As the leading experts in foundation repair, restoration, and replacement in the Ottawa region for decades, we’ve seen our fair share of foundation issues. One thing that all these projects had in common was that the foundation started showing signs of needing repair long before we were called. Unfortunately, many homeowners and building owners do not recognize the signs of foundation issues before they become very big (and very expensive) problems. Here are five things that you can look out for to catch issues before they become serious:
1. Any Signs of Distress on the Foundation Itself
If you see any kind of crack, buckling, gaps, mold, water stains, flaking concrete, fracture, or even just tiny zigzagging lines, on the foundation itself, there’s a good chance that there are some issues. Foundations are built to provide long-lasting support to a massive amount of weight, so you should not see any signs of damage in a strong foundation.
2. Sagging or Warping of the Floors and Ceiling Inside
The floors and the ceiling inside a building are the only surfaces of the building itself that are parallel to the foundation. Therefore, they’ll mirror whatever is going on with the structure of the foundation. If you see sagging floors, there is a good chance it means the foundation is weak. Warped ceilings often reveal the same thing. Look for gaps between the ceiling and the walls meet to find warping, for example.
3. Improper Water Draining and Soil Erosion
If the yard around the building is collection water, or the soil is rapidly contracting during dry spells, this may mean that the foundation has shifted. Cracks in the foundation can also lead to lower soil levels, which is what causes the excess water you see in the area.
4. Any Sign of Damage in the Exterior Walls
If the building has cracks, warps, decay, mold, or water stains on the exterior walls, it is very likely due to foundation issues. Settling can cause the walls to lose support, which in turn causes them to fissure or warp. If you see these signs, it means that something significant is occurring, because walls are built to allow for a little bit of “give”. Crumbling bricks and cement walls are a particularly bad sign.
5. Windows and Doors that Are Too Loose or Too Tight
When windows and doors are first fitted to a building, they are fitted to the way the walls are positioned at that exact moment. If the foundation settles, and the wall warps or shifts, the windows and doors will suddenly not fit quite as well. This can lead to cracks around the windowsills and doors, or just openings that stick or won’t stay closed. Garage doors, attic windows, and vents may show the same signs.
Give your building a check for any of these signs on a regular basis, and you’ll stay ahead of structural damage that can lead to serious foundation repair or replacement. If you see any of these signs, call the experts right away at 613-227-2006.