When you have a foundation problem, you always want to tackle that problem earlier rather than later. If you wait too long, your foundation problem will almost certainly spiral out of control, typically eventually resulting in a problem that requires a much more in-depth solution that can cost thousands of dollars and take weeks of your time. The good news, however, is that most of these foundation problems have warning signs that you can spot far in advance. Here are eight surefire Pittsburgh foundation repair warning signs to keep in mind.
- Bowing and Cracked Walls
When you have a basement, you need to make sure you’re thinking about bowing basement walls. Your basement walls should stand straight, like the walls in the rest of your home. If you’re seeing a bowing inward on any of your basement walls, or you’re noticing horizontal cracks in these walls, chances are that the hydrostatic pressure is being too invasive against your walls, resulting in serious structural damage that you need to tackle as soon as you notice it.
- Cracks in Concrete Slabs
Concrete slab foundations can be helpful in some homes, but certainly not in all of them. If you currently have a concrete slab, you need to be on the lookout for cracks in your concrete slab, especially those that happen due to issues with expanding and contracting soil underneath the concrete slabs. The Pittsburgh winters can get cold, and if the soil underneath the concrete slab freezes, it’s going to expand, which can end up causing cracks.
- Sinking Foundation
If the original building team for your home didn’t prepare for the foundation appropriately, you can end up with some pretty serious problems. Unfortunately, if the soil under the foundation doesn’t have the appropriate support for a home, which can weigh many tons, it’s possible for the soil to end up compressing underneath the foundation, which can cause sinking problems. Overall, this problem is frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be impossible to deal with; an expert can install foundation piers that can help boost your foundation again.
- Sagging Floors
The floor joists under your home in your crawl space or basement are what keep your floors up. However, what happens when those floor joists don’t have the structural integrity they need to keep the rest of the home standing upright? In these situations, you might end up with sagging floors, which happen when your floors sink down in the middle because they don’t have enough support. Sagging floors are often a sign of basement problems, so don’t ignore them.
- Tilting and Cracking Chimneys
Your chimney is typically on a different foundation from the rest of your home. Most commonly, the chimney’s attachment to the rest of the home is very minor, which means that if the home’s foundation is having issues, the chimney’s foundation will probably start having some issues as well. If you notice that your chimney is starting to tilt away from the rest of the building or that there are cracks forming in the outer walls of the chimney, it’s probably because there’s a foundation problem in the rest of the house, not because there’s a foundation problem in the chimney.
- Uneven Floors
Uneven floors most commonly occur because of issues with your foundation. If one side of your foundation has sunk too far, it’s going to naturally cause problems with your floor as well, causing it to sink, often across the entirety of your home. These uneven floors can make it difficult to walk and decorate inside, but most importantly, they’re telling you that there’s a problem.
- Sticking Windows and Doors
Have you ever had windows and doors “stick” in their frames when you try to move them or scrape up against the floor when you try to open and close them? This is a problem that occurs when the window and doorframes are warped in some way, causing the doors and windows to no longer stick into the frame correctly. Warping almost exclusively comes from either water intrusion or foundation shifting, and either problem is a serious one that you should pay attention to.
- Cracks in Brick Walls
This is mostly something that you might notice if you have brick foundation walls or basement walls. If your brick walls start to crack, they’ll typically crack in a stair-step pattern, and this is usually a sign that there’s a foundation sinking problem. Specifically, it usually means that your brick wall is having more stress on one side than the other side, which will usually indicate that the foundation is sinking toward the side that has more stress. If you see cracks in your home or basement’s brick walls, it’s a good indication that there are foundation problems in your home.
Foundation problems are the bane of most homeowners’ existence; it can be extremely frustrating to learn that you’re having issues with your foundation. However, what’s even more frustrating than learning about foundation problems is learning that your foundation problems have progressed to the point where you might need to spend thousands of dollars and weeks of your time fixing these problems. Your best option isn’t to ignore foundation problems; it’s to tackle them as early as you find out about them. If you notice any of these foundation concerns, make sure that you contact a Pittsburgh expert who can help you fix them.