Foundation Damage: Causes And Warning Signs

Posted on: 1 June 2015


Foundation damage can occur at any point in the lifespan of a home, and it may occur for a variety of reasons. If you're a homeowner, knowing what causes foundation problems and how to identify the usual warning signs of foundation damage can help you catch small problems early. 

Causes of Foundation Damage

Foundation damage often occurs when the soil around the home shifts in ways that are unexpected and undesirable. This can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • A change of moisture content in the soil: If the standard moisture content of the soil changes over time, this can cause swelling or shrinking of the soil beneath the home. Floods and droughts, poor drainage, plumbing leaks and unusually wet weather can cause this change. As the soil beneath the home swells or shrinks, the foundation shifts to accommodate those changes. 
  • Compaction: Slab-on-grade foundations are built on soil that is compacted during the building process. If the soil is not compacted properly during construction, the soil is subject to settlement later on. If the soil beneath the home is variable in type, this can cause the home's foundation to settle improperly. 

Warning Signs

The following warning signs could point to a problem with your home's foundation:

  • Doors that used to close and open properly suddenly start to stick. 
  • Windows that used to close and open properly suddenly become difficult to open or shut, or will not close all the way. 
  • Cracks in the walls appear, especially over doorways, windows and where the walls meet ceilings.
  • The floors are uneven, as demonstrated by puddles of water or balls that run from one side of the room to the other.
  • Stair-stepping cracks appear in the foundation bricks.
  • Cracks appear in the outer walls of the home.  

When to Watch for Foundation Problems

Although you should always be on the lookout for potential problems with your home, you should be especially aware of changes in your home's foundation if you experience the following problems:

  • The area where you live experiences heavy, unexpected rains over a period of many months.
  • A major plumbing leak is discovered beneath your home.
  • The area where you live experiences a prolonged drought. 

If you're a homeowner with foundation problems, addressing small issues early can help you avoid bigger repairs in the future. If you suspect that your home may have foundation problems, contact a business like Safe-Guard Waterproofing in your area for a consultation today.