Where to Check Before You Get Foundation Repair
When you notice that your door begins to jam or fails to latch, cracks appear in walls, especially over the doorway, windows, or where walls meet ceilings or notice cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor, and windows that used to open and close easily and suddenly begin to stick or won’t close completely, these are signs that ought to call your attention because it could mean many things including something underneath is breaking down and causing the foundation of your house to move. But before you conclude that it is something in your foundation, you need to rule out other possible causes before doing something about it.
The first step is to check the perimeter outside your house, and go over to see if the foundation wall or the perimeter wall which rests on the footers of your foundation is basically level on each corner. Then check if any of the four sides is leaning on either side; this is if you take the whole view from afar. The next things you need to check is if at any point of the center of one foundation wall, it is either bulging toward the outside or leaning toward the inside. There are two things that you can conclude from your observation and that is if you foundation has shifted or if the soil around your foundation has pressured you wall to either expand or contract.
What you need to do next is to check if the perimeter foundation of your house is poured. If it is then the weakness of the concrete should be probed. If it appears to be chipping and flaking, poke it with a sturdy screwdriver, and go over a few spots around you perimeter foundation. This is a sign that your concrete has deteriorated. This thing could happen for many reasons. It is either the concrete mix had dirty or salty sand, or the water and center powder ration was not right. In many cases the remedy for this is to put in a new foundation.
Probing further would require you to check your structural components. In your basement or crawl space (that hallow space found underneath your flooring, where your cooling/heating pipes, water and drainage systems are located) look for posts and concrete piers (one with a metal bracket on top to brace the post) and check if they stand straight and are firmly planted underneath the beams they support.
After that you can check for serious foundation cracks which are caused by moisture which you can find in stair steps. If it is bulging or has a 1/4 inches wide crack then it should cause concern. IF there is a horizontal crack then this is quite bad news because it means that moisture is slowly eating up your structural foundation.
After going over everything “get a professional contractor”.