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01/20/2021

5 Signs of Foundation Issues

Foundation problems instigate a plethora of cosmetic and structural issues - many of which manifest with physical symptoms and/or signs. 

Living with an uneven foundation can prove quite the headache.

If you feel like you live in a haunted house with insidious creaks and groans echoing through the halls late at night, and drywall cracks reemerging months after being plastered over - your foundation might need some help. 

 

1. CRACKS  

Cracks are one of the most noticeable indicators that there might be an issue with your foundation. You can get cracks in your drywall, stucco, concrete slab, tile, chimneys, and more.  

Drywall 

One of the primary signs of foundation damage is stair-step cracks in your drywall. These aren’t hairline cracks - they’re big (we’re talking pink-tux-to-a-funeral noticeable). 

The fissures are often recurring and continue to grow. These cracks typically emanate from door frames and window frames. While it might be easy to grab a putty knife and slap some plaster over them, this is more of a cosmetic fix and does nothing to address the root of the issue.

Two other things to watch out for are when wallpaper pulls away from drywall and sheering (when paint stretches in the corners due to structural damage).  

Stucco 

Here in Southern California, many homes are made with stucco siding due to the 1920’s stucco craze. Foundation issues can also crack its knuckles into your stucco. 

Again, the primary locations to look at are around windows and door frames. While stucco cracks can be an indicator there is a problem with your foundation, it is important to note that stucco can also crack due to age, weather exposure, seismic events, and the quality of the stucco application. 

Concrete Slabs 

We’ve all heard the expression, out of sight, out of mind. 

Well, that applies especially to concrete slabs that fracture under the pressure of foundation settlement. Cracks hide underneath carpet, carpet padding, and the seams of tile grout. 

It's also important to note the Top 5 Characteristics of Concrete Cracks .  

Tile 

Foundation issues can also crack tile in your bathroom/kitchen floors, countertops, and backsplashes, causing an embarrassing eyesore for visiting friends and family.

Before you sink your savings on a home remodel, make sure you address any underlying foundation issues first. 

Chimneys 

While it might be easy and even magical to blame your cracked chimney on Santa’s weight-gain last Holiday season, it’s more realistic to consider you have foundational problems.

Leaning or pulling away chimneys are a good indicator you have a big problem right beneath your feet. 

 

2. LEANING KITCHEN CABINETS 

Speaking of kitchens, kitchen cabinets pulling away from the walls and ceiling are indicative of foundation problems. 

No one enjoys putting away dishes and worrying one day they will open the cupboard and have a surprise glass shower. This particular sign is harder to pinpoint as it requires a ladder to check the top of the cabinets.   

 

3. SLOPING FLOORS 

Bowed floors are a major indicator that you have foundational woes. Uneven sloped floors can make you feel like you’re living in a perpetual state of vertigo (you might even feel like you’re on a scene from The Titanic). 

While it might be fun for your kids to use Heely’s in the house, uneven floors do pose a falling hazard, especially for older adults. If you’re not sure if you have sloped floors and you believe in imperial evidence, place a marble on the floor and watch where it rolls. 

If it stands still - no issues, but if it rolls like a miniature boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark: you’ve got a problem, Indy. We don’t suggest using a level (unless you have a monstrous six-foot level). 

Here at Dalinghaus Construction, we have the right tools for the job. We use a Ziplevel altimeter to quickly and accurately measure elevation changes. The industry standard for floor gradient is half an inch per ten feet. 

Sloping floors can also cause baseboards to jam up against one another so that they look like Tennessee Teeth.

Also, if you feel like there’s an extra pep to your step, foundation problems can make you feel like you’re walking across a trampoline.

 

4. STICKY DOORS/WINDOWS 

Doors that stick or don’t close correctly are a sure sign of foundation problems. A sticky door is one that is difficult to open and close. 

You shouldn’t need the raw strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger to open your own front door. Gaps can also appear between your door and doorframe, leaving you little privacy for bedrooms. 

Before shaving down your door, consider that underlying foundation issues might be at play. The framing around doors and windows becomes out of square and can result in these gaps at the top and bottom of the frame.    

 

5. MOLD 

Mold isn’t necessarily a sign that there is a foundation issue, but mold is definitely a signal that there is extra moisture present. This extra moisture may be caused by foundation issues. Mold in your home can pose a serious threat to your health. 

 

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 

Whether you have sticky doors or funhouse floors, the good news is: it doesn’t have to last forever. There is help.

Find a specialist to come out and inspect your foundation. Here is a link to a list of the Best Foundation Specialists in Southern California

A specialist can determine if your foundation needs immediate attention and the best course of action moving forward.

To learn more about booking an appointment with a Dalinghaus Construction Specialist, click the link below -

schedule free foundation evaluation

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