The moment your home's foundation starts to develop structural issues, it is only a matter of time before it manifests on your property. However, some homeowners assume that minor repairs here and there, for example, sealing of the cracks appearing on the walls would address the problem. In truth, unless the underlying issue that lies at your foundation is fixed, you will end up severely compromising your entire structure. This is why underpinning services are essential. A professional contractor can come, assess the extent of the damage to your foundation, and discern what would be the best approach to remedy the problem. This article expounds on the leading causes of foundation problems and the various symptoms that your home would present.
Causes of foundation issues
No matter what type of material that you choose for your foundation, whether concrete or timber, structural issues can occur due to various stressors. Some of the reasons why your foundation may develop problems include:
- Degradation of the foundation's stem walls: Your foundation's stem walls refer to structures that a built directly above the concrete slabs used to construct the foundation. The stem walls function as the overall base for the foundation, and this is where the walls and the flooring of your primary structure are constructed on the foundation. If the stem walls start to deteriorate, it causes a chain reaction of damage to your foundation as well as your residence.
- Settling of the foundation: although your foundation is designed to be steady, settlement can occur over time. Either this movement of the foundation comes about due to severe weather that changes the shrinkage of the soil or by shifting of the earth, which causes displacement of the soil. With the pressure the foundation is under, any movement can induce the formation of cracks, causing subsequent damage to the structure.
- Heaving of the foundation: Heaving occurs when the soil beneath the foundation starts to rise. The rising typically happens when the soil is trying to compensate for displacement that has occurred due to the settlement, but it can also come about due to the earth shifting.
Symptoms of foundation problems
If you suspect that you may be in need of underpinning services, you should look out for the following symptoms:
- Lengthening cracks on the walls and floors of your residence as this will indicate the problem is getting worse.
- Signs of bowing in your walls, which is where external pressure causes the walls to curve inward.
- The sinking of the flooring inside both the home as well as the patio, the verandah and other exterior extensions.