How to Identify Common Signs of Foundation Problems in Houses or Commercial Buildings?

How to Identify Common Signs of Foundation Problems in Houses or Commercial Buildings?

How to Identify Common Signs of Foundation Problems in Houses or Commercial Buildings:

There are some common signs of foundation problems that a civil engineer can detect; those are-

1. Exterior Cracks

Exterior Cracks

Fine cracks on the bricks are not very problematic, but if the cracks are in major size and also have a zig-zag pattern, then it will be very problematic. It is a sign of the wrong foundation. Sometimes bricks in the structure are also cracked, so we also check those bricks very well.

2. Interior Sheetrock Cracks

Interior Sheetrock Cracks

Interior sheetrock crack is also very harmful when it is in a zig-zagging pattern and is found near the height of the wall. Wallpaper is removed from the wall if junction cracks are noticed.

Also Read: All About House Foundation Inspection Involves | What a House Foundation Inspection Involves | What Is Involved with the House Foundation Inspection Process

3. Doors Out of Square and Uneven Floors

Doors Out of Square and Uneven Floors

Doors are a very important component in any of the buildings, but sometimes cracks are found after the door frame installation. Sometimes uneven floors are a reason for cracking. Generally, the gradient of the floor is not more than 2 inches per 15 feet.

4. Door Frame/ Window Frame Separation from Brick

Door Frame

Sometimes, door and window frames pull those related brick structures, and it generates cracks.

5. Rotten Wood- Pier and Beams

Rotten Wood- Pier and Beams


Pier and beams are the most important load-bearing structure of any kind of building, so it bears the maximum load of the building. If we use rotten wood in those structures, then the humidity of the basement will increase, and there is more chance of attack by termites or carpenter ants. Rotten wood can not take so many heavy loads of the structure.

6. Bouncing floors- Rotten wood

Bouncing floors- Rotten wood

If we use rotten wood in floor structures, then sometimes floors become bouncy. So, it is a major sign of problems in the foundation.

7. Tile Cracks

Tile Cracks

Tiles are formed at high temperatures, and they are brittle in nature. If there are generating cracks, then there must be some foundation problem.

8. Expansion Joint Separation

Expansion Joint Separation

To compensate for the movement by shifting of the earth due to sliding, humidity, etc., expansion joints are provided. Expansion joints are found in a defective or failing foundation. Due to expansion joints, cracks are generated.

Also Read: All About House Foundation Repair | What Is Foundation Repair | Can a House Foundation Be Repaired | House Foundation Repair Techniques

9. Nails Pop Out of Drywall

Nails Pop Out of Drywall

Though it is a minor problem, nail pop-out from drywall is also a sign of a foundation problem.

10. Walls Pulling Away from the House

Walls Pulling Away from the House

It is also an important sign of the foundation problem. Here, the exterior wall pulls out from the house, and if we do not resist it, the wall will fall. So, these are the common signs of foundation problems in houses or commercial buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When to Worry About Foundation Problems?

Here are 10 warning signs of foundation problems:
  • Exterior Cracks.
  • Interior Sheetrock Cracks.
  • Doors Out of Square and Uneven Floors.
  • Door Frame/Window Frame Separation from Brick.
  • Rotten Wood – Pier & Beams.
  • Bouncing floors – Rotten Wood.
  • Tile Cracks.
  • Expansion Joint Seperation.

How to Check Foundation of House?

7 Steps to Inspect Your Foundation
  1. Walk Around the Exterior of Your Home.
  2. Look for Warped Floors or Ceilings.
  3. Examine Your Walls for Cracks, Leaning, and Bowing.
  4. Check Your Windows and Doors.
  5. Scan the Foundation.
  6. Look for Water Damage.
  7. Pay Attention to Your Chimney.

How Do You Check the Foundation of a House?

You can begin a foundation inspection by walking the exterior of your home. Check the foundation walls by sighting down from one end. Look for areas that bulge or lean which can indicate uneven load on the foundation. Both the foundation walls and home walls should be flush and level.

How Do Inspectors Check Foundation?

How is a foundation inspection done?
  1. We ask the homeowner to show us their areas of concern.
  2. We then visually inspect the entire house (inside and out), looking for any signs the foundation has moved.
  3. Finally, we write up a report that details any problems and their recommended repair solutions.

How to Check a House Foundation?

Check the foundation walls by sighting down from one end. Look for areas that bulge or lean which can indicate uneven load on the foundation. Both the foundation walls and home walls should be flush and level. Also look for any potential water damage or cracks in concrete.

Foundation Problems Vs Settling?

The Difference Between Foundational Settling and Problems

With soil expansion and contraction, it is normal for a part of a building to move a few inches. A foundation problem, on the other hand, is a more serious matter and should be monitored with extreme caution.

