Foundation problems in Texas are a common occurrence. Much of the state's soil consists of expansive clay with high-swelling potential. When the clay absorbs water during a rainy season, the volume increases. According to Geology.com, expansions of 10 percent are enough to cause considerable damage. When the soil dries out and shrinks, the foundation loses support, causing stress on the structure. This repetitive movement is the cause for most foundation problems in Texas and must be monitored carefully.
1. Loud Popping Sounds
The most obvious sign that a house's foundation is shifting is the sound of loud pops, creaks or cracks. Most people hear the sounds at night when the house is silent. The house will groan or pop as its weight gradually shifts from one side to the other.
2. Trees Near the House
If you are building a home, it is a good idea to build your home at least 10 feet away from existing trees. Trees growing near the house may have roots that wind underneath the home and put pressure on the foundation.
3. Rain Gutter Runoff Collecting Near the House
Check to be sure that water running out of the gutters drains away from the house. A quick solution for this problem is to dig a runoff ditch that leads the water to a lower area away from the house.
4. Stagnant Water Puddles Around the Home
After a heavy rainfall, check for water puddles near the home that do not easily drain away. These puddles are a sign of improper drainage and could lead to future foundation problems.
5. Loose or Sticky Doors
The way a door fits its frame is an indication of foundational change. A door that was previously hard to close that now shuts easily (or vice versa) is a clue that the foundation has recently shifted.
6. Cracks in the Inside Walls
Cracks at the edges of window or door frames are a sign that the foundation is shifting. Keep close watch of these areas, since many of these cracks can appear overnight.
7. Cracks in the Bricks
Cracks seen running up brick columns or fireplaces are a sure sign that the foundation is compromised, as brick is much stronger than drywall. If the bricks around your house exhibit cracks or unevenness, you need to contact an expert immediately.
8. Diagonal Cracks Near Exterior Windows
These cracks can be a sign that the caulk joints are pulling apart, according to Safety First Home Inspections.
9. Leaky Roof
A leaky roof may be caused by an uneven foundation that allows rainwater to collect in one place. Check to be sure the roof is in good shape. If the problem is not with the roof, the foundation may be to blame.
10. Doors and Windows Crooked in Their Frames
Doors and windows that hang unevenly or that do not shut properly may be a sign that the foundation is becoming uneven.
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