The Foundation Settling Warning Signs You May Miss

Foundation Settling Warning Signs

Foundation settling, left uncorrected, can cause a variety of structural problems in and around your home.

Before more obvious warning signs appear, you may notice some of the more subtle signs of an impending problem. And, although foundation repair and stabilization are possible to achieve after extensive damage has occurred, catching the problem early can save you money and restore your peace of mind.

If you do happen to notice any of these indications, err on the side of caution and have your foundation inspected as soon as possible.

Sticking Doors and Windows

If you’ve ever pulled on a door and met with resistance, the chances are good that you blamed the problem on humidity and a swollen door.

Swollen doors do stick, and humidity is often the cause. Unfortunately, your doors or windows may stick for another reason: foundation settling.

When a building’s foundation experiences settlement, walls shift and move. This takes the normally square and plumb window and door frames out of alignment. And, as a result, the still-square door or window doesn’t move properly any longer.

In extreme cases, the shifting pressure can press hard enough on the window frame that the glass cracks. By the time the situation degrades this far, you may start to notice other signs as well.

Sloping Floors

If you have an older home, sloped floors are fairly common. Consequently, you might not give it much thought.

And, because foundation settling happens gradually over time, you may not even notice. Meanwhile, things down below continue to degrade.

You can test your floors easily using a laser level or large carpenter’s level.

If a level isn’t available, place a marble or billiard ball on the floor, four or five feet from an exterior wall. Stabilize it then remove your finger and watch to see if it rolls or stays in place. Retest in several locations around the room.

Cracked Exterior Block or Stucco

Foundation settling often causes the exterior walls of your home to shift or sink. As a result, cracks can develop in brick, block or stucco.

Most often, these manifest in a “Z” formation on the outside of the wall, running diagonally from near the top of the wall downward. You may not notice them inside until much later, as drywall is better able to handle this lateral movement without cracking.

Many homeowners believe that these cracks occur naturally over time, or as the stucco or mortar ages and dries out. Unless the home’s structure has shifted in some way, however, these “Z” cracks rarely appear.

Finally, don’t be fooled by an exterior crack that appears to be old or that doesn’t seem to worsen. Much like the sloping floor, foundation settling happens slowly enough that worsening appears imperceptible until, one day, the gap will become even larger than ever.

Throughout Utah, Wyoming and Nevada, Atlas Piers assists both commercial and residential customers with foundation settlement problems. Using advanced technology to stabilize shifting soils and restore structural components, we can correct the underlying problem and stop further degradation.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to inspect your home, if you suspect that you may be experiencing foundation settling.

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