Signs of Foundation Damage

The foundation of a house is mostly out of sight. While it might seem solid and immovable, the stability of a building depends on the soil the foundation rests on. Foundation problems can occur when the condition of the soil changes. See if your home shows these common signs of foundation damage.

Inside the House

When soil erosion occurs around the exterior basement walls, cracking, shifting or sinking can occur. But it usually doesn’t happen overnight. Signs of potential foundation problems can be barely noticeable and typically make themselves first known inside rather than outside the house. The most common indicators include:

  • mold growth on interior walls, carpet, and interior basement walls and floors
  • musty basement odour
  • cracked mouldings
  • cracks in the ceiling
  • sloping floors or uneven floor tiles
  • doors and windows that don’t open and close smoothly

Outside the House

Ideally, the land around your home should slope away from the foundation. If the landscaping slopes toward the house and the orientation can’t be changed or corrected, in this instance, it’s even more critical to look for signs of foundation damage. Check for the following:

  • exterior foundation walls have shifted – sight lines from corner to corner should be straight
  • cracks in siding and/or exterior walls
  • the concrete begins to chip, flake or pit
  • gutters that consistently overflow
  • downspouts draining too close to the house

Troubleshooting Foundation Damage

Cracks, no matter how small, are an indication that a building’s structure has been compromised. Existing cracks create the environment for more cracks to develop and will eventually become larger. Repairing foundation damage can be complicated. Even if the cracks are small enough to DIY, it’s probably best to consult a construction contractor; they will be able to alert you to any other potential problems. In the meantime, to prevent foundation damage from becoming worse, you can:

  • trim shrubs touching cement walls
  • add soil to bald spots in landscaping near the foundation
  • fix overflowing gutters
  • add a downspout extender or splash block to downpipes depositing water less than 5 feet from your home