Foundation Damage 101: The Basics For Homeowners

One of the most serious and costly issues that any homeowner can face is foundation damage. Unfortunately, many homeowners lack the understanding of foundation damage necessary to recognize its presence or its cause. Since this kind of damage can be a serious threat to your home's structural integrity, it's important that you understand it. Here's a look at some of the things that you need to know about foundation damage issues.

What Causes Foundation Damage?

Every homeowner should understand the things that are the most likely to cause foundation damage. Knowing these causes can help you recognize threats to your home's foundation and the potential need for repair before you're facing serious and costly problems.

Water is one of the biggest single causes of foundation damage. Whether it's caused by poor drainage in your soil and around your home, a natural disaster, or even a burst pipe, any kind of lingering water around your foundation can seep in and weaken its structural integrity. It can also cause soil erosion, which can cause your foundation to shift and settle.

Poor soil structure can also be problematic for your home's foundation. If you have particularly sandy soil beneath your foundation, that sandy soil can settle, shift, and erode. When that happens, your foundation will shift and settle as well. This can cause the foundation to crack since it doesn't flex.

Tree roots are another common culprit for foundation damage. Tree roots will push through most anything in their path, and as they tunnel through the soil, they create weak spots. They can also push on soil and put pressure against the outer walls of the foundation, weakening it.

What Are The Signs Of Foundation Damage?

Understanding what causes foundation damage is only the start. You also need to be able to recognize the signs of it so that you can seek foundation repair when it's needed. 

Any signs of water damage, whether it be water stains outside or mold and mildew odor inside your basement, should be signs that you need to talk with a foundation repair technician. Since water penetration can damage the foundation, you need to mitigate that threat and reinforce any areas that have been damaged.

Cracks along the foundation or on the interior walls of your home also indicate that you need foundation repair. Cracks in your walls are indications that the foundation has shifted. Those cracks happen because the house isn't flexible, so the structure fails. You may see cracks along the ceiling, in corners, or even along baseboards where the wall meets the floor.

If doors or windows that previously opened and closed easily now stick when you try to open or close them, that's another indication that your home may have suffered foundation damage. Rule out any kind of wood swelling from humidity and moisture first, but if you've seen other indications of foundation issues or have foundation damage threats present around your home, you should definitely reach out to a foundation repair technician as soon as possible.

Uneven floors may also indicate that there's a problem with your home's foundation. Whether your floor is heaving or sinking, either one is often the result of shifting or buckling in the foundation that has weakened the support for that floor.

When your home's foundation has been damaged, or if you even suspect that it has been damaged, you need to reach out to a foundation repair contractor right away. The sooner you address foundation damage or threats to your foundation, the less that foundation will deteriorate. Your foundation repair technician can patch cracks, reinforce the soil under the foundation, or jack the foundation up to help level it back out if necessary.