When it comes to foundation problems, it’s better to take preventative measures than to wait and try to fix a larger issue, as the cost of repair work can be very substantial. By becoming familiar with the warning signs, you can act early.
Through advances in technology, there are now products that can be applied from the inside of your home, which avoids, in many situations, having to dig up the ground all around the foundation…Don’t hesitate to contact a foundation repair professional to help you with this work.
What Does Not Indicate a Structural Problem
Houses, even though generally solid, are subject to different things that will cause them to crack in 80% of cases. If the cracks are tiny, there is no reason for worry. However, they should be filled to prevent water and insect infiltration. As long as they don’t exceed the thickness of three-dollar bills, which is between 1/32” (0.8 mm) to 3/16” (5 mm), you should not be alarmed because cracks of this size should not cause structural issues.
Inside the Home
When cracks form in the corners of doors and windows, this could indicate a foundation problem. Depending on the ground upon which the home is built, sometimes a foundation will move, and you will notice horizontal cracks. This is due to damp ground that freezes: the water contained in this soil will expand and this could cause damage.
Doors That Close Poorly
Inspect your doors and windows to ensure that they close properly. There is no need to be too alarmed, as the problem could be due to worn or warped wood or a sloppy paint job. However, a fairly common indicator of a foundation problem consists of kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors with an irregular gap and which shut poorly.
A Cracked Chimney
If the home has a chimney that has cracks in it, it could be a sign of a damaged foundation.
A Mouldy Smell
Water infiltrates many basements. This can be caused by an eroding foundation, allowing water to penetrate the concrete. You will see the presence of mould on the walls and floor, and you can also smell it. Mould is very damaging to health, so it is important to find the source of water infiltration and to act quickly to remove any trace of these toxic microorganisms that proliferate in warm, humid, poorly ventilated environments. Unfinished spaces with exposed floors should be equipped with automatic pump systems to evacuate any water.
Outside the Home
Doors That Stick
When you have to struggle with doors just to open and close them, this is another sign that something could be wrong with the foundation!
Also take time to inspect the garage door. Like it is with the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, a breach between the garage door and the asphalt entrance could indicate a foundation problem.
If you discover cracks in your bricks and mortar, don’t wait until your home splits into two before taking action!
You Notice Movement
Carefully observe the ground around the foundation. If you think that the building has moved a little from its initial location, whether because of ground expansion or contraction, or even other reasons, you should get it checked out by an expert in this field.
If you notice that the garage or basement floor has risen excessively and there are countless cracks on the floor, it probably indicates the presence of pyrite. You will also probably notice a whitish colour deposit accumulating around the cracks in the floor.
In this case, you should act quickly, as the presence of pyrite can cause significant damage. When the pyrite level (determined by specialized laboratories) exceeds 12%, there is sufficient risk of damage to the foundation to justify pyrite removal work.
Because pyrite acts rapidly and continuously, foundation cracks can appear very quickly. Humidity causes the pyrite to swell, which will result in increased pressure on the foundation walls.