Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Thursday, November 12th, 2020 by Amanda Waldmann
It’s pretty easy to tell when you have water problems in your basement or crawl space - it smells, it’s humid, and there may be literal inches of standing water. But how can you tell when something is wrong with your foundation? Cracked walls are one thing, but many foundation problems start at the slab underneath the basement floor, well below ground.
Luckily, there are some signs you can look for above ground - in the main living space of your house - that can alert you to problems below. Here are a few.
Sticking Doors and Windows
If you’ve noticed that you have to put a little extra effort in when you close a door or window, your foundation could be to blame. As the foundation sinks, it causes a chain reaction throughout the affected side of the house. As doors and window frames sink with the unsupported wall, they fall out of square and no longer open or close properly.
Similar to sinking walls following a sinking foundation, you may notice a new slant to your floor. This can be in one room on the affected side of the house or throughout the house, depending on how the foundation is sinking. It may have small effects, like kitchen drawers or cabinets falling open; or it may be something as obvious as an office chair constantly rolling across the room. Before you decide you have ghosts, look to your foundation.
We aren’t talking about your foundation here. If your foundation is sinking, you’ll start seeing wall cracks throughout your home - mostly at the corners of doors, windows, or archways. Similar to how doors and windows fall out of square, a sinking foundation will pull down the wall so that a diagonal crack forms at the separation point. Note that these cracks are different from the hairline vertical cracks that can form in the drywall of new construction homes as everything naturally settles.
This sounds vague, but that’s because it’s meant to be. If your house isn’t brand new and you notice any kind of gap that didn’t used to be there - between the baseboard and the floor, around windows and doors, around the chimney, even outside where your front porch meets your house - you may be dealing with a sinking foundation.
Foundation problems are scary, but they’re very fixable. Stay aware, stay informed, and call us at the first sign of trouble to schedule your free inspection.