No one knows your house like you do. If you think something may be amiss with your foundation, it probably is, especially if you’re seeing signs like wavy floors, cracks in walls, sticking doors, and weird smells. No matter what sign rears its ugly head first, you need to address it right away to minimize further damage. Here are the most common signs of foundation damage in Olympia.
Odors and Humidity
It’s easy to overlook a weird smell coming from the basement or under the sink, but it could be a sign of some major damage occurring. Odd odors can mean there is stagnant water pooled somewhere slowly eating away at your foundation. Unusual humidity is another sign to look out for. Your basement should only feel extra humid before or after a good rain. If it seems to be that way a lot when the weather is dry, you may have a problem.
Cracks or Bows in Walls
An unstable foundation can’t support a wall properly. Without the proper support, walls bow, crack, ripple, and splinter. An air pocket, settling or upheaving soil, and excess moisture can all cause changes in a wall’s appearance and structure.
When your floor begins heaving, it feels like something out of an old horror movie. One day everything is normal, and the next there’s a large mound forming in the middle of the kitchen floor. Too much water has seeped into the soil. The excess mass from so much water causes the soil to swell and heave the foundation upward.
Sticking Doors and Window Gaps
When the soil under the foundation settles or swells, it isn’t unusual to find doors are sticking or don’t close properly. You might also find windows have a gap when they didn’t before. Doors will stick due to humidity immediately before and after a big storm. If it hasn’t been storming, it’s probably a sign that the foundation is settling, especially if you’ve noticed other signs around the house like weird odors or cracking walls.
Space Between Wall and Cabinet
A small space between the wall and the kitchen cabinets might not catch your eye right away. It seems harmless, but it gets worse fast when the problem is in the foundation. Before long, there’s a 1/8″ or 1/2″ gap. When the foundation is no longer level, neither are the walls and cabinets.
As a foundation begins to settle, the chimney goes along with it. As one side of the foundation settles into the ground, the chimney doesn’t have the same reinforcement beneath it and will start to lean, sometimes even separating completely from the structure. It’s not always apparent at first, but as soon as you notice it, do something about it. A tilting chimney can topple faster than most people realize.
A wet crawlspace is an obvious signal that there is water seeping in somewhere. The most common areas for leaks are around the walls or through faults in the foundation. Humidity can account for some moisture in a crawlspace, but it should not be wet. Any puddles are a clear sign that the foundation is in trouble.