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Warning Signs in Your Home’s Foundation

One important piece of knowing the current condition of your home, for Buyers and Sellers alike, is the home’s foundation. The foundation of a home is often the make or break for a transaction, and being aware of the condition of the foundation will help prepare you for the sale/purchase of your home.

So how do you know if your home’s foundation is in good shape? 

 
There are various warning signs of adverse performance of a foundation. The warning signs below will give you a good idea of what to look for when evaluating your home’s foundation and may even show you your foundation is in better shape than you originally thought!
 

Cracked Foundation

One of the simplest ways to check for foundation issues is looking directly at the source. Take a look at your home’s foundation to look for any noticeable cracks or sinking in your foundation walls. However, take this suggestion with a grain of salt, as not all foundation cracks are bad; because homes will naturally settle, some cracks are often normal. You can spot concerning foundation issues by looking for cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom or horizontal cracks.

Jammed Doors and Windows

Take the time to inspect all of the doors and windows in your home. While a creaky door or mildly stubborn window can be a common occurrence in any home, keep a close eye on windows and doors that are significantly difficult to close or any kind of distortion, separation, or problems latching. Because walls are at their weakest point near openings, these can oftentimes be an area where foundation issues stem.

Uneven Floors and Ceilings

Over time your home will naturally move and settle. This results in your moving foundation shifting your home’s walls and support beams, causing the weight of your home to sit unevenly. Closely inspect your home’s floors and ceilings for any obvious sagging, slanting, or cracking. While some settlement and shifting in your home is natural, issues like this are a telltale sign of more serious problems with your foundation.

Gapping Between Frames and Wall

Take a look at the exterior of your home and keep your eyes peeled for any kind of gapping between your front door or windows and the wall. Gaps are a sign that your foundation is shifting and pulling them apart.

Bowed Or Cracked Walls

Cracks or bowing both on interior and exterior walls are a clear and easily recognizable sign of foundation issues within a home. If you are able to spot these within your home, it is a clear indicator of foundation movement, hydrostatic pressure, or poor drainage.

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CHECKLIST

 

INTERIOR

 

DOORS & WINDOWS

  • Cracks extending from the drywall in the corners of doorways and windows
  • Gaps between the frame and the floor or wall
  • Binding or misalignment
  • Difficulty latching properly
  • Separation from framing or exterior finish

FLOORS

  • Cracks in the slab
  • Uneven or sloping floors
  • Cracks in floor tiles
  • Sagging or bowing floors
  • Separation between the floor and wall

WALLS & CEILINGS

  • Sheetrock cracks of .2”-.6” or more oftentimes located around doors and windows
  • Gaps where the wall meets the ceiling
  • Displaced or cracked decorative moldings
  • Corner cracks extending from windows and doors
  • Cracks

 

EXTERIOR

 

FOUNDATION

  • Cracks that are horizontal or wider at the top than the bottom
  • Sinking along the perimeter of the foundation

DOORS & WINDOWS

  • Separations between door jambs or brick moulding and the brick
  • Separations around window frames
  • Separation between garage frame and brick

WALLS

  • Frieze board separations
  • Rotating, buckling, or deflecting masonry cladding
  • Cracks of .2”- .6” or more oftentimes
  • Offset cracking where the brick is uneven on either side of the crack
  • Chimney cracks

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This is a fairly comprehensive list and having just one or two of these indicators may not be cause for concern. However, more than a couple of the indicators of adverse performance might suggest your home’s foundation may need some special attention. Knowing the current condition of a home’s foundation opens opportunities to negotiate the selling price, prepare for future maintenance, and stay on top of a potential purchase.

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