Your home is the most costly investment you will ever make. Therefore, it is important to protect your house. It’s essential to know how to spot the common foundation problems found in commercial buildings and houses in the United States. Foundation problems can arise from concrete slabs, pier or beam foundations, and may require foundation repair. Basements can also be severely damaged by foundation issues.
Many things can cause foundation damage, including poor drainage, soil compaction, weather, and plumbing leaks. We have compiled a list to help you determine if foundation damage is possible.
Some properties in the United States are negatively affected by ice or snow. Subtropical properties often experience complications from excessive heat (over 90-100°F), rain, extreme flooding (4-5′ in a short time), and droughts. Foundation problems in commercial and residential buildings, as well as apartment blocks, can be addressed quickly.
It is a good idea to call a foundation contractor if you are concerned about foundation damage. They will inspect your foundation, whether it is a concrete slab and pier foundations or a basement. A professional with experience should be able to pinpoint the problem and prevent it from getting worse.
Remember that the first step to finding the best solution is to identify the source of the problem. Sometimes, contractors may recommend hiring a structural engineering team to assess your foundation and prepare an engineer’s report. The cost of this service is generally between $350-$500 to build a house and $500-$750 for apartment buildings and commercial buildings. The prices are the same across all US cities. The truth is that the more expensive a structure is, the lower its cost. A report from a structural engineer may be helpful, depending on the extent of the damage.
You can avoid costly foundation repairs by learning to identify the signs of foundation problems. Foundation problems are common and can be expensive to repair. Foundation repair costs for slab, pier, and beam foundations typically range between $4,000 and $8500 for an average-sized home. However, prices can go up if there is extensive damage to your property or if you have a large structure like an apartment complex, church building, school, warehouse, or commercial property.
Please note that this is a shortlist of common signs that foundation problems can occur. Many other conditions could indicate signs of foundation issues. This information is helpful for anyone who has a commercial property that requires foundation repair or service.
These are the 8 most common signs of house foundation problems:
1. Foundation Cracks, Wall/Floor cracks, and other types of Fractures
You may have noticed cracks in your foundation, brick exterior, or walls of your commercial property or house. This could be a sign that your foundation is not working properly. Problems can also include floor cracks, wall fissures, and a cracked chimney. Foundation movement can happen over time due to many conditions. Your foundation may shift, and gaps can become a severe problem. Problems can be caused by both expanding and contracting soils as well as inclement weather.
Although it is normal for foundations to sink and develop small cracks within the first two years of construction (hairline fissures of 1/16″) Horizontal cracks in brick exteriors, concrete block walls, or basement walls could indicate that there may have been more than a fair amount of settling. A 1/4 inch gap could be cause for concern. These fractures can be more severe than vertical cracks, as they could indicate that your house’s foundation is under too much pressure. Vertical cracks are not usually a sign of trouble, as dry walls also run in the same direction.
Modest foundation cracks and wall cracks typically measure 5-15mm in height, which corresponds to a width between .2″ and .6″. Cracks that are more severe than 15mm (.6″) are considered to be more serious. Horizontal cracks may indicate that your foundation is experiencing hydrostatic pressure. Some foundation cracks can grow up to 1-2 inches wide. These cracks can be weakened by insects and water.
An angular crack in the foundation can result from brick coming into contact with slab foundation. These fractures can be anywhere from 10 to 15 inches in length. Brick expands and pushes the edges outward. This is usually not a cause for concern and is not often a sign that there is a problem with the foundation.
Stair-step cracks in brick exteriors are another type of fracture that deserves closer inspection. These cracks are usually found near the corners of exteriors, and they run up and down. This could be due to the way your home was built or because builders didn’t anticipate the bricks growing over time. Cracked bricks in older homes could indicate a foundation problem.
Fractures can be a sign of trouble, but don’t assume that your foundation has been damaged. Keep in mind that cracks can be cosmetic and not cause for concern.
2. Foundation Setting or Sinking
Have your home or other structure checked if it seems to be sinking or has settlement problems. This is because settlement is an ordinary sign that your foundation problem may be. You may notice a difference in the height of one side of your home or that your commercial building’s center is sinking. Your foundation might need to be lifted, and you may require interior or exterior foundation pilings. They are installed around your foundation to raise it or in your interior. Many property owners with concrete slab foundations know that installing interior foundation piers can cause cracks in the concrete slab, which can lead to a lot of problems.
