How To Know When Foundation Settling Is A Problem
As your home ages, it’s natural for the building to settle with the expansion and contraction of the soil beneath it. Along with the downward force of gravity, some movement will occur.
But, how do you know if the foundation settling is a problem?
Along with some telltale signs, that’s where the experts can help. Call Engineered Floors & Foundations to help. We’ll provide a free consultation and help you make some informed decisions about the next right steps.
What Causes Your Foundation To Settle?
The two biggest factors in a house or building settling are time and the weather believe it or not.
Most people can wrap their heads around the issue of time causing shifts. Everything has a lifespan and buildings are no different, but most people raise an eyebrow about the weather being a cause.
Think about it. Your home is built on the soil beneath it and obviously, there are different types of soils depending upon where you live. Around Atlanta, we have a soil composition that’s high in clay (good old “Georgia red clay”). Different types of soil expand at different rates depending upon the climate. We all learned in science class that soil expands and contracts with the amount of rain and water that the soil has.
During a drought, the clay soil will retract and during a rainy season, the soil will expand. If a house is built during a drought, as the soil expands, it’s not unusual to see substantial settlement especially if it’s less than five years old. Depending on the cycle of droughts and rain, the soil may expand and retract dramatically which can speed up the process of settling.
Again, every home settles over time. A few inches of settlement here and there is nothing to worry about and quality construction should hold up nicely during these conditions.
Types Of Foundation Problems
When your home or building experiences shifts and settling, it’s important to understand what’s natural and what represents a more serious issue. Here are the typical types of foundational issues we see around Atlanta:
You may not know this, but as the concrete hardens it actually shrinks. This is a normal part of the curation process for concrete where it loses water. There are times when you can see evidence of shrinkage in the gaps between the foundation wall and the slab.
There are a variety of reasons for this type of issue including the way the concrete was mixed, the humidity and temperature at the time of pouring, sun exposure, etc. Shrinkage can even occur in the middle of the wall depending upon how it was built.
While the value of an all brick home is never questioned, most people don’t know that all brick expands which means that any foundation that uses brick will expand as well. It’s a common issue.
The amount of expansion depends upon whether the bricks used are above or below ground. Brick walls beneath the ground can grow due to the moisture in the ground. We’ve seen this more in colder climates. Bricks above the ground can grow even more.
When Do I Worry About Foundation Problems?
For a homeowner, finding cracks in the walls or foundations can be alarming, to say the least. There are certainly times when these cracks are just the home settling and nothing to be concerned about while other cracks and issues indicate structural damage. That’s certainly something to be concerned about.
While you can always give us a call to talk about what you’re seeing, here are some signs that you definitely need to contact us about.
Internal Wall Cracks
If you see deep, obvious cracks that run in roughly a 45 degree angle, it’s a sign that your foundation has shifted so much that the sheetrock is being damaged. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Walls & Doors Sticking
If you find it difficult to open certain doors or window- especially on one side of the house, it can mean that frames have shifted out of balance. This can be an indication of a structural problem.
Roof Or Chimney Issues
When you have problems with your foundation, there are often clues in the tallest part of your home. If you see gaps, cracks, or tilting of your chimney, it could be a sign that the building has shifted to the point of damage to your roof. This is a sign that you need to call us.
There can be a number of causes for basement leaks, but there are times when you’ll find water in your basement as a result of a compromised foundation. This can cause a host of other problems in your home including mold damage and more.
If you have concerns about cracks or issues with your home or office, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Engineered Floors & Foundations. We’re here to make sure your building is safe and secure.
Contact us with the info below or submit the contact form.
3009 Mount Paran Church Road
Monroe, GA 30655