How to Know Your House Needs Basement and Foundation Repair

If you own a home, we’re betting two simple words can make you break out in an instant cold sweat: “foundation repair.” This invasive service can cost thousands, and that’s without mentioning additional repairs for any damage your shifting foundation has caused!

Worse, it can be tricky to tell when you need emergency help. Is that hairline crack a cosmetic problem, or are you looking at something worse? Should you be worried about those gaps between your kitchen cabinets and your walls?

We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at the biggest signs you need basement and foundation repair.

Cracked Walls

As the ground under your foundation sinks, shifts, and settles, it can affect the support your home is getting. Sometimes, this uneven support can add pressure in the wrong areas, causing cracks in your drywall.

Vertical cracks aren’t always a red flag, but you should be especially wary of diagonal cracks. If you start seeing them in your living space, your foundation’s stability may be at risk!

You should also get any cracks larger than an eighth of an inch wide checked by a professional. If you’re ever unsure whether a crack is a cosmetic issue or a structural problem, reach out for a home inspection.

With foundation issues, you may also start seeing cracks in the masonry outside your home. A stair-step pattern of cracks in brick or stone masonry is a telltale sign of foundation damage.

Gaps Between Seams

As your foundation shifts, it may cause parts of your home to pull away from others. This is a slow process, but it can cause a lot of damage. It also creates openings for moisture or pests to enter your home.

Gaps are most likely at the seams around windows and doors. However, you might also notice separations between kitchen or bathroom cabinets and the wall. Gaps may also appear in the siding or molding of your home.

Stuck Doors or Windows

Even if you don’t notice visible gaps, you might still experience problems with your windows or doors.

If your home has foundation issues, the property may settle in a way that brings your window or door frames out of alignment. This can make it harder to open your windows or doors. In the worst-case scenario, you may even find them stuck in place so that no amount of pulling can force them open.

Cracked or Leaning Chimney

A cracked or leaning chimney should be a huge warning sign. Moisture issues or an uneven foundation can cause a chimney to become crooked, pull away from your home, or start cracking in a stair-step pattern along its masonry.

These issues aren’t just cosmetic. Left unaddressed, a damaged chimney can allow moisture to seep into your home. This can cause water damage and mold issues unless you get fast repairs.

Sunken Floors or Ceilings

When a foundation shifts in a way that removes support from part of your home, one warning sign is floors that no longer feel level. You may notice that one small section of the floor seems to dip, or it may feel like an entire side of the property is lower than the other.

Sagging floors can also be the result of poor foundation waterproofing. This can allow water to penetrate the area and warp your floors. If your flooring consists of organic materials like wood, the effect may be even more noticeable.

Sunken floors can become a huge issue, as even small changes of a few centimeters can wreak havoc on the structure of your home. Worse, the sinking may continue as your foundation keeps shifting! If you suspect this issue, it’s crucial to get foundation repairs as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to watch for warping ceilings as well. This issue is less common, but it can show that your home has settled in a way that needs to be addressed.

Plumbing Problems

Sometimes, a shifting foundation can stress your pipes. If you’ve noticed far more leaks and backed-up drains than usual, it may be a sign that your pipes can’t take the changing pressure from your foundation.

Added pressure in one area may even cause a pipe to leak or burst underground. When this happens, you’re even more likely to notice sagging floors. If the leak has sprung from a hot water pipe, your floors may even feel warm or hot to the touch.

Moisture Issues

One major sign of basement damage is too much moisture. If the air in your basement or crawlspace feels humid or sticky, it may be because that moisture is coming through an unseen opening!

If moisture seeps through cracks in the foundation, you might start noticing a musty smell. This can happen as mildew and mold take root in your home. It’s crucial to address the problem right away, as mold can cause a host of negative symptoms for you and your family members.

Visible water pooling anywhere in your basement is also a bad sign. Even small amounts of moisture can cause lasting damage to your home, and reversing water damage isn’t cheap!

Pest Infestations

Most homeowners will have to deal with pests now and then. However, you may be looking at a more serious infestation if you have a foundation problem!

If the cracks in your home and foundation have gotten large enough to let in small critters, you’ll likely start noticing more and more of them around. If you have moisture issues, you may be even more likely to notice pests, as many insects love moisture.

Getting professional pest extermination may help in the short term, but if the pests keep coming back, it’s a red flag that you need to seal up their entryway into your home.

Get Basement and Foundation Repair

If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, it’s crucial to get basement and foundation repair right away! Ignoring these issues won’t make them go away; it just gives them the chance to worsen before your eyes. With a professional’s help, you can keep these problems from snowballing into major headaches and preserve your home for years to come.

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