As a home contractor, you need to be ready to inspect and identify problem areas all throughout the home. However, some problem areas can be difficult to access or inspect. Areas like a home’s foundation might have issues but show few warning signs. In these cases, you just need to know where to look for the right signs. Here are some of the common signs of foundation problems and how to fix them. Look for these warning signs during home and business inspections to notify homeowners and offer them the repair help they need.
Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
Foundation problems can be frightening to homeowners, but there are ways to catch these issues early and provide a solution as a contractor. Homeowners and contractors alike should look out for warning signs of foundational issues during home inspections. There are several signs of foundation issues to watch out for. Some can be small—such as doors and windows sticking shut—and others can be more alarming—like large cracks appearing in the foundation or drywall. Pay attention to these signs below and make a checklist for your next home inspection.
The most obvious sign of foundational damage to the home would appear at the source. If you find cracks in the foundation, this could be a sign of structural problems throughout the home. While small cracks can be insignificant, homeowners should never ignore large cracks in the foundation. Without preventative actions, cracks in the foundation can lead to settling and framing issues all throughout the home. This can lead to issues like additional cracks, plumbing leaks, roof issues, uneven floors, and more. Always look for foundation cracks when inspecting older homes. The older a home gets, the more likely it is to develop foundation cracks and issues.
Wall, Flooring, and Cracks
Not all homeowners or contractors may discover foundation cracks first. Foundation cracks can be difficult to see in homes without basements or crawlspaces. These cracks might form on the main floors, in drywall, framing, or flooring. Keep an eye out for cracks along door frames, windows, partitions, and any other areas of structural stress. Cracks like these might be the first signs that homeowners notice when it comes to foundational issues. If a homeowner mentions visible cracks like these, you should prioritize the home’s foundation during an inspection. Also, make sure to check the exterior of the home as well. Cracks like these can show up inside or outside the home. You might find external cracks along the base of the home, following brick and stone patterns, or along garage doors and windows.
Foundation settling is one of the most common structural issues in new and old homes alike. This issue can announce itself in several signs. Foundation settling may cause cracks like those detailed above, but it can also cause other issues. This foundational problem can cause uneven floors, which homeowners might take notice of in a few unusual ways. When doors and windows start to stick, becoming difficult to open or close, this is a sign of foundation settling. This is due to the framing of the home starting to become uneven at the foundation.
Foundation can start to become uneven for several reasons. The soil that the foundation is built on top of can start to move and shift after extended periods. In areas with a lot of clay content in the soil, this process is more likely and many homes experience foundation movement.
In some cases, the home’s foundation itself may show shifts and upheavals. If the home possesses a slab foundation and it has moved in an upward direction, this is a sign of foundation upheaval. Foundation upheaval can occur for many reasons, including foundation settling. Another cause of foundation upheaval might be excessive moisture from rain or plumbing leaks below the slab of foundation. In fact, moisture is one of the most common contributors to foundation upheaval problems. Foundation upheaval can also show signs throughout the house, including columns and door or fireplace frames that appear raised.
Methods To Fix Foundation Problems
Fortunately, there are methods you can employ to resolve these foundational issues that many homes run into. Homeowners should never try to DIY a foundation repair job. A faulty repair could put their home and family at risk due to structural issues. This is where home contractors come in. If you’re not already familiar with some common foundation repair methods, discover some of the most effective methods below.
Slab or Foam Jacking
Slab or foam jacking is often utilized to raise everything from sunken driveways to home foundations. This process is useful for mending and evening out foundation upheavals. Foam jacking involves drilling holes into a concrete slab, filling the gaps beneath the slab with a polyurethane foam that will expand to slowly raise the foundation. This helps restore the balance of the original foundation and protect it from issues in the future. Foam jacking has many benefits over other methods as well. For example, polyurethane foam is resistant to erosion and fracture.
Another method of foundation repair is hydraulic jacking. This method uses concrete slab lift piers to repair sinking or shifting foundation, which is why it is also called “piering.” Hydraulic jacking involves driving steel posts through the unstable soil or clay below the foundation to raise and stabilize concrete slabs. Slab jacking is typically more common than this method; however, hydraulic jacking may be necessary for larger, more serious foundation issues.
If you’re a home contractor, knowing these signs of foundation problems and how to fix them is crucial. It’s important to recall these signs and the dangers that they could be pointing to know how to identify and catch foundation problems. And if you don’t have the tools needed for foundational home repairs, you don’t need to look far. Here at Spray Foam Systems, we carry a wide selection of concrete lifting foam machines for foundation fixes and more. You can also find spray foam rigs to store and transport all your spray foam contracting equipment, and more.