There are many signs that you can watch to help you detect early on whether or not your home is in need of a foundational repair. Some things may simply turn out to be cosmetic in nature, while others could be mean big trouble for your home.
The main things to look for inside a home that may indicate potential foundational distress are sloping countertops or floors, doors that do not open and close properly, and cracks in the walls and ceilings.
To test and see if your floors are sloping, place a solid ball in the middle of your floor and see if it rolls on its own. If so, you may have sloping floors and settlement in your foundation. Sticky doors can also indicate sloping floors and foundation problems. Interior or exterior cracks that create a zigzag pattern and are found in brick or sheetrock are a strong indicator of movement in a foundation.
Additional signs that you can look for inside your home include walls that bulge or bow out, floors that sink in and are above a crawl space area, cracks that show up alongside of door and window openings, cracks around a fireplace, and cabinet doors that won’t stay shut.
Outside the home, watch for things like door and window gaps, chimneys that tilt, foundation cracks, water that is standing near the foundation, soil pulling away from the foundation, and failed waterproofing which includes poor gutter downspouts that do not properly dispose of rain water away from the foundation.
In basements, keep your eye out for things like water stains on walls and floors, walls leaning inward or outward, cracks in floors or walls and water leakage through floor cracks. Also, watch for separation cracks between floors and walls or sloping floors in your garage.
Remember, it is possible that some of these signs such as certain types of cracks are only surface deep and are not affecting the foundation adversely. However, it is wise to consult a trained foundational repair specialist for a proper evaluation to make that determination if you see anything that might indicate foundational distress.