Warning Signs Of Foundation Problems
If the Soil underneath your Home is Moving, then you might see THIS!
Clay soils can absorb large volumes of water and consequently swell in volume. When the same clay soils lose water they shrink in volume. This continual swelling and shrinking is the cause of the majority of foundation problems in the Texas area. There are other causes, such as poor compaction of the soil by the original builder. Poor soil compaction will usually create foundation problems during first 1 to 5 years of the home's life. Under slab plumbing leaks can be another source of foundation problems. Usually older homes are more likely to have under slab plumbing leaks because their cast iron or concrete pipes have reached the end of their useful lives. If there is a settlement of soil under the interior or exterior portions of your home's foundation then it may create a void between the soil and the bottom of the slab foundation. When this void becomes too large the slab foundation can collapse (settlement) because there is nothing supporting it. Below are images of some common warning signs of foundation problems.
Sheetrock cracks over doors - one of the first warning signs that a house has foundation and leveling problems is stress cracks appearing in the sheetrock of interior walls. It eventually becomes difficult to open and close doors and windows. And most homeowners do not like viewing this damage every day.
Exterior Stress Cracks in Brick Veneer
The first exterior signs to look for if you suspect house leveling or foundation problems are stress cracks appearing in the mortar in the brick veneer. The forces of nature, the swelling and shrinking of the clay soils underneath your home, are exerting great pressures on your home's foundation. The movement of the soil is not uniform and the result is that some parts of your home may experience "upheaval" (or uplift) and others parts may experience "settlement" (or collapse). Notice how the forces have broken some of the bricks in half. Sometimes the window frames are warped and the glass windows broken by this soil movement.
Patching the cracks with mortar does not fix the problem. The home will need foundation repair.
Splitting the House in HalfThe four photos below illustrate how a home can "split" down the middle when both the front and back portions of the home settle. The clay soils under the front and back of the home's foundation shrank dramatically during the 2011 drought and subsequently lost contact with the foundation. Since there was nothing supporting the front and back portions of the outer foundation perimeter, the concrete slab cracked and collapsed until it found support (the shrunken soil). This process is know as settlement and in this case the damage includes beams, joints, and the roof.
Interior Cracks down the middle of the house - "splitting" the house in half.
The joints, beams, and roof are all experiencing damage.
A portion of the interior slab foundation has also cracked.
For a better view of the scope of this damage,
click on the photo for a larger image.
Exterior Bricks Separating from Framing and Windows
In this photo the brick veneer to the right of the window is "pulling away " and creating the gap between the window frame and the brick veneer. The compression is cracking the bricks on the other side of the window as well.
Notice how soil movement (swelling and shrinking) has "bowed" the brick veneer. The brick veneer and the brick ties are pulling loose from the framing of the house.
Notice the long horizontal crack below the row of vertical bricks. This part of the home's foundation is experiencing settlement (collapse). Eventually the brick veneer begins to separate from door and window frames. Finally framing and roof problems occur, as well as plumbing problems. Foundation problems don't get better without professional repair and house leveling. It is better to take action sooner rather than later. Click the following link to read more about a cracked slab foundation.
Monumental Foundation Failure and Property Loss
Of course, any discussion of foundation problems and repair should include an example that will just scare the beejeebers out of you. So if you click on the link below you will see a fine example of "economical" construction - shortchanging and "penny pinching" in the "finest tradition."
Take me to the photos of Monumental Foundation Failure and Property Loss
And please be aware of the many foundation repair myths that create confusion for the consumer .
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