When you notice that your home is starting to show signs of damage, it can be difficult to determine what the problem is. Is your home settling? Or are you dealing with foundation problems? In this article, we will discuss the differences between Foundation problems vs settling, so that you can determine which one is affecting your home.
Settling occurs when your home settles into the ground. This can happen over time and is often due to extreme weather conditions or the amount of moisture in the ground. Settlement usually happens slowly, and you may not notice it until you see hairline cracks in your walls or ceilings.
Foundation problems, on the other hand, are caused by a variety of factors, including poor construction, improper soil preparation, and water damage. Foundation problems can occur suddenly or over time, and they can be much more serious than settling.
What Is Foundation Settling?
Foundation settling is when your home’s foundation sinks into the ground. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it usually happens because the ground around your home has shifted or eroded. Foundation settling usually happens slowly, so you might not even notice it at first. But over time, you might start to see cracks in your walls or doors that won’t close properly.
How does settling happen?
Over time, the soil beneath a foundation can shift and change. This often happens when there is prolonged exposure to moisture or water, which can cause the soil to expand or contract. This movement can put stress on your foundation, causing it to crack or settle.
Dirt and soil are made up of small particles that can be moved around easily. When there is too much water in the ground, it can cause these particles to shift and move. This can cause your foundation to settle into the ground.
Two Periods of Settling
There are two periods of settling:
Primary Settlement: This is when your foundation first settles into the ground. It usually happens soon after your home is built, and it can take a few months to a year for it to happen.
Secondary Settlement: It is an ongoing settlement and it occurs over time as your building ages. This is a long-term settling that takes place gradually. It can be controlled with proper maintenance.
Common Signs Your Building is Settling
There are several common signs that your building is settling. Some of these signs include:
1) Cracks in the walls or ceilings
One of the most common signs of settling is cracks in the walls or ceilings. These cracks are usually small at first, but they can get bigger over time.
If you see cracks in your walls or ceilings, it’s important to have them assessed by a professional. They will be able to determine if the cracks are due to settling or another issue, such as water damage.
2) Gaps between the doors and frames
The doors might start to become misaligned with the frames, and you might notice big gaps appearing. This happens when your home starts to settle unevenly. The doors are no longer sitting level with the frames, and there are now gaps. If you see this happening, it’s definitely a sign that your home is settling.
Gaps in the foundation are different. These occur when there is water damage or poor construction. The water damage can cause the concrete slab to crack, which then creates gaps.
3) Doors and windows that won’t close properly
Another common sign of settling is doors or windows that won’t close properly. This can be caused by a foundation that has shifted, which puts stress on the door and window frames.
The door or window may also be out of level, which can cause it to bind when you try to close it. If you have a door or window that won’t close properly, it’s important to have it inspected by a foundation repair expert.
The aligned walls will cause the house to be unstable and can even lead to a collapse. If you notice your walls are not aligned, it’s important to call a foundation repair specialist right away.
4) Seeping in the basement
If you have a basement, one of the first signs of foundation problems is seeping. Seeping occurs when water starts to come through cracks in the foundation. This can be caused by a number of different things, but it’s most often caused by a settling foundation.
Seeping can also be caused by hydrostatic pressure. When water builds up in the ground, it applies pressure to your foundation. This can cause cracks to form, which then allows water to seep into your basement.
5) Trim or molding coming off the walls
Trim or molding falling off the walls is another typical indication of foundation issues. This happens when the house settles and the walls start to shift. The trim or molding is no longer level with the wall, and it can eventually come loose and fall off.
The same thing can happen with tiles. If you have tile floors or concrete block walls, they can start to crack and come loose when the foundation settles.
6) Slanted Floors
If you have slanted floors, it’s a definite sign that your foundation is settling. The floors will start to slope and become uneven. This happens when the foundation settles and one side of the house settles more than the other.
The best way to fix slanted floors is to level the foundation. This can be done with piering or mudjacking. Once the foundation is level, the floors will become level as well.
7) Cracks in the foundation
Cracks in the foundation are one of the most common signs of foundation problems. These cracks can be caused by a number of different things, but they’re most often caused by settling.
If you’re noticing any of these signs in your home, it’s important to call a foundation repair specialist right away. A settling foundation is a serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the problems get worse, because by then it will be too late.
What Are Foundation Problems?