Signs of Foundation Issues

Top 6 Signs of Foundation Problems
  • Diagonal Cracks on Interior Walls.
  • Exterior Stair Step Brick Cracks.
  • Doors Sticking or Not Latching.
  • Gapping or Separation of Exterior Trim.
  • Movement of Wood Trim/Built-Ins.
  • Evidence of Movement on Other Inside Fixtures.

Early Signs of Foundation Problems

Common Signs of Foundation Problems
  • Bowing basement walls: A significant sign of a foundation problem includes the bowing of basement walls.
  • Leaks or dampness in the basement: Poor exterior drainage or water damage from a flooded basement can cause weakness in the foundation.

Settling Vs Foundation Issues

Most of us probably mean something similar; we equate “settling” with minor shifts of our home. These shifts occur as the soil under the house adjusts to accommodate the building’s weight and the ever-changing weather conditions. But in truth, a settling foundation IS a foundation problem- when it moves too much.

Signs of Foundation Problems Texas

Here are a few of the most obvious warning signs:
  • Cracks. Cracks are the most obvious and commonly known indication of foundation issues.
  • Jammed doors and windows.
  • Sloping floors.
  • Nail heads protruding from the walls.
  • Separation around garage door, windows, and/or walls.
  • Drainage.
  • Plumbing leaks.

Signs of Water Damage to Foundation

You need to watch out for the following signs.
  • Moisture or Dampness.
  • Mold or Mildew.
  • Foundation Cracks.
  • Wall Discoloration.
  • Pungent or Musty Smell.
  • Keep Water Away from Your Foundation.
  • Control flooding: Install a sump pump to get rid of stagnant water from your basement or crawl space.

Signs of House Settling

Evidence that a home may be having settlement include:
  • Foundation appears to have dropped down or sunk.
  • Top of foundation not level.
  • Cracks in the foundation.
  • Basement walls cracked, leaning or bowed.
  • Roof sags, wavy or has a hump.
  • Cracks in drywall or plaster; cracks in stucco, block or brick siding.

Signs of Foundation Problems in Houses

  • Exterior Wall Cracks.
  • Interior Wall Cracks.
  • Bouncing Floors.
  • Cabinets or Counters Separated From Walls.
  • Mildew Smell.
  • Warped or Cracked Siding.
  • Sinking Ground.
  • Sticking Doors.

Foundation Repair Cost for Common Problems

Overall, the cost of foundation repair tends to be between $2,000 and $7,500, with a national average of $4,500. You may be able to have very small cracks filled with epoxy for a few hundred dollars, but severe foundation problems can run you up to $15,000 to $25,000.

Diy Solutions for Minor Foundation Problems

While minor foundation problems may require professional attention for a proper and long-lasting fix, there are a few DIY solutions you can try to mitigate the issue temporarily. Keep in mind that these solutions are not substitutes for professional repairs, especially if the problem persists or worsens. It is always recommended to consult with a foundation specialist or structural engineer for an accurate assessment and appropriate repairs. Nevertheless, here are some DIY measures you can consider:

  • Monitor and document: Keep a close eye on the foundation issue to track any changes or progression. Take measurements and photographs regularly to document the problem.
  • Ensure proper drainage: Improper water drainage is a common cause of foundation problems. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning correctly. Direct water away from the foundation by extending downspouts or adding splash blocks.
  • Fill minor cracks: If you notice small cracks in your foundation, you can fill them temporarily with hydraulic cement or a specialized crack filler. Follow the product instructions carefully and wear protective gear when applying these materials.
  • Improve soil moisture: Soil moisture fluctuations can impact the foundation. Keep the soil around your foundation moist but not overly saturated. Regularly water the soil during dry periods, and avoid excessive watering near the foundation.
  • Maintain consistent humidity: Extreme changes in humidity levels can cause soil shrinkage or expansion, affecting the foundation. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home and consider using a humidifier during dry seasons to maintain a consistent humidity level.
  • Correct minor grading issues: If you notice areas where the ground slopes toward the foundation, you can try to regrade those areas slightly. Use compacted soil or a mix of soil and sand to create a gentle slope away from the foundation.
  • Address plumbing leaks: Leaking pipes near the foundation can contribute to moisture problems. Inspect your plumbing system for any leaks and repair them promptly.

