Signs of Foundation Problems

Usually the signs are obvious – cracks in plaster walls, a basement wall crack that extends from floor to ceiling, doors that stick, sagging floors, pooling water near a slab foundation, or a wet crawl space after precipitation falls.

The movement and shifting of the soil underneath your home is often the root of foundation problems. Signs and symptoms of these problems include:

Basement/crawl space moisture
: A wet, leaking basement or crawl space moisture can contribute to several home issues including musty smells, mold growth and sagging, uneven floors throughout the house. Water and moisture seep in through foundation cracks.

Bugs in the basement: Bugs such as centipedes, pill bugs, silverfish, earwigs, carpenter ants and roaches are drawn to wet basements and often enter through cracks in the foundation.

Uneven and sagging floors
: Warped or sagging flooring can be related directly to foundation problems. Shifting soil, humidity from water seepage and inadequate foundation waterproofing can contribute to flooring issues.

Cracked and bowed walls: Cracks and bowing in walls can be fixed. However, there is often an underlying issue – soil movement under the foundation, hydrostatic pressure and poor water drainage are three common culprits.

Crooked doors: When a foundation settles, cracks or shifts, problems such as crooked doors develop in the house. Like flooring and wall issues, crooked doors may occur because of moisture issues in the basement or crawl space.

Cracked chimney: Poor exterior drainage or expanding soil can cause foundations to crack and settle, resulting in a tilting or cracked chimney. Pilings can be installed to reinforce an unstable chimney.

Standing water under house
: Rainwater must divert away from the house via gutters, properly directed downspouts and drainage systems. Improper drainage often causes water to collect under the house, resulting in foundation problems.


In addition to expansive soil, many homes foundations are adversely affected by the following problems:

Improper drainage: The most common sign of poor drainage is water pooling and forming swampy areas near a home’s foundation; another indication is a damp or leaky basement. Poor drainage can occur as a result of clogged or damaged gutters, or because the land surrounding a home isn’t properly graded away from the structure.

Water leaks under the slab: Slab foundations conceal sewer lines and water pipes; when a leak develops in hidden line, it can cause the slab to deteriorate. This type of problem may cause moist areas in interior floors, or homeowners may notice a sudden spike in their water bills – but more often than not a slab leak will go unnoticed. Leak isolation testing is the preferred method for detecting slab leaks.

Tree root intrusions
: Large trees can cause foundation problems as roots grow through the soil underneath the home. The intruding roots can exert significant pressure on under-slab water pipes and basement foundations. They can also leech moisture from the ground, causing soil to contract away from the home.

Source: 604 Inspections