Foundation issues can be a big concern for homeowners nationwide in summer, as most have invested substantial amounts in their homes. A compromised foundation can lead to all kinds of problems. Needless to say, a severe issue can make your home dangerous to inhabit. Any foundation issue, no matter how minor it may seem, needs to be addressed right away.
This article will explain the causes of most foundation issues during summer as well as what the most common signs of potential problems are. When in doubt, it’s best to get in touch with a foundation repair contractor and schedule an inspection.
Causes of Foundation Issues in Summer
Foundations are built to have constant support from the ground they sit on. However, the soil pulls away from the foundation in summer because moisture evaporates from it in the heat. The soil shrinks, leading to foundation settling and other problems. Ultimately, these can result in lack of stability and even in damage to parts of your home.
The hotter and drier it is outside, the more the soil under your house will pull away. Then, the foundation gradually starts sinking. What makes the whole situation even more complicated is that the signs of foundation settling are not easy to discern, especially in the beginning. Years can go by before a homeowner will notice cracks in the foundation. By then, irreparable damage may have occurred. Settlement can open up a basement or the entire house to moisture, leading to growth of mold, mildew, and other health hazards to you and your family.
In addition, not all cracks are made alike. Some are harmless, while others can compromise a home’s longevity, stability, and health. It’s important have cracks remedied before they cause costly damage to the structure.
Risks of Dry and Wet Soil
Springs tend to be wet and mild, causing the soil to become swollen and saturated. As a result, it gets really heavy and expands under and around the foundation. Cracks can appear in drywall and basement floors as early as spring. The expanding soil around these rigid surfaces and its movement brings about these and other signs of excessive pressure.
With the advent of summer, more and more cracks will appear. Eventually, you might start to see vertical cracks in the walls of your basement. These are the result of uneven settlement or differential settling because not all soil moisture levels around the building are the same. The time and extent of drying depends on factors like the presence and location of gardens, trees, plants, and shade.
Signs of Serious Foundation Issues
Apart from foundation and basement wall cracks, common signs of foundation settlement include tilting or leaning chimneys and damage to windows and doors. Chimneys erected on a structure that is not connected to the foundation of your home are more likely to settle because they are heavier. An intimidating and dramatic sign of settlement is a tilting chimney. This warrants an immediate repair.
Window and Door Damage
One of the first signs of foundation settlement will manifest in the doors and windows in your home. A window or door might start to detach from its frame. Alternatively, you could notice cracks starting from a corner above a window or door. There might not be any signs at all, which doesn’t mean there is no settlement. To check, try opening and closing doors and windows a few times to see if this happens smoothly. If they show gaps or stick, your foundations might be moving.
Drywall and Foundation Cracks
The vertical cracks we mentioned earlier will become more uneven and wider as foundation settlement becomes more pronounced. This is because sections of the walls shift apart from one another. A common and severe sign that settlement is progressing is when the cracks are narrower at the bottom than at the top. This is something that requires urgent intervention.
Drywall cracks are a very reliable sign that the foundation is settling. Inspect your home for such cracks. They are often more prominent and substantial as you go up. They will be bigger and more noticeable on the second story of the house than on the first, for example.
Don’t Wait – Act Now
As with everything else, the sooner you catch an issue, the more likely you are to avoid more severe ones and further damage. Schedule a home inspection from a local contractor. They will either confirm your suspicions of foundation issues or put your mind at ease. In the first case, they will tell you where the problem is. Even the smallest sign of damage can help, so pay close attention to any foundation issue symptoms in your home. Even the biggest expert will appreciate valuable information. This can provide much needed guidance on various repair options.
Acting now can keep you from spending even more money moving forward. Procrastinating or ignoring the need of repairs is the worst thing a homeowner can possibly do. More severe damage includes plumbing issues as the building shifts or roof damage.
How Can a Contractor Help fix My Foundation Issues?
Your contractor will begin repairing your foundation to prevent further issues caused by the soil moving. Decelerating or stopping the movement is of paramount importance when it comes to avoiding major damage, regardless of whether it involves erecting steel piers in summer or tiebacks in spring to resist the rain. These piers can bring the foundation back to the position it was in initially and prevent soil issues that can cause more damage to the structure.
The best foundation repair is aimed at shifting the foundation’s bearing surface to soils that moisture changes in the soils’ top levels have not impacted. The foundation is less affected by movement and remains stable by bearing on deep soils.
Never allow the soil under your house to get too dry. Water the foundation regularly to keep the soil around it in top condition. Ideally, use an automatic sprinkler. You can have rock beds installed as well. They are best positioned a few inches away from the foundation. Consult a contractor to find out the best location in your situation.
Things to Look Out for Moving Forward
As temperatures continue to soar, watch for cracks emerging around your home and follow soil moisture levels closely. You might have heard that people use soaker hoses to mitigate drying soil effects. While this is true, it’s typically not practical. One inch of rain on a roof of 2,000 square foot corresponds to about 1,300 gallons of water. Replacing so much water can be hard and costly when you add in the water that falls on your lawn. The team at Foundations First performs inspections, consults homeowners, and provides guidance depending on their unique needs and circumstances.