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.

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/ window frame separation from brick

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 the 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 is 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 defect or failing foundation. Due to expansion joints, cracks are generated.

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.

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