Warning Signs of Foundation Damage
The warning signs of foundation damage are usually very visible. A discussion of the most common warning signs and a few photos are below. However, as stated on the home page, in most cases a home’s structural integrity is probably NOT threatened. What is being observed is cosmetic damage and perhaps annoyances such as stuck windows and doors. The question is, “Does the homeowner want to see this cosmetic damage get worse over time or take action to stabilize and level the home’s concrete foundation?”
Exterior Warning Signs
The first noticeable sign on the outside of the home is usually brick cracks. There is usually a stair-step break in the mortar and/ or bricks but sometimes these cracks can be vertical or horizontal. This is confirmation that nature’s forces (soil movement) were stronger than the slab concrete foundation and a portion of it has broken or cracked. Cracks in the brick and mortar become more pronounced in the second story of two story houses.
The outside brick around the fireplace is also a common area of damage when the concrete slab has been broken. Look at corners and note any “bowing” of the bricks. Fireplace brick can also “pull away” from the main portion of the home. Windows are another common area of damage when the foundation moves. Check around the window frames for any gaps. Sometimes the soil movement is great enough to warp the window frame and break the glass, which is obvious to all. Exterior doors that do not open or close properly may be the result of foundation movement.
Interior Warning Signs
The most common interior warning signs of foundation damage are cracks in the walls or sheetrock. Often the crack will originate at the upper corner of an interior door or window and move upward at a diagonal angle.
Other sheetrock cracks can be vertical or horizontal and these cracks are very strong warning signs of undesired foundation movement. Cracks in floor tiles and interior doors that do not open or close properly are other interior warning signs.
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