Over a lot of years, the soil beneath your house continues to settle in different layers. Each of the layers has its characteristics which in turn impacts the foundation of your house, and the structure above it in significant ways. The foundation begins to sink if these soil layers can no longer endure the weight of the structure above.
Whenever this occurs, the house will experience various damages in different areas, and some will be more noticeable than others. If you suspect that the foundation of the house is sinking, there are unmistakable signs to look for. It is essential to take action to avoid increasing the scope of damages.
The first visible sign is the foundation cracks. However, there are cracks on your foundation walls that are normal. Therefore, you should be able to tell the difference based on the direction, location and size of the cracks.
After the first year of construction, it is normal to come across shrinkage cracks. These do not change and are typically harmless. On the other hand, if the cracks appear long after the house was built, or the shrinkage cracks widen or grow longer, it means that the foundation settlement is moving. If the cracks are broader at the top, this can be an indication that some part of the foundation has fallen apart. Before it is determined whether the foundation requires stabilization, do not try to seal the cracks. Doing this might hinder a contractor from lifting the foundation back
Another significant sign to look for cracks above door frames and windows or in walls.
Even though plaster and drywall cracks are simple to fix, it is essential to understand what caused them. They would be a result of excessive moisture or poorly done mud and tape work. But it could also mean that the foundation has issues. If so, you will find that the cracks will re-open after they have been filled. Have a professional inspect the foundation if you notice drywall cracks on the corners of doors and windows. If this is not your original house, check the crack area to see if it has been sealed before.
If the house is older, it is common to have windows and doors stick. This might be caused by worn out parts of a window or a moisture problem caused by high humidity. Yet, a sinking foundation could be the reason why the window or door falls out of square. To resolve this, place a four- foot level on top of the frame. Have a professional inspect the foundation if it is not level.
If it happens to be level, the issue lies with the door or window, and you should make a point of having it looked at. If this happens occasionally, it is a sign the issue is moisture related. This is because increasing levels of humidity in wood force it to enlarge. If the door has been previously shaved down and it is rubbing again, this could be a sign of a sinking foundation.
On the upper floors, the floors of the house are wooden, and the floors in the basement are concrete. You should be concerned if any story seems uneven. Has your basement been checked by a professional if you notice is unleveled? If left unchecked, they will cause more damage. Wooden floors could be unleveled for various reasons. It might be a sinking foundation or interior columns in the basement are shifting. In houses with a dirt crawl space, the problem might be floor joists that are sagging.
Some problems related to uneven floors are easier to fix compared to others. Regardless, always have uneven floors inspected by an expert.