Identifying Foundation Problems
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(A home’s foundation can harbor serious problems when left unchecked! Photo courtesy of Photobucket.com)
Though it might not be the first area that springs to mind when talking about saving energy, a house’s foundation actually has quite a significant part to play when it comes to identifying energy inefficiencies. For example, the area where the top of the foundation wall meets the wood framing surrounding doors and windows is a very common area forair leakage. In order to save energy and improve your home’s comfort, every effort should be made to identify foundation problems, and to seal any air leaks or repair any damage that might be there.
Top 10 signs of foundation problems:
- Uneven or sloping floors
- Cracks in exterior or interior brick
- Displaced or cracked moldings
- Wall rotation
- Cracks in walls or bowing of walls
- Cracks in floor, tiles, or foundation
- Doors and windows won’t open or close properly
- Separation of doors, windows, and garage doors
- Spaces between wall and ceiling, or floor
- Walls separating from house
If you spot cracks in your foundation, there’s no need to panic; what’s important is the nature of the cracks, because all foundations have few. Hairline cracks, for example, are nothing to worry about; these are probably due to concrete shrinkage. Small cracks (1/16 inch wide) can be easily addressed by painting over with waterproof concrete paint – just make sure you check to make sure the paint hasn’t cracked.
However, stair step cracks in masonry joints, a bulging wall or a crack bigger than ¼ inch are more problematic and may indicate moisture problems. In this case, you’ll need to talk to a RESNET Certified Contractor or Builder who can advise you on what needs to be done. The most serious types of cracks are horizontal ones, which could mean that water-saturated soil from outside has frozen, expanded and broken into the foundation. A worst-case scenario could mean having to get a new foundation. Once again, a RESNET Certified Contractor or Builder would be the best person to advise you on your options.
If you’ve identified any foundation problems or have concerns about your home’s foundation, contact a RESNET Energy Smart Contractor or Builder today.