Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Monday, June 10th, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
We often discuss ways to tell if your home’s foundation is settling, but what about the foundation of the peripherals? Front porches (we’re talking about covered, expansive porches here, not just the top step into the house) and chimneys have their own footers that can fall victim to the same problems that cause a home’s foundation to settle. Here’s what to look for.
Your chimney pulls away
Does your chimney look like Santa’s been down it a few too many times? When a chimney begins to tilt and pull away from the house, it’s a sign that it doesn’t have the needed support to stay upright. It’s possible that this could indicate a building defect - like a lateral support was missed during construction - but it can also indicate soil washout. The same way your home settles when soil beneath the footer washes out, a chimney will settle and tilt.
Your siding changes color
If the paint or siding on your home is suddenly discolored around the floor of the porch, it could mean your porch is sinking and exposing previously covered walls. Paint may look lighter, darker, or just cleaner.
Gaps or cracks between bricks
Similar to how a block wall can fall out of line when it settles, the bricks in a chimney are affected by the leaning that comes with settlement. If you notice a stairstep crack between bricks or gaps in the mortar, it could be a sign of uneven pressure.
A big step up
If it feels like that step into your house from the porch is getting higher and higher, it might not be that you’re out of shape. When the slab beneath a porch settles, the porch goes with it and the house stays put. That means that the distance between the porch and front door gets increasingly longer. Who needs to pay for a stairmaster when you could just hoist yourself through the front door every day?
Our helical piers can be used to stabilize porches and chimneys the same way they're trusted to stabilize homes. Excavation is usually far less than excavating to the footer of a home, which means it's an even less invasive process. Unline building a new chimney or porch, which can put large parts of your yard out of commission for weeks and involve extensive uprooting of landscaping. Our excavation equipment will leave your yard largely untouched outside of the immediate work zone and projects can be done in a couple of days.
Issues with your chimney or porch can be isolated to their slabs, but they could also indicate a problem with the whole house. When sinking is due to soil washout it’s likely to affect the house as well (since it’s the same soil). Regardless, if you notice any of the above signs, call to schedule your free inspection for peace of mind and a solution to what’s ailing your home.