Protecting Your Home’s Footprint: Simple Ways to Spot an Uneven Foundation

Your home offers you security and peace of mind and is much more than just a roof over your head which is why you need to keep it in good order and do what you can to protect it from damage.

New Home

One of the most worrying things that can happen to your home is when you discover that there might be a problem with your foundation, as this can spell bad news for the integrity of your property.

Here is a look at how to spot any potential problems with your foundation, such as interpreting clues that it has become uneven or damaged in some other way, plus some tips on what sort of remedial action you need to take straight away.

Is there a settlement issue?

It might be obvious to say but it is worth emphasizing that your home will become susceptible to further damage if there is any sort of problem with the foundation and there are a number of things that can go wrong here including settlement.

settlement cracks

Whether you refer to it as settlement or sinking the consequences are the same and they can be very severe, so you would be wise to act swiftly and contact someone like if you suspect any sort of damage has occurred to your home.

The problem with settlement is that it is a progressive scenario where the damage mostly worsens over a period of time rather than suddenly creating the equivalent of a sinkhole that starts to consume your property.

When your home is built, the foundation is placed on a wider platforms below them which are commonly referred to as footings and it is when these footings start to break as a result of insufficient support, this is when settlement occurs.

Because this process happens over time you will normally get a number of visual clues to suggest that there is a problem and this is your opportunity to investigate and take action before it gets any worse.

Mortar joints out of line

If you watch a mason constructing a brick wall you will immediately notice how attentive they are to using a level and ensuring that the brickwork has straight level lines between each brick.

One of the most obvious clues that you might have a settlement problem is when those lines have shifted and foundation repair companies will often use a laser line against mortar joints to verify if settlement is causing your foundation to shift unevenly.

Don’t ignore cracks

If you have any clearly visible signs of cracking on either the interior or exterior walls of your home you must investigate the reason for this happening.

Cracked wall

Some hairline cracks might not be that serious but larger and longer cracks that run horizontally and any cracks that appear in your concrete slab or basement floor might also be signs of settlement and you should consider calling a professional to see if there is a foundation issue that needs addressing urgently.

Is your floor leaning?

Another visual clue that is not that hard to spot is when your floors have become uneven.

Slanted floors can often be an indication of settlement and your first course of action should be to get the tape measure or a laser line on it and confirm whether your suspicions are correct and your floor has become uneven.

sloping floor

It should be remembered that even when you carry out a series of different measurements along the walls and in various locations along the floor to confirm that the surface has become uneven, it doesn’t always mean that you have a foundation problem.

It could also be pointing to sagging beams or joists, but either way, it is not good news and action will need to be taken to correct the problem.

Trouble with doors and windows

Sometimes the clues might be more subtle and before large cracks appear you might develop some problems with windows and doors not opening or closing properly.

If there is a problem with your foundation it can cause a horizontal drop across your doorway, for example, which is normally a sign that your foundation is sinking toward the middle.

Window frame

Use a level over the door frame to confirm what is happening and if you find that any windows or doors are not opening or closing as easily as they used to, it is best to find out why, not just for the sake of convenience and being able to shut it properly.

In order to protect your home and protect your investment you will need to make sure the foundation is solid and not moving, if you find any evidence to suggest otherwise, take action and call a professional immediately.

Emma Mellor is an office manager for a small construction company. Always looking for the latest industry news, she enjoys sharing what she finds on various homeowner and building blogs.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.