When your building’s settlement is severe, foundation problems arise. This is much more than typical settling that occurs naturally in structures. These problems make your building’s foundations weak and unable to support the building, which can lead to all kinds of problems. Foundation problems have a detrimental impact on the stability and integrity of your building’s foundation.
What Causes Foundation Problems?
There are many things that can cause foundation problems. Some of the most common causes include:
1) Poorly compacted soil
The soil around your foundation should be compacted properly before your foundation is poured. If it’s not, the soil will settle over time and put pressure on your foundation. This can cause horizontal cracks to form, which then allows water to seep in and damage your foundation.
Compacted soil is especially important in areas with high water tables. When the water table is high, the soil around your foundation can become saturated. This puts even more pressure on your foundation and can cause it to settle.
2) Poor drainage around the foundation
If the ground around your foundation doesn’t drain properly, water can pool around your foundation. This can put pressure on your foundation and cause it to settle. It can also lead to cracks forming, which then allows water to seep in and damage your foundation.
It is important to make sure the ground around your foundation is sloped away from your foundation. This will help water drain away from your foundation and prevent it from pooling around your building.
3) Tree roots
The roots of trees can also put pressure on your foundation. They can grow under your foundation and lift it up, or they can grow next to your foundation and push against it.
This is why it’s important to have trees that are far away from your slab foundation. If you have trees close to your foundation, their roots could be damaging your foundation expansion.
4) Material and size
The type of material your foundation is made of and the size of your foundation can also affect its stability. Foundations that are made of weaker materials or are smaller in size are more likely to settle than foundations that are made of stronger materials or are larger in size.
This cause is often the result of poor planning or construction. If your foundation is made of weak materials or is too small, it’s more likely to settle and cause problems.
When adding an addition to your home, you need to make sure the foundation can support the additional weight. If not, the foundation will settle and cause problems.
The same is true for any heavy objects that are placed on your foundation. If your foundation wasn’t designed to support the weight of the object, it will settle and cause problems.
These are just some of the most common causes of foundation problems. If you have foundation issues, it is critical to contact a foundation repair expert right away. They will be able to determine the cause of your problem and fix it before it gets worse.
Most Common Signs of Foundation Problems
There are several signs that you may have foundation problems. Some of the most common signs include:
1) Foundation Settling Or Sinking
The most common sign of foundation problems is when your foundation settles or sinks. This can cause cracks in your foundation, which can lead to further damage. Your foundation may be settling as a result of the soil beneath it shifting or crumbling.
The sinking of your foundation can also be caused by the loss of support from the soil around it. This can happen when there is too much water in the soil, which can cause it to expand and push against your foundation.
2) Sagging floors
If you have sagging floors, it is a sign that your foundation is not level. Sagging floors can also be caused by the beams and joists in your flooring system becoming weak. This can happen if they are not properly supported, or if they are damaged.
Another cause of sagging floors is the foundation settlement. When your foundation settles, it can cause the floors above it to sag. Sagging floors can also be a sign of termite damage. If you have termites in your home, they may eat away at the wood support beams on your floors, causing them to sag.
3) Foundation Upheaval
If you have foundation upheaval, it means that your foundation is pushed up from the ground. This can happen when there is too much water in the soil around your foundation. The water can cause the soil to expand and push against your foundation.
Foundation upheaval can also be caused by the roots of trees or shrubs growing into your foundation. The roots can push against your foundation and cause it to crack.
4) Leaning chimneys
If your chimney is leaning, it is a sign that your foundation has shifted. The shift in your foundation can be caused by the settling of the soil around your home. The leaning of your chimney can also be caused by the expansion of the soil beneath it.
The foundation shrinkage and soil expansion can happen when there is too much water in the ground. The water can cause the soil to expand and push against your foundation. The leaning of your chimney can also be caused by the contraction of the soil beneath it.
The contraction of the soil can happen when there is a drought. The lack of water in the ground can cause the soil to contract and pull away from your foundation.
5) Foundation Cracks
If you have cracks in your foundation, it is a sign that your foundation has shifted. The shift in your foundation can be caused by the settling of your home or the expansion and contraction of the soil. Cracks in your foundation can also be caused by water damage.
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between foundation problems and settling. If you’re not sure which one your home is experiencing, it’s best to consult with a professional. They will be able to assess the situation and come up with the best course of action.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about foundation repair, please contact us. We’re always happy to help!