The most common signs of foundation movement near New Haven, CT can be spotted by the average homeowner. They may have been living with them (and ignoring them) for years, but nonetheless the signs can point to a serious structural issues and foundation movement.
The type of foundation movement that you need to worry about is soil settlement. The soil underneath the foundation settles or shifts making the foundation on unstable ground. The real problem lies when only one part of the foundation settles and the other part doesn’t. This makes the house shift, break and crack making for a dangerous, structural situation.
If you understand that a corner of the house is lower than the rest of the house, it makes sense that signs are in the foundation and the upper levels of the house inside and out.
Foundation Cracks – Foundation cracks can definitely be a sign of foundation movement. However, not every foundation crack means you have a serious structural issue. Most cracks are not cause for alarm and are simply what the industry calls nonstructural cracks. These superficial cracks are just from the concrete flexing, shrinking and expanding. Sometimes a foundation will crack from soil pressure on the outside wall. All these usually cause problems like water leaks and radon issues but they aren’t going to make your house fall down. Horizontal cracks that are moving tend to be structural cracks.
Windows and Doors – If you have foundation movement, your windows and doors will stick. It usually happens suddenly. One day the doors will just start sticking. This happens when one part of the foundation is lower and causing the framing to be uneven.
Cracks in the Walls Upstairs – It won’t just be the foundation that cracks if you have foundation movement or settlement issues. The upstairs walls will also be cracked. The sheet rock, the walls, the ceilings will also show visible cracking.
Chimney – The chimney may be cracked and pulled away from the ceiling on the inside. There may be a new gap that wasn’t there before. It is as if the house is lopsided—because it is. From the roof, the chimney may also be a sign of foundation movement if it is pulled away or cracked.
Floors – The floors will usually be uneven. You may be able to roll a ball from one corner to the other without trying. Gravity will show you which side of the foundation is settling. The floors may also be cracked. Wooded floors can show signs of foundation movement as well.
Trim – The trim around the main level and upper levels of the house will also show signs of cracking. The trim and molding will crack as the foundation moves and settles because the house itself is moving. The framing, trim work, and walls were all originally built with a straight foundation. They were set at a certain level so it only makes sense that as the foundation shifts the all the construction on the upper levels would start to crack.
If you have one or more of these signs in your house, it is time to call a foundation contractor. The longer you wait, the problem will get worse. It will not get better on its own. Even though, it seems like the problem is slow or even stopped, it most likely isn’t and is slowly but surely getting worse. Every season will impact your foundation issues for the worse.