Foundation shifting is a natural stage of a settling foundation. “Shifting” refers to the sinking movement of a foundation into the ground as its immense weight settles. In the first few weeks of being built, a foundation will experience “uniform settlement” which is when the entire foundation shifts together the same amount.
However, issues arises when a foundation begins to experience “differential settlement”, which is when certain parts of the foundation are shifting more or less than others. Factors such as heavy rainfalls, improper yard grading, clogged downspouts, plumbing leaks, expanding and contracting soil, and frost heave all cause foundations to shift unevenly. Over time, even the smallest differential foundation movement can cause significant problems that will require foundation repair.
Here are some signs you can check for when assessing your shifting foundation problems in Windsor:
- Cracks in Foundation
One of the most apparent signs of a shifting foundation is if you see cracks in your foundation wall. In poured concrete walls, these cracks often appear as vertical cracks, or in worse cases, horizontal cracks. In block foundations, they often appear as stair-step cracks between the blocks. Hairline cracks aren’t a big deal, but should be monitored over time to see if they are growing. A consistently growing crack is a symptom of a foundation that is actively shifting, and will lead to further problems down the road.
- Cracks Around Door and Window Frames
Some houses may have a finished basement, and so it is difficult to directly view the foundation walls. Another sign of a shifting foundation is if you see cracks in the drywall surrounding the edges of door frames or window frames. The movement up or down of the foundation often stresses the drywall, causing small cracks to grow at their edges.
- Sticking Doors and Windows
If your foundation is shifting, the foundation will no longer be level, causing doors or windows to become “sticky”, or difficult to close. Additionally, a bowing/uneven floor is a sign of a shifting foundation.
- Foundation Leaks
Water is the culprit of all foundation issues. If you see water staining or efflorescence on your foundation walls, or smell mould or mildew in the air, then the foundation is surely in trouble. The best thing to do would be to install a basement waterproofing system if one is not already in place such as the SafeDrain™ System with a Pro Series sump pump.
- Chimney or Porch Separating from House
If you look outside and see cracks forming at the edge of your house and porch, or see the bricks of your chimney beginning to form cracks, then your foundation is shifting unevenly. A cracking chimney is a serious issue that should be fixed immediately to avoid a collapse onto your roof.
What Do I Do If I See Any of These Signs?
The best course of action is to stop the shifting from continuing. Solutions such as the Waler Wall System or Carbon Fiber Strips are back by a 25-Year Warranty and are designed to give your foundation the extra support it needs to handle the pressure.
You will also likely need a basement waterproofing system installed if one is not present. The important thing to understand is that the culprit of almost all foundation issues is the mismanagement of water around your foundation. Water is relentless. If it is allowed to pool against your home, it will inevitably push its way in.
The best foundation repair solutions include a system which accepts and redirects water outside of and safely away from your home. That is the key to protecting your home foundation for good.