Nobody wants to deal with home repairs, especially not in the summer when you want to go on vacation with your family or friends. The longer days, warmer temperatures beckon you to lounge by the pool or throw burgers on the barbecue, but the hot, sunny days of summer may be the very time cracks in your foundation problems appear.
What causes foundation damage?
Cracks in the foundation of your home are caused, ironically, by the warm summer weather you enjoy so much. Keep in mind, the foundation of your home is a concrete slab or wall that supports the house. Beneath that foundation is a soil base. During the winter months, when the air is cooler and more moisture is present, the soil is damp and swollen with moisture. That gives your home’s foundation a nice, cushy base to sit on. As snow and rain accumulate over the winter months, extra moisture seeps beneath the foundation. Sometimes, it even seeps into the concrete because of imperfections such as cracks or gaps.
In the summer, when temperatures soar and the days are longer, all that excess moisture evaporates. The soil becomes dry and compacted. This creates a gap that can be filled with-you guessed it-excess water. So begins the ugly cycle of too much or too little moisture beneath your home. This nonstop cycle of compact, shrunken soil and loose, swollen soil causes the foundation to continually shift. As a homeowner, you may not even be aware of these shifts, but the concrete suffers.
Any moisture under, around, or in the foundation will expand during the cold, winter months. This stresses the concrete. As the hot summer temperatures dry out the moisture, tiny cracks begin to appear in the concrete. The cracks may be on the underside of the slab where you can’t see them. Soon, these untethered cracks will grow and spread until you have major foundation damage.
What are the signs of foundation damage?
Even before you see the cracking in the concrete, you might begin to see clues that you have foundation trouble. Here are some signs to look for:
- cracks in walls or ceilings
- cracks along basement walls or gaps between cinder blocks
- gaps around windows and doors that previously fit
- roof seems to sag in spots
- rafters may appear out of line or have cracks in wood
- floor slants or seems uneven
- water pools around the foundation
What to do if you suspect damage?
Don’t panic. Call a professional to come out for an inspection. He will quickly assess the damage and develop a proper plan of action. Things he might suggest include installing gutters or French drains to remove water near foundation walls, using jacks to lift portions of the foundation, healing cracks and applying a sealer.