Foundation problems inevitably worsen over time, so identifying them quickly is crucial for keeping repair costs and structural damage to a minimum. Below, we’ll share some tips on finding foundation issues early so that you can get them repaired before they become severe.
Don’t Neglect Your Foundation
Your home’s foundation is easy to ignore because it’s out of sight, so the best way to keep tabs on budding problems is to schedule a routine foundation inspection about once every three or four months.
If you have a slab foundation, check the concrete area that’s visible on the outside of your house for cracks, crumbling, and signs of ongoing settling. If you have a crawlspace, basement, or pier and beam foundation, head under your home to continue your inspection.
Keep an eye out for efflorescence, mold spores on the walls, water damage to building materials, water pooling on the ground, wet spots on the concrete, moist air, musty odors, and signs of pest infestation.
Additionally, we recommend keeping a detailed log of the location, width, and length of every crack you can find in your under-home space. Compare your notes between inspections to identify gaps that are growing, widening, or newly developing. Contact a foundation repair contractor immediately for a foundation evaluation if you find horizontal, stair-step, or uneven floor cracks.
Inspect Your Home’s Interior
Next, head up to your living space and look for interior signs of foundation problems. These include drywall cracks around doors and windows, nails popping out of the sheetrock, bulging walls, cabinets or countertops separating from the walls in your kitchen and bathrooms, and doors and windows becoming challenging to open and close.
You can also look for buckling, sagging, or sloping flooring on your upper levels, as these can signify that dangerous foundation movement is warping your floor joists.
Lastly, pay attention to extreme temperatures and abnormally high utility bills that you may have missed in your daily routine, as these can identify moisture issues under your home.
Inspect Your Home’s Exterior
You can complete your inspection outside, where you’ll look for damage to your stucco, brick, or stone siding or facades. These signs, along with a leaning chimney or sagging roofing, can confirm that your foundation is settling or moving abnormally, likely because of the expansive Dallas soil.
Your landscaping can help you identify if you have an issue with swelling or settling ground. Leaning retaining walls, an uneven yard, cracked dirt during dry periods, and puddling on the grass following rainfall all point to inadequate drainage on your property, which can contribute to severe structural damage to your foundation.