Owning a home is a wonderful thing. It is a big accomplishment, and also a big responsibility. The fun side to owning your own home is that you get to decide what type of home you desire. From the paint, the front porch, and even the decor. However, there are also other not so fun things to consider. Things like homeowners insurance, cleaning the gutters, and even foundation issues. Something all homes will go through at one point are foundation problems. Whether it’s early on, or after many years. There are different types of problems that can occur. It’s important to look out for the signs of settling because fixing this problem can be costly, the longer that it goes unfixed. It can cost anywhere from $1,000, all the way up to $25,000. Yikes. So let’s take a look at the difference between foundation problems vs settling.
There are many problems that the foundation of a home can endure. Usually when issues that arise over long periods of time are called settling. Settling is a broad term that includes many ways your home’s foundation can deteriorate. It’s an umbrella term that can include issues such as natural changes over the decades. Or weather-related issues. The longer the home sits, the better the chance it has of quite literally sinking into the ground. The time it takes for this to happen can depend on the climate, or even the type of soil it sits on. Settling is something that is hard to avoid, as it happens over time. If your foundation is having problems early on, then it usually is caused by something other than settling. Is there a way to notice when settling is occurring? Keep reading to see the signs of foundation problems vs settling.
The most common sign that you can notice when settling is happening, is cracks in the walls. Typically the cracks will appear in a jagged-like shape. Once you see these cracks, it’s a sign that your foundation has begun to shift. Another sign to look out for is water in the basement. If you aren’t having issues with your pipes, but start to see water seeping around the floor of your basement, this is a sign that your home has begun to sink deeper into the soil. Again, this is something that will happen over time, not right away. Another thing to look for is your windows and doors. If they start to stick and become harder to open, well, this is sadly another sign that your foundation has begun to settle.
Something else that can cause foundation problems is the concrete shrinking. Concrete shrinkage is something that can happen naturally. During the curation process, your concrete can often start to lose water. There are many reasons for your concrete to start shrinking. From weather elements, the amount of water used, to the humidity and sun exposure. Depending on all of these elements, your foundation may have problems earlier on than the natural settling. In fact, brick homes are at a greater risk for expansion. This is because brick naturally grows over time, albeit slowly. When the foundation is made of brick, the exposure to underground soil and moisture will speed up the growing process. Thus creating a shift in your foundation, sooner rather than later.
While warm and humid climates are a large cause of foundation problems, it’s also colder climates as well. For different reasons. While the moisture in the soil in hot weather causes sinking, cold weather will cause freezing. When the soil underground starts to freeze, it will cause an expansion that will begin to shift your foundation. I know, it feels like a no-win climate situation.
While trees are beautiful curb appeal, especially the more mature trees, they can also cause a problem for your foundation. The older the tree, the longer the roots. Tree roots, especially ones in older, larger trees, will grow incredibly strong. Underground, they have the power to grow right through your foundation. Or at least have the power to bend the concrete or brick underground. This will also cause your foundation to shift. Even if you build a brand new home, if the land has older trees on it, this will happen sooner than you expect. This is usually why you notice the ground around larger trees become uneven. You can imagine all the roots growing wildly underneath.
It doesn't seem fair, does it? Warm and cold climates both cause foundation problems. And now you find out that both wet and dry soil can cause foundation problems. While wet soil underground will cause sinking, extremely dry soil underneath your home will also have a negative effect on the foundation. Droughts will cause the soil to become weaker. The weaker soil makes for an even weaker foundation. It can cause your home to either sink or become uneven. This is usually when you will notice cracks in not only your walls but your roof as well.
Owning a home is a great thing, however, with all great things, there are also some negative aspects. While it seems that foundation problems are hard to avoid, there is a difference between the type of problems. Whether it’s something that is happening due to weather, material, or age. It’s important to look out for the signs, and determine what type of foundation problem you are dealing with.