Has the house you just purchased started to develop foundation cracks? If so, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.
All houses settle, but settling can also be a sign of deeper problems, like foundation issues. Foundational issues can wreak havoc on a home, eventually leading to the need for a costly and extensive rebuild.
How better to head off those problems before they happen than by spotting the early signs of foundation issues? This article takes a look at how to spot foundation cracks so you can get the problem corrected before too much damage occurs.
Keep reading to find out more!
Table of Contents
Strange odors can often be the first sign of a foundation crack. The smell is usually musty or moldy and can occur after a flood or heavy precipitation. To spot a foundation crack, look around the interior and exterior of your home for any visible signs of a crack–bowed walls, bulging floors, cracks in the mortar of the foundation walls, or gaps in the flooring.
Pay special attention to places near windows and doors, as these are often weak spots. Check for any standing water near the foundation and any changes in the landscaping that could indicate disrupted soil.
If you can’t find any physical evidence of a crack, use your nose to sniff out any subtle but consistent strange smells. If a musty odor is present, this is a sure sign of moisture and could indicate a foundation crack.
Foundation cracks due to unusual humidity can be very dangerous. It is important to check your basement, floors, and walls for any signs of water damage such as mold or rotting wood.
Look for wet spots or discoloration, which usually indicate high humidity levels. Inspect your foundation for any cracks. Cracks can occur along the mortar joints, or in the slab or block walls.
Check for any separation or movement along the foundation walls. If the foundation has shifted or sunk, this may be a sign of unstable soil due to unusual humidity.
Pay attention to any changes in the house’s air pressure, as this is usually a sign of high humidity. By recognizing the signs of foundation cracks due to unusual humidity, you can ensure your safety and protect your home.
If you have noticed an uneven floor in your home, it could be the result of foundation cracks. They are often to blame when floors are uneven. To spot foundation cracks, start by inspecting the walls and the floors and looking for visible signs like large or small fissures, cracks in the mortar between bricks or concrete blocks, or gaps between the wall and the floor.
Look for buckling or bulging in the walls, or if the corners of the walls appear to be curved. You can also look for signs of moisture or water stains, as water damage is a common cause of foundation cracks.
Major foundation repairs should be done by a professional, so it’s best to have an expert assess the issue before making a decision.
It is important to look at the edges, corners, and frames closely. If the edges are not even or the corners are not meeting up properly, this could show a foundation issue.
Check for cracks in the wall or regular separation at the joints between the door and frame. If the doorframe is crooked or has shifted, this is likely a warning sign of a foundation problem.
Cracked or Bowing Walls
Walls crack at the corners or where two walls meet, and the most common types of visible wall cracks are vertical, diagonal, or horizontal. Vertical wall cracks often appear as a zigzag pattern and is the most obvious and easiest to spot; diagonal wall cracks can be harder to spot and appear as intersecting cracks in a V pattern; and horizontal wall cracks often look like stair steps.
It is also important to watch for bulging or bowing of walls, as this can be indicative of serious structural damage.
Separating Molding and Baseboards
Certain types of cracks (such as hairline, linear, or stair-step cracks) can often signify foundation damage, so they should be taken seriously. To spot these cracks, it helps to first look for a lack of uniformity in the baseboards and moldings.
Cracks that have a jagged appearance, that are larger around the corners than in the middle, or that have many lines at once can be signs of trouble. You should inspect the walls for evidence of buckling, blistering, water leaks, or excessive water damage in the area.
If there are any discolorations on the walls or floors near the cracks, this is a strong sign of a pending problem. If the moldings and baseboards seem to be separating from the walls or walls of the house, it could also be a sign of foundation damage. Taking note of these characteristics will help you catch possible problems quickly.
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Spotting Foundation Cracks in Different Types
Foundation cracks can be signs of serious issues and should be addressed by a professional. It may be tempting to fix the issue yourself, but a single small mistake can lead to much bigger costs down the line. Whenever you spot a crack, make sure to do your due diligence and get it inspected and fixed by an expert.
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