Foundation Problems in Old Homes: Causes and Remedies

Old homes are more susceptible to foundation problems due to factors such as age, construction techniques, and natural wear and tear. Understanding the causes of foundation problems in old homes can help you identify the issues and implement appropriate remedies. Here are some common causes and potential remedies for foundation problems in old homes:

Settling: Over time, the soil beneath a foundation can settle, leading to uneven foundation movement. This can occur due to poor soil compaction during construction or changes in moisture levels. Remedies include:

  • Adding supportive piers or underpinning to stabilize the foundation.
  • Injecting polyurethane foam to fill voids and lift settled areas.
  • Installing helical or push piers to support and level the foundation.
  • Moisture-related issues: Moisture fluctuations can significantly impact older foundations. Common causes include:
  • Poor drainage: Ensure proper gutter and downspout maintenance to direct water away from the foundation.
  • Improper grading: Correct any grading issues to prevent water from pooling near the foundation.
  • Plumbing leaks: Repair any leaking pipes to avoid excessive moisture accumulation.
  • Inadequate moisture control: Use dehumidifiers, proper ventilation, and moisture barriers to maintain a consistent moisture level in the
  • basement or crawl space.
  • Expansive soils: Some areas have expansive soils that shrink and swell with changes in moisture content. This can exert pressure on the
  • foundation, leading to cracks and movement. Remedies include:
  • Installing a deep foundation system to reach stable soil layers.
  • Implementing a foundation watering program during dry periods to maintain consistent soil moisture.
  • Using root barriers to prevent tree roots from extracting excessive moisture from the soil.
  • Aging and deterioration: As homes age, the materials used in their construction can deteriorate, affecting the foundation’s stability.
  • Remedies include:
  • Repairing or replacing damaged or deteriorated foundation materials, such as concrete or masonry.
  • Reinforcing the foundation with steel beams or carbon fiber strips.
  • Applying sealants or coatings to protect the foundation from moisture intrusion.
  • Structural issues: Old homes may have outdated or inadequate structural designs that contribute to foundation problems. Remedies include:

Consulting with a structural engineer to assess the foundation and recommend appropriate repairs or reinforcements.
Implementing structural modifications, such as adding support beams or braces, to enhance the foundation’s stability.

Choosing the Right Foundation Repair Company

Choosing the right foundation repair company is essential to ensure that the repairs are done correctly and effectively. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a foundation repair company:

  • Reputation and experience: Look for a company with a solid reputation and extensive experience in the foundation repair industry. Read online reviews, check their website for testimonials, and ask for references from past clients. A company with a proven track record is more likely to deliver quality workmanship.
  • Licensing and certifications: Ensure that the company holds the necessary licenses and certifications required by your local or state authorities. This ensures that they meet the required standards and have the necessary expertise to perform foundation repairs.
  • Insurance coverage: Verify that the company has proper liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage. This protects you from any potential liability in case of accidents or damages that may occur during the repair process.
  • Free evaluation and written estimates: Reputable companies typically offer a free evaluation of your foundation and provide a detailed, written estimate of the repair costs. Avoid companies that charge for assessments or provide vague or verbal estimates.
  • Range of services: Check if the company offers a comprehensive range of foundation repair services to address different types of foundation issues. This demonstrates their expertise and ability to handle various repair methods and techniques.
  • Warranty: Inquire about the warranty provided by the company for their repair work. A reputable company should stand behind their services and offer a warranty that covers defects or future problems related to the repair work.
  • Professionalism and communication: Pay attention to the company’s professionalism and how they communicate with you. They should be responsive, provide clear explanations of the repair process, and address any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Multiple quotes: Obtain multiple quotes from different foundation repair companies to compare their services, costs, and proposed solutions. However, keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best. Consider the reputation, expertise, and overall value provided by each company.
  • Local expertise: Hiring a local foundation repair company familiar with the specific soil and climate conditions in your area can be advantageous. They are more likely to understand the local factors that contribute to foundation problems and recommend suitable repair solutions.
  • Trust your instincts: Lastly, trust your instincts when choosing a foundation repair company. If something feels off or you have doubts about their credibility, it’s better to explore other options.

What to Do If Your Foundation Is Leaking?

A surefire way to eliminate any foundation leaks is by waterproofing your basement walls. Waterproofing materials fill pores in the walls to stop water from leaking in. Because this is a complex job, hire a professional as they know the procedure, and have the right materials.

What to Do If Your Basement Wall Is Leaking?

  • Add Gutter Extensions.
  • Plug Gaps.
  • Restore the Crown.
  • Reshape the Landscape.
  • Repair Footing Drains.
  • Install a Curtain Drain.
  • Pump the Water.
  • Waterproof the Walls.

When to Worry About Foundation Problems?

When it comes to foundation issues, what you should look for is gaps between planks, growing cracks along exterior walls and space between the siding and window or door frames. These gaps and cracks can also invite in more moisture or pests, which can compound your issues.

When to Walk Away from Foundation Issues?

You should walk away from foundation issues if the person selling the house refuses to lower the asking price to compensate for the necessary repairs. That means you’ll need to have already had the home inspected by either a foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer.

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