Foundation damage isn't always as obvious as gaping cracks or a flooded basement. It's important to know the less obvious symptoms so you can catch problems early.
1. Exterior Trim Gaps
When walking around the exterior of your home, does it look like the trim along the top of the siding or around windows and doors isn't quite lining up? Sometimes gaps may indicate an issue with the trim or siding installation, but not always. If gaps start appearing, particularly in more than one place, that weren't there previously, it could mean that your foundation is settling unevenly.
2. Leaning Chimneys
Chimneys are often attached to the side of the house but separate from the main foundation. If there are foundation problems caused by sinking, cracks, or uneven settling, the chimney may remain standing but a gap will form because the foundation is causing the wall to tilt away from the chimney. Any gaps or apparent leaning of the chimney needs to be addressed right away. The issue could be with the masonry of the chimney, but it's also likely that there is a foundation issue.
3. Door and Window Issues
Sometimes the doors and windows provide the first clue that something is out of alignment with your foundation. Windows will stick, making them hard to open or close, because the frame has shifted out of position due to foundation woes. Or, a door latch may no longer line up or the door will become difficult to close. Any issues with windows and doors should be checked out, particularly if more than one fixture is affected.
4. Slanting Floors
When you drop something on the floor it should more or less stay in the same place. If everything you drop that is capable of rolling tends to roll in the same direction, then your foundation is likely uneven. This could be a harmless issue from the original settling of the house, or it could indicate a developing problem. For these reasons it is best to have it checked out.
5. Interior Trim Movement
Much like exterior trim, interior trim may also show symptoms of foundation damage. Baseboards may no longer sit flush to the floor, or crown molding may develop gaps where it attaches to the ceiling. Built-in cabinets and shelves may also fall out of position with the surrounding ceilings or countertops if there are foundation issues.
Contact a home foundation repair contractor if you suspect that something may be wrong with your foundation.