When your home or commercial building was originally constructed, the builders should have compressed the soil beneath the foundation to provide a stable, shift-resistant base for the structure. No matter how meticulous the builders were, however, certain types of clay soil will always expand and contract rapidly, especially during drought years. This causes foundations to shift. Watch for these signs of uneven soil beneath your foundation:
Walls constructed from bricks and concrete blocks are held together by mortar. Check any exposed block walls in your building for cracks or gaps in the mortar. When the soil shifts the foundation beneath your building, the joints in block walls may crack on a diagonal, creating a telltale staircase-shaped crack climbing up the wall. You may also notice a moldy or musty smell where mortar has split and allowed moisture to seep in.
Interior and exterior doors in your building should open and close smoothly. When the foundation shifts, it can affect the alignment of door frames. Should your doors begin to stick, this could be an early warning sign that the soil beneath the structure is shifting. If you can still fully close the door, examine the gap between the door and its frame at the top edge. A tapering gap shows that the building’s foundation has begun to move.
Just like door frames, window frames can shift out of square when a building’s foundation settles. You may be unable to open the window or close it properly if foundation settlement has affected the frame’s shape. Also, watch for diagonal cracks between the corner of the window and the corner of the room, as these are also clear signs of foundation problems.
If you notice any of the above signs of foundation shifting in your home or commercial property, have a structural engineer inspect the foundation and fix any damage immediately. Call Structured Foundation Repairs, Inc. at (972) 484-1200 for professional foundation repairs. We have an excellent record of quality customer service.