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Common Foundation Problems and How to Spot Them

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Foundation repair is one of the most expensive repairs you could have to make to your home; prices can easily hit thousands of dollars, depending on the damage. Catching a problem early may help solve the problem from becoming a bigger issue, saving you a lot of money.

What should you look for? What are common foundation problems? Keep reading to learn what you should look for and the signs of foundation problems.

Common Causes

What can cause foundation problems? Even though there are several types of foundations, the causes are all pretty similar.

The Soil

The soil volume under your foundation can change. If there is too much weight on the soil, it can cause the home to sink in areas where the soil consolidates more. Soil can also expand if it has materials that absorb water, which can also damage your foundation.

Tree Roots

Depending on where trees are located on your property, the roots can actually cause significant damage to your foundation. They add pressure to the foundation and take the water out of the soil. This is why tree roots can also cause cracks in sidewalks if they are too close.

Poor Drainage

If the soil and land under your home do not let water flow away, the water can pool around the foundation. The foundation can then weaken as it expands, and the concrete will deteriorate. Water damage can also occur if the foundation is not waterproofed.

Concrete is a porous material, so if it is not waterproofed, water will seep into the concrete and affect your adjacent basement interiors and wood structures.


When you add rooms or additional levels to your home, this will increase the load on your foundation. It may take it beyond its capacity. Even adding new openings like a skylight or stairwell requires reinforcement, which can stress the foundation later and cause additional foundation issues.

Material and Size

Homes built in the early 20th century have foundations made with large amounts of salty or dirty sand in the concrete. This has a higher water-to-cement ratio that makes the foundations even weaker than the ones made today. 

Other homes may have foundations that are too small for the home size, and may not meet the modern-day building codes. If this is the case, you may need an engineer to check the home foundation for an upgrade or possibly may warrant a new foundation if it’s too weak.

Signs of Foundation Problems

Now that we’ve gone over what can cause the problems, it’s time for you to know what to look for. Make sure to look for these warning signs. If you see any of them (or a combination), it’s time to contact a building contractor as soon as possible so the problem does not get any worse.

Sagging Floors or Ceilings

If you have warped ceilings or floors, these are warning signs of problems. When your home’s foundation moves, it can pull apart from the support beams and compacts walls. These shifts cause the home to sit unevenly in spots, which results in your sagging ceilings and floors.

If your floor is slanted, this is a telltale sign of a major issue. Use a level to monitor your home’s slope at various times. If you see the change move in one direction, it’s time to call a professional.

Cracks in the Walls

If you see large cracks that span the entire height of the wall (particularly in the basement), you will know there is an issue. Look above your windows and doorways as well because they run the junction of a ceiling and wall. Level cracks on the outside of your home, especially if they look like a zigzag or in the brick, you need your foundation checked.

Windows and Doors That Stick

If you have a window or door that starts to stick that previously didn’t, this could be a faulty foundation causing your walls to warp. If the doors or windows are crooked, this can mean something is wrong with your foundation. If the window frame or door starts to come out of the wall, call a professional immediately.


If you have a foundation crack, moisture can get in your home, causing further damage to the home’s structure and cause mold. If you see any persistent water in your home, a damp crawl space, increased humidity indoors, or strange smells in your basement, this can be signs of your foundation deteriorating. 

The moisture will also attract bugs like cockroaches, centipedes, and silverfish. If you see a lot of bugs or start seeing mold or wood decay, you may need some foundation repair.

Tilted or Cracked Chimney

A tilted chimney can happen from other localized things, but it can also mean there are issues in the foundation. A tilted chimney may indicate that the soil has settled, so this can mean you have other areas in your home affected as well.

Cracks in the Foundation

If you see hairline cracks between blocks, those are cracks you don’t have to worry about as much. Look for ones that are wider than a quarter-inch in the foundation. These can be serious.

Cracks in the Tile

There are many things that can cause the tile to crack. But if you see multiple cracks in various areas of your home, this could mean you have some foundation issues.

Call a Professional Today for Foundation Problems

Foundation problems are no joke. They can cost you a lot of money and can create serious problems in your home. If you see any of these signs of foundation problems, it’s best to contact a professional as soon as possible for an inspection. 

Contact us today for a free estimate.

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