Slab Foundation Problems: 5 Most Common Issues
Letting slab foundation problems mount up leads to even bigger costs down the line. Here are the 5 most common issues to look for so you can take action.
You’re finally moved everything and settled into your new home when you sit down to relax and you notice a crack on the wall above the fireplace
“Oh, well,” you think as cracks in houses can be fairly commonplace.
Two years later you’re shelling out $10,000 because you have a major foundation problem on your hands that was neglected.
Slab foundation problems can be some of the most expensive repairs your home will ever go through. Not to mention, they can ruin your home’s resale value
While the damage that slab foundation problems cause may have an easy solution, you need to get to the root of the problem and fix the true, underlying issues.
Putting up some plaster and filling in the crack might make the house look better but you’re essentially using a band-aid to stop a hole in a dam.
These following home problems are often indicative of major foundation issues that need to be tended to right away.
There are different types of foundations such as a T-shape foundation or a pier foundation, but this article will focus on the problems that come along with the most common of foundation across the country – slab foundation.
- Cracked Walls/Floor
There’s no surer sign of slab foundation problems than seeing cracks appear in the walls and floors of your home.
Just like with walls on the outside, slab foundation problems are going to be the root cause of cracks in the exterior bricks of your house.
You may even see walls or your garage door start to separate from the rest of your house. If you see this, don’t wait any longer!
This kind of damage to your house means that your foundation is having settlement problems. Over a long lifetime, all houses naturally settle into the soil underneath the foundation.
But not all settlements are created equal. Some settlements can happen too quickly causing too much stress to a home’s walls.
Settling can also be uneven which will also stress the frame of the house and cause the cracks you see in the walls and flooring.
- Doors and Windows Are Not Fitting
Another sign of slab foundation problems is when you notice doors are taking a little more force to close (or the alignment is off and won’t close at all) or are no longer latching. Windows may also be difficult to open or shut when your slab foundation is in trouble.
When this is the case, the foundation of your house has most likely settled poorly and has now begun to sink unevenly into the soil (think leaning tower of Piza). Again with the settlement of soil to blame, the settling has warped the frames of the door or window.
As is often the case, walls around the frames have moved and twisted them so that the door or window can no longer function the way it should
- Uneven Floors
Normally, the root cause of the uneven floors is the upheaval from the soil underneath the foundation.
With settling, the house has sunk into the earth, upheaval is the complete opposite of that. The house has actually risen up since it was originally built.
While it may seem impossible, or gravity-defying, added moisture can get into the soil beneath your house and cause that specific area to rise. That rise in foundation causes the one side of your floor to rise up while the other stays still and create a ramp-like surface.
As this goes untreated more and more stress and tension will develop between the uneven surfaces leading to cracks and future problems.
You also are more susceptible to upheaval if your house was built upon clay soil since clay sucks up and holds moisture in much better than normal dirt soil.
Just as floors can become uneven, so too can ceilings. If there are noticeable gaps between the wall and the ceilings or the walls and floors, you have a slab foundation problem on your hands.
This, yet again, is thanks to settlement.
Whether the soil wasn’t properly compacted at construction or the soil is shrinking and drying out under the surface, seeing the gaps that slab foundation problems cause can be one of the most disconcerting feelings a homeowner can have.
As your house sinks, the foundation will literally pull the walls away from the ceiling or floor leaving gaps that you can see right through.
This is a serious indicator of slab foundation problems and the problem has probably been happening for a while. Pulling apart a house doesn’t happen overnight.
If you see gaps, you need to call a contractor immediately.
- Displaced Molding
If your molding is becoming displaced or cracked that means that the foundation has shifted.
The foundation hasn’t just actually settled but has actually moved and caused the wall to move as well which is the reason you see damage to the molding. Along with the molding cracking or coming off the wall, any time a foundation shifts, cracks along the walls usually appear as well.
While crown molding doesn’t have function and is just there for the looks, the same thing happening here is what happens to the door or window frames that were morphed by moving walls.
The walls moved but the crown molding is stubborn and didn’t want to move so it cracked or came off the wall a bit.
Houses are huge investments. Unfortunately, they can be a huge pain in the side as well. So often minor problems that go unnoticed or unfixed can lead to major and costly repair projects.
With the foundation being the literal thing that your house stands on, it’s one of the biggest things to keep an eye on!
Now that you know the signs of slab foundation problems you will be able to act quickly if and when you see them around your house.
Remember, the faster you can fix a slab foundation problem, the better off your house will be. And, more importantly, the better off your wallet will be!
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