If you are the owner of a house or other structure, your foundation may show symptoms of alteration. This could be brought on by it settling further into the ground, or an issue that can present additional problems. Both of these can contribute to issues in your house like floor cracks or indentations.
However, resolving these issues can call for strategies with true resolution. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand whether your structure is settling or has a foundation issue. Identifying this is not always a simple achievement. To discover more about settling vs. foundation issues, continue reading, as everything you ought to know will be covered.
What Is Foundation Settling?
The term “settling” is typically used to refer to any natural changes to a foundation that take place over time. The two primary factors for foundation settling are time and weather. A new home progressively sinks into the earth over time, the rate at which depends heavily on the average temperature and soil type. Although there is no perfect science to this happening, competent builders and contractors that are knowledgeable about local soil can sometimes predict how much a foundation will sink over time.
Brand-new homes (less than five years old) may experience significant settling if the soil wasn’t properly prepared or experiences frequent harsh weather conditions. This most usually occurs when a house is built during a dry period and the rainy season immediately follows. The clay soil expands, slightly settling the home. If there is another drought after that, the clay will shrink, and there might be a few inches of settling within a few weeks or months.
In actuality, a few inches of foundation settlement are normal. It should also be stressed that the first and ongoing settlements are distinct due to site-related factors. Any further settlement that is due to site-specific variables and are most likely to continue into the future.
Two Periods of Settling
Your structure will experience two phases of settling. Within the first several years, things will begin to settle at a normal pace. The pressure of your home on the new foundation is the cause for this. If the foundation is done correctly, it only typically occurs in small amounts . As your building becomes older, ongoing settling happens. This long-term settling happens gradually, making it a little harder to notice. All buildings experience these forms of settling; they are both a part of a natural process. With the right foundation maintenance, it may be regulated and maintained without trouble.
Common Signs Your Building is Settling
Your structure is settling, and there are various symptoms you can keep an eye out for once you know what might present itself. If you want to determine if your home is experiencing settling, look for these indicators:
- Basement areas seeping water
- The walls and the framework are not parallel to one another
- Bulging or bending in the middle of the blocks and fractures in the mortar joints
- Basement foundation walls have cracks
- Chimney separation from the building, tilting, or cracks in the pillar
- Openings surrounding door and window frames
- External brick or stonework cracks
- Sticking windows and doors
- Exposed molding or trim on the walls
What Are Foundation Problems?
Foundation issues arise when the home’s foundational integrity is jeopardized by excessive or persistent foundation settling or other problems. Foundation shrinkage and growth are two of the main categorizations of foundation issues.
In the course of curing, concrete naturally contracts. If you search for the gaps between the margins of a slab and the foundation wall, this shrinking is obvious to the unaided eye. These results are partially attributed to a chemical reaction that occurs, not just the process of the concrete losing water.
Brick-based foundations frequently experience enlargement. This results from bricks’ innate propensity to gradually expand over time. All brick will enlarge, but exposed brick walls above grade will enlarge more quickly. Additionally, in frigid areas, moisture accumulation causes brick walls beneath the earth to expand.
Foundation Settling or Major Problem?
It can be challenging for homeowners to discern whether cracks and other signs are caused by routine foundation settling or a significant foundation problem. Sometimes there is no cause for concern. At other times, it’s crucial to act. For the homeowner, normal foundation settling usually goes unnoticed. The symptoms, if any, will include little cracks that don’t seem to get bigger over time. However, if any of the following symptoms exist, it may be an indication of a more serious problem:
- A wall splits. Jagged fractures running at 45-degree angles throughout the home are signs of foundation displacement. Shifting so severe that the sheetrock is rupturing is cause for alarm!
- Windows and doors that stick. Have you ever noticed how, seemingly for no reason, windows and doors stick periodically? Even while one door or window isn’t a cause for concern, if it happens frequently, consider the probability of foundation issues. Doors and window frames have twisted out of proportion.
- Difficulties with the roof. You can instantly identify wall gaps and closed windows and doors, but you can discover more by looking higher. Keep an eye out for any cracks, gaps, or other signs on the top floor of your home.
- The basement has water. Examine your basement to determine if there is any water after a downpour. Even while there may rarely be a water leak into the basement of a house with a solid foundation, seepage usually happens when the foundation is broken. If you’ve experienced more symptoms, try seeking water to confirm your suspicion.
As you can see, severe symptoms like these show that your foundation is going through a different type of settlement than usual. Keep an eye on the symptoms and if they seem to be worsening, it’s likely time to call in a specialist to evaluate the problem. The sooner you address your foundation issues, the better.
The Difference Between Settling & Foundation Issues
Knowing what is going on regarding foundation problems vs. settling can be difficult. Most owners tend to ignore their foundations until there is an issue so severe it is hard to pass over. Ask for guidance to evaluate whether or not you are facing a serious problem. To prevent much more costly repair expenses in the future, you should take care of the issue before it worsens. Normal settlement is nothing to worry about, but you’ll need to make the necessary repairs in case an issue is taking its toll in the background.
For more information about the solutions we provide for repairing your foundation issues, give Pierman Foundation Repair a call today at (580) 453-0330. We can level, strengthen, and correct any home foundation. Take the first step towards repairing your family’s home by choosing the help of our professional services.