Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
|

Foundation Faults

In This Article:

Page 1

A Fine Mess

The soil that sits under a building's foundation is technically part of the foundation. For this reason, foundations are only as good as the soil they're built on. Some soils are worthy elements in a foundation system. Others can cause big problems.

Cracks in foundations are amazingly common. In fact, you can pretty much count on them happening. For the most part, they're nonstructural and cosmetic in nature. As such, foundation cracks are rarely disasters. However, they can indicate factors such as construction defects, shifting ground, or moisture problems in the ground under and around the foundation, all of which can cause structural problems.

Foundation cracks can also lead to other household disasters, including wet basements, basement floods,and pest infestations. For more on dealing with these problems, turn to Bailing Things Out after a Flood, Animals in the Home, Spiders in the House, Ant Infestations in the Home, and Cockroaches in the Home.

Small Crack, Big Problem?

As mentioned, discovering a foundation crack or two is rarely cause for panic. There's really not much you need to do about them on an immediate basis as long as water or pests aren't streaming in. However, if you suddenly see some strange condition changes in your house, there's every good reason to be concerned about foundation cracks.

Here are some of the "strange" things that are cause for alarm:

  • Door sills and frames that have suddenly come apart

  • Doors and windows that suddenly don't open or close properly

  • Big cracks in interior walls near door or window corners (or both)

  • Diagonal cracks that suddenly appear in brick fireplace walls or on exterior brick or stone veneers

  • Nails that have suddenly popped out of the wall

  • Cracking or waving in floor finishes, or feeling like you're walking uphill or downhill when you walk across rooms

  • Caulking pulling away from exterior surfaces, or caulked joints on exterior surfaces separating

These are all indications of possible structural damage due to differential foundation settlement, meaning that one part of the foundation has moved more than the rest, and they all warrant calling out a structural expert for further diagnosis.

Why Cracks Happen

Lots of things can cause foundation cracks. However, there are two main culprits: soil problems and construction defects. While both can and do happen, soil tends to be a problem more often than not, especially in newer construction.



Next: Page 2 >>
|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

14 Back-to-School Fashion Trends for 2014
Send your kids back to school looking sharp! Check out 2014's hottest back-to-school fashion trends, from clothes to shoes and accessories.

Put a Stop to Bedtime Struggles
Steer clear of tears at bedtime with these helpful bedtime tips and this printable bedtime routine checklist for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!