A foundation that is settling means that your home is gradually sinking into the ground. Settling happens when the soil under the foundation begins to shift. This is most often due to gravity and happens over a long time. A settling foundation isn’t always something to worry about, but it can lead to problems, so it’s important to know the signs. Here are five signs that your foundation is settling.
When your floors begin to slant, this is a sign your foundation is settling. The soil underneath the foundation becomes uneven, which results in your home becoming uneven. This causes floors that used to be level to now slant. This may not be noticeable to begin with, but over time you may feel the difference as you walk or notice tables are no longer level. The slanting and shifting of floors can also lead to cracks in tiles.
Cracks in the Foundation
Foundation cracks can indicate a settling foundation. As the foundation begins to sink, so do parts of the foundation and this will lead to cracks in various areas. Foundation settlement is something that will happen to every home over the years, but cracks in the foundation can lead to other issues. They will allow moisture into the foundation, which will make it weaker. These cracks will get larger over time if not repaired.
Doors and Windows Get Stuck
As a foundation settles and becomes uneven, frames of doors and windows will become off-angle. When this happens, you’ll find it more difficult to open and close doors and windows. A door that once opened and closed smoothly and now sticks and scratch the floor can be a strong indicator of foundation settlement.
Water Pipes Burst
In more serious cases a settling foundation can cause the water pipes to become twisted or compressed. When this happens, the pipes have a high likelihood of bursting. Of course this is a more serious sign that your foundation is settling. This is unfortunately an expensive problem to fix. The pipes will need replacing, but the foundation itself will need to be lifted and stabilized to avoid the problem from occurring again anytime soon.
Leaning or Separating Chimney
If you notice the chimney is leaning or separating from the house, the foundation is probably settling. Chimneys are heavy, so if the soil and foundation aren’t able to hold it up securely, you’re going to see it. If the chimney is not connected to the rest of the home’s foundation, this can make it even more at risk of separating. As the soil shifts, it will take the chimney with it.
Foundation settling is a normal event. It is most often a natural event that happens over time due to gravity, but it can also be caused by errors during the construction process. If you’re noticing signs of your foundation settling, you might want to have it checked out by a professional before it comes to a more serious and expensive problem, such as burst water pipes.