The structural integrity and soundness of your home hinges on its foundation. At RGS Contracting of Eugene, Oregon, we have seen all kinds of situations where addressing failing foundations at the first signs of trouble saved homeowners a lot of money than if they had waited. It is important to be able to recognize the common signs of foundation problems, so they can be fixed before a bad situation becomes worse.
Common Causes of Foundation Problems
One of the most common sources of failing foundations that we have found in Eugene is the presence of expansive soils. These soils retain water during and after wet weather and can swell by as much as 10 percent before returning to normal levels. This constant expansion and contraction puts a lot of stress on your foundation walls and highlights the importance of having proper drainage to direct water away from your foundation.
Other typical culprits include a lack of rebar reinforcement and the absence of concrete footings.
Indoor Warning Signs
Just because your home has a little unevenness to it does not mean that your foundation is failing. In fact, it’s perfectly normal and okay for homes to settle over time, a process that causes small imperfections here and there. However, if you notice small things in addition to the following, it’s probably best to have a professional contractor take a look to determine if there are any serious issues:
- Cracks that appear in walls over doorways, windows, or where the wall meets the ceilings.
- Cracks that grow wider the farther up the wall they go.
- Doors that begin to jam or not shut completely
- Windows that had previously opened and shut normally that now become stuck and unable to close fully.
- Basement walls with crack(s) from floor to ceiling
- A basement that is very humid and infested with bugs such as centipedes, cockroaches or silverfish could be a sign of poor drainage leading to cracks in the foundation.
- Flooring that has become warped or started to sag in some areas
Outdoor Warning Signs
There are also many ways you can check the exterior of your home for signs of foundation trouble. Just because the problems are stemming from below your home doesn’t mean that is the best place to look for damage. As a matter of fact, it’s more likely for problems to arise near the top of your home due to foundation trouble. While carefully using a ladder, check the roof and upper parts of your home for signs like:
- Cracks above window frames (perhaps the most common type of damage stemming from foundation issues)
- A chimney that seems to be pulling away from your home or has cracks running up it
- Cracks running up a brick exterior in a stair-stepper fashion
If your home has a crawl space, check under there shortly after a rainfall to see if excessive amounts of moisture are finding their way into this space. If you think this might be the case, use a screwdriver to prod the supporting wood structures to make sure that it is not rotting from the moisture. Make sure that your home is properly carrying rainwater far enough away from your foundation.
If you have found one or more of these warning signs to be present in your home, it’s time to contact a professional contractor immediately. The foundation experts at RGS Contracting can help get your home’s foundation to where it needs to be. Contact us today.