Doors not closing correctly? Cracks in the walls? Sloping floors? If the interior of your home is exhibiting these signs, you may have foundation trouble. You may be able to correct minor problems yourself, but because the foundation is the most important part of your home, when in doubt about the severity of damage, contact a professional for an immediate evaluation.
Problem: narrow cracks
A crack is considered narrow if it measures less than a quarter-inch wide, and can often be caused by concrete settling. You may notice cracks around windows, interior corners and wall openings, since these areas are the most vulnerable to foundational shifts and other movements. More often than not, these minor cracks can simply be left alone. However, if water is leaking through the damage or if you want to seal the crack for cosmetic reasons, there is a simple way to fix the problem.
Solution: seal it
Your local hardware store should have all of the supplies you need to patch up a narrow crack in an hour or less. Look for paintable silicone caulk or epoxy putty to fill and seal the crack closed. Use a caulk spatula to smooth the sealant over the surface evenly. Once you’re finished, you can choose to apply a fresh coat of paint over the new area or just leave it as is.
Problem: ill-fitting doors and windows
If you noticed that you have to slam the door to get it to close, or that your home heating costs are higher due to air leaks around the windows, foundation damage may be to blame. Inspect your property on your own and check exactly how well each door and window closes, to make sure it doesn’t fit too tightly or leave space unfilled. If doors won’t close at all, this could be a sign of a serious foundational problem.
Solution: call a professional
Caulk and weather stripping might keep your bills down for a time, and replacing doors and windows can solve the problem for even longer. However, after a little while, you’re going to need to contact a professional to give your foundation a major makeover. Even if the soil around your home is less than ideal, a foundation repair system that uses pilings driven down below your foundation can anchor your home and prevent the kind of shifting that causes those ill-fitting doors and windows. And this isn’t just a cosmetic fix – if you don’t repair foundation damage, over time, it will become worse, and you may see severe structural failures throughout your home.
Temporary home repairs can solve problems caused by foundational damage, but remember that these fixes are just that: temporary. Although DIY repairs are recommended for preventing further damage, it’s important to properly evaluate a project to make sure it truly is something within your range of skills. If it’s not something that can be fixed by a trip to the hardware store a few YouTube tutorials, contact a professional for more appropriate long-term solutions.