All new buildings settle. It’s a natural process as gravity pulls on the structure and the ground below settles in to support all that weight.
But sometimes, that house movement is not normal. All that movement can cause foundation settlement issues that can lead to serious structural problems.
So, what is the difference between normal foundation settling and foundation damage that can lead to serious structural issues?
In this post, we’ll explore how normal foundation settlement differs from a potentially damaging foundation issue. There are some clear indicators to help you distinguish between typical foundation settling and a serious foundation problem.
With this guide, you should have the knowledge to know when it’s ok, and when you should call in a professional.
Identifying House Settling vs Foundation Problems
One can affect your home’s structural integrity, the other is usually not an issue.
House settling is natural and can cause a minor wall crack, or a slight crack in the foundation wall. You might also see some drywall cracks.
But, foundation damage is a more serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. It can cause serious damage if ignored and may require professional foundation repair services.
To learn about foundation stabilization and why it is important in protecting your property, read here.
Differentiating Between the Two:
- Evaluate the severity of cracks: Small hairline cracks are usually due to normal house settling, while larger gaps often indicate a foundation problem.
- Analyze their location: Cracks near doors and windows or those running diagonally across walls could be signs of foundation movement leading to trouble. Take a closer look at house settling cracks.
- Additional symptoms: Doors that won’t close properly or bulging floors might suggest underlying foundation concerns rather than mere settling. A floor crack or bowing walls should also be carefully examined by a professional.
Watch this video, and then take a closer look at these foundation settling signs.
House settling vs foundation problems: What’s normal and when to worry
Signs of Foundation Problems vs Normal House Settling
Normal House Settling:
- Slight cracks in walls or floors: These are usually thin, less than 1/4 inch wide, and do not widen over time.
- Doors that stick slightly but still close properly: This is often due to minor shifts in your home’s structure as it settles.
- A few windows may be harder to open or close: As with doors, this could be a result of slight structural changes.
- Simple foundation cracks along the surface.
- Larger cracks in walls or floors: Cracks wider than 1/4 inch that continue to expand are indicative of serious foundation issues.
- Doors won’t close properly at all: If doors refuse to latch no matter how hard you try, this could signal significant shifting in your home’s foundation.
- All windows stick or don’t open easily: When multiple windows throughout your property have trouble opening or closing smoothly, it might point towards an underlying issue with the home’s foundation that makes the home unsafe to live in.
- Tilting Chimney: This can also cause the chimney to fall over.
If you notice any signs pointing towards potential foundation problems, you need to contact a professional foundation repair company.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Ignoring common foundation problems can lead to a serious foundation repair cost.
Brief Overview Of Causes of Foundation Problems
- Soil Movement: In areas like Houston, expansive clay soils can expand when wet and shrink when dry, causing significant soil movement. This constant shift can exert pressure on your home’s foundation leading to structural damage.
- Poor Drainage: Excessive water around your house due to poor drainage systems can cause soil saturation which in turn leads to a weakened foundation.
- Plumbing Leaks: Undetected plumbing leaks under or near the foundation slab can erode soil over time, creating voids where parts of the slab could sink or settle unevenly.
In many cases, early detection and repair by an experienced team like A-Best Foundation Repair can prevent minor issues from escalating into major structural damage.
So if you’re unsure whether it’s just normal house settling or something more serious – don’t hesitate to reach out to us for expert advice.
Is Your House Settling or Are There Serious Foundation Problems?
Don’t know if your house is settling or if there are foundation problems? It takes an experienced professional with the proper training to know which is which.
For a comprehensive assessment of the situation, This is NOT a DIY.
While some signs of house settling and foundation issues may seem similar, our trained professionals know exactly what to look for.
If you detect any abnormalities in your home’s structure – such as sloping floors, separations between walls and ceilings, or fractured drywall – seek professional assistance promptly.
Remember: early detection is key when dealing with potential foundation problems.
In addition to providing thorough inspections, A-Best also offers comprehensive solutions tailored specifically for each unique situation. So even if there are underlying issues causing concern, we can provide the solution.
Final Thoughts on House Settling VS Foundation Problems in Houston
Because of potentially serious issues that can arise with a settling foundation, knowing the difference between house settling and foundation problems is critically important.
If you see major issues like cracks in walls or floors, sticky doors and windows, or uneven floors, call in the pros ASAP.
Call today to schedule an appointment: 713-714-0015
FAQs in Relation to House Settling vs Foundation Problems
Should I be worried about house settling?
Don’t panic. A little house settling is normal. If large fissures in your walls or floors, doors that don’t shut appropriately, or windows that are hard to open/close appear, it could point to a more significant problem with the base.
How do you tell the difference between settling and foundation problems?
The key differences lie in the severity and location of damage. While minor cracks can occur due to normal settlement over time, larger ones typically suggest underlying foundation problems.
Other signs include uneven floors, gaps around window frames or exterior doors, and sticking doors/windows. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to seek professional advice from companies like A-Best Foundation Repair.
How much house settling is okay?
A certain degree of house settling is expected as homes age. Typically, this occurs during the first three years after construction is completed.
Anything beyond this could potentially point towards an issue with your home’s structure requiring professional attention.
Remember, if you’re ever in doubt whether it’s just regular settlement or there might be potential foundation issues at play – don’t hesitate to reach out for expert advice.