Warning Signs of a Faulty Foundation

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We have all have heard someone defending a house by saying “but the foundation is solid. Could you notice the early warning signs of a failing foundation? A complete inspection of the foundation and the ability to see signs of a failing foundation are critical. Following is an outline of what to look for.

Cracking, bowing and off setting are three types of conditions that should be monitored. We will begin by taking a look at cracking.
SmallHairlineCrackFRAMEMinor cracking can occur in poured concrete and cinder block foundations. These are caused by the drying and curing process and should be no reason for alarm. These hairline cracks generally stem from a corner of a foundation window or beam pocket in a concrete foundation and mortar lines in a cinder block foundation. Examine and monitor any existing cracks for signs of shifting either in or out, where the surface on either side of the crack is not on the same plane. Monitoring of a crack over time will allow you to notice any movement or growth in the size of the crack.

The second type of failure is foundation bowing. Concrete foundations rarely bow and when they do it is a major failure. Cinder block foundations are more prone to bowing. Bowing or leaning of the foundation would be a telltale sign of foundation failure.BowingFoundation

 

Excessive water leakage through the foundation wall is an early sign of impending failure. Early signs of this would be any sediment, flaking of the paint or finish, would be a sign of water infiltration and possible failure. LargeCrackEffervesence

Cracking can be repaired but first you must address the reason for the ongoing cracking. This will require consultation with a foundation expert of structural engineer. Bowing can also be repaired, through several methods, but the visual effects of the repair can decrease the future re-sale value of the home.

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For the regular everyday homeowner I would advise you stay away from homes with either of these conditions unless you receive a significant discount.

If you are absent any of these warning signs you can be reasonably certain of a strong foundation.
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