Foundation settlement causes mostly vertical gaps. When inspecting your foundation, it is important to remember this: A small dip of 1/2 inch in one corner of your house could quickly become a major problem. If left unattended, a foundation can sink into the ground 2″-4″. Extremely severe is anything less than 1-1/2″.Your foundation problem will only get worse the longer you ignore it. You should also know that extensive settlement can lead to safety problems. You can prevent foundation failure by calling a foundation contractor as soon as you notice any problems. This will minimize the risk and reduce your risks.
Over time, foundations will settle in other areas. Although homeowners may notice one side of their house sinking first, other sides of the foundation will eventually begin to move downwards. Your foundation will then become more uneven. Although the house’s load-bearing weight is the same on all sides, the foundation’s differential moisture content can differ. This is why foundations settle differently from each other. This is often called “differential movement” by contractors. Once it occurs, structural changes can be made. You’ll soon notice strange problems, such as cracking around your house. Foundation settlement causes cracks that are usually vertical. Foundation repair services can resolve this problem.
Foundation movement can cause settling. It will impact commercial buildings and houses differently depending on the type of foundation and how it was built. Foundation movement does not affect slab foundations in the same way as pier or beam foundations. Houses with basements are an entirely different story. No matter what foundation type you have, how stable the soil on which it was built can impact its stability.
Some builders use poor construction techniques, and some have been known to build foundations on soil that is not well compacted. When the foundation of a house, apartment, or business center is too heavy, it can cause problems. A soil engineer may be able to conduct a soil analysis and ensure that the soil has been properly compacted before you start building your new home.
Remember that even a single vertical crack could indicate that your foundation is moving upwards. If your foundation suddenly starts to sink or settle, it could be a sign that your house was built on a sinkhole. Although it is rare, this can happen from time to time. It needs immediate attention.
3. Foundation Upheaval
Foundation upheaval is when your slab foundation moves in an upward direction. This is one indicator that foundation problems are occurring and could indicate that your structure is experiencing “foundation settling.” Although heaving is most common in concrete slab foundations’ perimeter, it can also affect your home’s interior, including hallways and doorways. The walls of the garage are almost always raised.
Foundation upheaval can occur in slab foundations for many reasons, including soil expansion and contraction, excess moisture from rain, under-slab plumbing leaks, and frost heave. Clay soils are more susceptible to moisture, as clay soils expand and gain volume when wet.
The #1 cause of foundation instability is moisture. A lot of moisture can be trapped beneath slab foundations due to heavy rains and plumbing problems caused by under-slab plumbing leaks. Your water loss could reach 10-50 gallons per day or more. If you suspect this, check your water bill. It becomes heavier when the soil is wet. It can make your foundation move upwards due to the weight of the soil. This is when homeowners notice doors sticking and steel columns moving upwards. You may need slab foundation repair.
Frost heave is a common cause of foundation problems. This is because water freezes at temperatures below 32 degrees, and its volume increases by 9% when frozen. Foundation movement can occur when this happens. Slab foundation cracks can easily be seen if the foundation shifts.
Slab foundations can move a lot, and they are often forced upwards by as high as 1-1/2″-2.1/2″. It takes far less movement to cause severe damage to all types of foundations, including commercial buildings, houses, apartments, shopping centers, schools, and other structures.
4. Doors that stick or don’t open properly and close properly
Your foundation may be causing your doors to stick. Interior doors that are damaged tend to stick to the top. Exterior doors with foundation problems are more likely to drag at the threshold or hang down at their tops and look uneven. The top left side may be higher than its top right. The difference could be as small as 1/4″ but can quickly grow to 1/2″ or more. French doors and other types of double doors might not fit properly or meet in the middle. This problem can affect any kind of slab, pier, or beam foundation, no matter if it is on a commercial building or a home. This problem can affect any property.
Humidity can cause doors to stick or not open or close properly. This happens most often after severe flooding or heavy rains. Foundation cracks and other types of fractures around your commercial property or home can also be signs of foundation settling. Contact a contractor immediately if foundation damage is evident. Foundation failure could be a possibility.
A professional should evaluate your foundation to determine if water leaks may be a problem. A good contractor can help you find one if you aren’t sure who to call. This test will determine if there are any leaks in your foundation and, if so, where. The problem could be caused by drought conditions or excessive heat. Many parts of the United States have temperatures that range from 20 to well over 100 degrees. Sometimes, heat can exceed 120.
