Foundation trouble can have a big impact on the safety, structural stability and value of a home. A foundation that is in poor condition can result in costly repairs, or even costlier damage to the structure of a home. Knowing the signs of foundation damage is important. Homeowners who suspect that they have foundation problems must work with a qualified structural engineer to determine whether or not their home is safe.
Signs Your Foundation Is In Trouble
There are many signs of foundation trouble. Often these signs can be subtle, and homeowners who don't know what to look for may overlook this kind of damage.
Cracks in the Foundation
Cracks in the foundation can be a sign of damage, but not all cracks are a problem. When trying to determine whether or not a home is experiencing foundation trouble, the homeowner must consider the size of the cracks and the direction or formation of the cracks. Wide cracks one quarter of an inch or wider are an indication that a foundation is in trouble. Cracks that take a stair stepping formation in the mortar between cement blocks are also indicative of a problem.
Stuck Windows and Doors
When the foundation of the home begins to shift, this can cause doorways and window openings to squeeze against the door or window. This makes it hard to open and close the doors and windows. Of course, there are other reasons that doors and windows can become hard to open and close. Sometimes this happens when the air is humid, because the wood that forms the frame of the house can swell.
Homeowners who notice that a single door or window of their home has become sticky may not have any reason for concern. However, if these signs are coupled with other signs of foundation damage, this problem should be investigated as soon as possible.
Warped, Bowing, Bending Walls
Warped, bowing and bending walls are usually most visible from the outside of the North Pole home or from inside the basement. If the wall in the basement is bending inward, this problem may also be accompanied by flooding during times of precipitation. A bending or bowing wall is a very bad sign indeed, and homeowners who see this problem should address the problem immediately.
Cracks Over Doors and Windows
Another type of damage that people usually see in a house with foundation damage is cracking over doors and windows. Usually these cracks originate at the corner of the door or window, and extend upward toward the ceiling. These cracks can also occur because of seismic activity and because of foundation settling. Homeowners who note that the cracks are more than one quarter of an inch wide should seek help.
How to Find a Structural Engineer to Fix Your Foundation
Homeowners who have structural or foundation problems often struggle to find someone who can correct the problem. An important first step is hiring a structural engineer. Searching online listings may produce names and phone numbers of structural engineers in the area.
Homeowners who want to ensure that they're hiring a legitimate professional should check their state's licensing requirements for structural engineers, then should ensure that the person they hire meets those licensing requirements. Before hiring, a good way to ensure that the person is a good business person with ethical business practices is to check references.
Another good way to find out whether or not a structural engineer is a good person to hire is to check with the state's licensing board to find out if there have ever been complaints against that license. By doing this due diligence, homeowners can hopefully find out for sure whether or not the professional they're considering for the job is the right person to hire.
Contact a Structural Engineer Today
Homeowners who believe that their home has foundation damage must work with a structural engineer. This kind of repair work is never recommended to be attempted as a DIY home repair. A good structural engineer can evaluate the structure of the home, determine whether or not there is foundation damage and can also make recommendations for repair.