4 Foundation Problems That Can Ruin Your Roof

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated January 10, 2022
One story brick house in the country
Photo: tarheel1776 / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • A damaged foundation creates pressure, cracking, and shifting in your roof

  • Poor drainage is the top cause of foundations ruining roofs

  • Tilted floors are warning signs that your foundation is in trouble

  • Horizontal foundation cracks are a red flag

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Did you know that faulty foundation can damage your roof? While it may seem like the roof and foundation represent opposite ends of your home, these two features are intricately connected. Take a look at how these four foundation problems threaten your roof’s wellbeing.

1. Inadequate Drainage

Inadequate drainage is the most common foundation problem that leads to roof damage. Improper drainage that doesn't direct water away from your foundation compromises the structural integrity of your home.

Clay expansion caused by flooding can cause your home's foundation to move—and your roof along with it.

While poor drainage caused by a lackluster gutter system is the top cause of flooding around a home's foundation, factors like broken water lines, damaged sewer lines, and creeks running near the property can all contribute to this issue.

2. Tree Roots

Closeup of tree roots in the backyard
Photo: nirutft / Adobe Stock

Tree roots that grow in from under the pavement surrounding your home can siphon moisture from your foundation until it cracks. Common signs that tree roots are damaging your foundation include:

  • Slow drains in your home

  • Cracks in floor tiles

  • Nails popping out of drywall

  • Bowing walls

  • Leaking pipes

  • Changes in your home's water pressure

You may need to consider cutting tree roots before making a protective dam that will reduce interactions between the roots and your home's foundation. A foundation expert could also recommend removing certain trees and roots systems.

3. Foundation Cracks

General foundation cracks will send shockwaves right up your home's "spine" to reach your roof. Soil movement is common in soils with heavy clay content. The cycle of swelling and shrinking that occurs with clay soil puts a home at risk for cracks. Even natural causes like erosion and earthworms can make foundations crack.

While many foundations experience cracks, it's important to look for horizontal cracks that could point to a bowing foundation—which is a serious matter, as it threatens your home’s structural integrity. This is but one of a few solid reasons not to delay foundation repairs.

4. A Sloping Floor

A tilted foundation can crack a roof. While foundations often slope with age, it's important to pay attention to the "levelness" of your floors. Have you noticed that objects seem to roll when dropped? You may also notice that doors in your home seem to open and close on their own. It could be a ghost—or, more likely, it could be a tilted floor.

You may also notice that you're having trouble opening and closing your windows easily due to the pressure from the shifting angles. Finally, some visual signs include things like separation in your caulking, cracks near doorways, and cracks in walls.

You can gauge how severe your tilt is by observing how quickly a ball rolls away. A faster roll implies a more serious tilt, which puts a lot of pressure on your roof. Hiring a qualified foundation repair professional to address these problems is essential to maintaining a strong and stable foundation—and roof.

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