Until the problem is fully examined, there is no way to know what it is. A foundation evaluation takes about 45 minutes to an hour and is very quick. It’s best to have everything checked. A foundation contractor with experience should be able to tell you more about your property and the signs that it is in trouble.
5. Gaps around Exterior Doors or Window Frames
Many homeowners notice cracks around their exterior windows frames and around their doors. Sometimes, they may see that their doors do not latch. This could indicate a foundation problem.
Double doors can become difficult to close when they don’t align correctly. In addition, door frames can become crooked, preventing all types of doors from operating correctly. You can inspect your home or property for signs of this problem.
6. Sagging Or Uneven Floors
You may notice that your floors appear out of alignment or to be bowing, sagging, or dipping. Floors can sag or squeak when foundation problems affect beam and pier foundations. Concrete slabs can cause floors to be uneven or not level. Concrete slab foundations are placed directly on the ground, whereas pier or beam foundations are not. This means that they can be affected differently. Both may have flooring problems, but the signs of damage are different.
Sagging floors can be dangerous for people with disabilities or small children. Floors that appear unevenly level at first may look like they are. However, over time, this can become a problem. You should have your foundation repaired as soon as you can to avoid such hazards.
7. A Damp Crawl Space in A Pier and Beam House
A crawl space with heavy moisture can indicate foundation problems or imminent development. Therefore, it is important to identify the cause of moisture in your crawl space and take steps to reduce it.
Keep in mind that moisture can attract insects and cause wood beams to rot beneath your home or building. You may notice a musty, foul-smelling odor in damp crawl spaces. A wet crawl space can lead to mold and mildew.
It is important to have a foundation drainage system if you live near flooding or where it rains often. A French drain or a surface drain can be installed to redirect smaller amounts of water from below your house. Even if the water is less than 1/8 inch deep, standing water can cause foundation damage and expensive repairs. It’s possible to have a problem if there is any moisture. You should look out for signs you might have problems with.
A polyethylene vapor barrier can be installed in your crawl space if you notice a lot of moisture. This barrier stops water from evaporating and makes the crawl space damp.
8. Separate Counters and Cabinets
Have you ever noticed that your countertops and kitchen cabinets seem to be pulling away from the wall or tilting? It may appear that they have moved slightly at first, but then it becomes 1/8″. Soon, the cabinets and countertops will appear to be at least 1/2″ away from the wall. This is a sign that you have major problems.
This is a sign that foundation damage has occurred. Cabinets and many other items in your home that aren’t on the same level as walls will also become unlevel if they don’t meet the required level. You may feel that things are not hanging properly or sloping. It’s possible that something is causing your foundation to be uneven.
What to do if you see things that indicate foundation issues:
You should investigate unusual situations if you notice them. First, contact a foundation contractor to conduct a thorough inspection of your home or other structures. These inspections are usually free. Many times, property owners find that there is nothing to be concerned about.
What if a contractor determines that repairs are necessary?
If the contractor finds foundation damage, they will provide an estimate to repair your crack concrete slab, sinking beam foundation, or problematic basement. You should receive this estimate in writing. If you are considering hiring a contractor to repair your foundation, make sure they offer a warranty. Ask if the warranty is transferable for a lifetime.
The contractor will restore your foundation to its original position. This is also known as “house leveling” and “foundation leveling.” The contractor will lift your commercial property or house to make repairs. They will then install structural supports called foundation piers or foundation pilings underneath them. Once the job is done, your foundation will be placed on top of these pilings.
You can use many types of foundation piers, but most contractors prefer to install steel piers or pressed concrete. These piers are round and approximately 10-11 inches long. Both are very reliable and can strengthen your foundation. Steel foundation piers are more expensive than concrete pilings and can be installed more profound in the soil. They are often pushed up to 35 feet into the ground, but they can go further.
Contractors usually install concrete piers until they reach what is commonly referred to as the “point of refusal.” This means that foundation piers are driven down into the ground using a hydraulic jack as far as possible.
Realizing that your commercial or residential building is a significant investment, it is important to take steps to protect it and, if necessary, to have it repaired. Take some time to inspect your structure.
The SANI-TRED waterproofing system can be used to waterproof and repair foundations and basements.