent you from enjoying your home. It is a good idea, however, to address the issue sooner rather than later so that any damaged cause by a shifting or sinking foundation will not worsen and become more costly.