Foundation problems can occur from not having the proper balance of soil moisture. Droughts, floods, tree & shrub roots extracting water out of the soil, and broken pipes can all play a part in upsetting the balance of moisture in the soil thus causing foundation problems. Here are a few signs to look for when trying to confirm a foundation problem:

ecohouseraising04Foundation — Cracks in a slab are often caused by shrinking of the soil or dirt underneath the home but can also be due to swelling in another area of the slab.
Doors/Windows — When doors and broken panes stick or have cracks at the corners of their frames, it is usually due to foundation problems. Sticking window sashes are usually indications of stress that has distorted the window frame. Separations can occur around doors and windows as the foundation settles and rotates away from a level condition

Floors — Sloping/uneven floors, furniture sliding or low/high spots are usually due to foundation movement. Squeaky floors may be only loose boards that can be renailed, but they could be caused by foundation problems. Cracks or sloping floors are an indication of a foundation problem. As interior concrete block or brick piers settle, the floor system can experience deflection.

Walls — Cracks in the sheetrock and doors that won’t close can also be signs of foundation problems. The result is interior cracks in drywall or plaster, or separations of moldings and tape joints. Cracks usually appear in weak points of the wall, namely, around vents, windows, doors or other structural openings. When checking your home’s foundation, these areas are the best places to start.

Chimney Separations — Chimneys are perhaps the most common of all foundation failure indicators. Large chimneys produce substantial “point loads” on the foundation footings, meaning a very large amount of weight is concentrated in a relatively small space. Think of it as the difference between trying to push the palm of your hand into the sand at the beach versus only pushing in your index finger.

When chimneys separate, they can cause additional problems unrelated to the foundation. Roof flashing can become unsealed, allowing moisture to enter areas the flashing was designed to protect. The separation of the caulk seal against the house itself poses the same problem.

Sand Pumping — Sand Pumping is vitalized in many different ways. Sand can be pumped under slabs, raised homes, garages, and commercial buildings just to mention a few. Sand Pumping is a great way to eliminate standing water, eliminate voids under slabs, prevent termite activity and also helps prevent settlement.