7 Signs Your Home's Foundation Is in Trouble and How to Save It

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated October 20, 2021
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Know the signs before things get worse

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Unlike many potential problems with your home, it can be a little tricky to spot signs of foundation trouble. Because your foundation is located beneath your home and is usually underground, you typically won’t be able to inspect it visually. Instead, you should look for these warning signs of possible foundation damage.

Signs of Foundation Trouble

Common signs that there may be something wrong with your foundation include cracks, leaks, and sloping or uneven floors and walls.

1. Sticking Doors or Windows

If you’ve noticed that some of your windows and doors are sticking or not aligning properly, it could be a sign that something’s wrong with your foundation. As a foundation shifts and settles, it may upset the equilibrium of various surfaces inside your home, causing doors and windows to fit less securely in their frames.

2. Cracks in Walls or Floors

Cracked basement floors or walls are another common sign of foundation damage. While small, hairline cracks are common if your house is newly constructed, major cracks could be an indication that you need to repair your foundation.

3. Leaks in Basement

If you spot a leak in your basement and haven’t experienced flooding or inclement weather recently, it could be a sign of a foundation problem. Settling foundations can put too much pressure on underground plumbing, causing burst pipes and slab leaks.

4. Sloping Floor

Uneven or sloping floors could be another indicator of foundation damage. Your floor may be uneven in a particular spot, or it may gradually slope in a particular direction. Uneven floors are among the more serious symptoms of foundation damage, since they can cause tripping hazards and impact other appliances and fixtures in your home.

5. Gap Around Windows or Doors

Gaps around windows and doors on the exterior of your home may also indicate that your foundation has shifted. You should regularly inspect your home’s exterior for any changes in order to spot this potential symptom.

6. Cracks in Exterior Foundation

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While a large portion of your foundation is underground supporting your house, you may be able to see upper portions of your foundation outside your house. Cracks or fractures in your home’s exterior foundation could be a sign of trouble. You should be especially wary of horizontal or zig-zag cracks, which are more serious.

7. Leaning or Rotating Outbuilding Walls

The last thing you want is for your walls to lose their structural integrity. Leaning or rotating walls could be a sign that your foundation is causing your walls to change position. You should get in touch with a local foundation inspector right away if you think your home’s walls have changed position.

How to Prevent Foundation Damage

Foundation damage can be costly to repair, so you should try to avoid it if possible. Here are some tips for preventing foundation damage before it starts.

Check Your Gutters

Improperly functioning gutters and downspouts are often the main culprits of foundation damage. Experts recommend that you check your gutters and downspouts at least three to four times a year to make sure they're operating correctly and not collecting runoff at the foundation.

Conduct Proactive Maintenance

You can also keep your foundation in tip-top shape by conducting regular maintenance. You should inspect your foundation and your home’s interior and exterior for signs of wear or damage on a regular basis. You may also want to consider installing a drainage system for your foundation or installing a root barrier to prevent tree damage.

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