Sunday, April 5th, 2020 by CJ Garcia
While curb appeal is certainly valuable, the outside of the home can also give clues indicating potential foundation problems. Seemingly small damage on the exterior of the home, such as wall cracks or sinking front steps, can indicate a failing foundation wall below. Here’s what to look for:
Depending on the style of the home and grading of the land surrounding it, you may not be able to see more than 2-3 feet of the foundation walls from the exterior of the home. However, if you do notice cracks on the exterior foundation wall, pay attention to the pattern and direction as horizontal or diagonal cracks can be a sign of foundation failure.” Horizontal cracks typically mean a wall is bowing in, while diagonal cracks more often mean there is a settling foundation.
In addition to foundation wall cracks, cracks in a brick exterior wall above the foundation can indicate a problem as well. For homes with brick or stone veneer siding, look for stair-step cracking, typically in the mortar joints of brick walls. Often, the same stair-step cracking pattern can be found in the foundation wall below and will show up on the interior side of the foundation as well – in the basement or crawl space.
A cracked or leaning chimney is another common sign of foundation settlement or structural damage. A gap between the chimney and siding can signal that the foundation below has shifted or that a drainage issue exists. If the problem has existed for a while, there is potential for additional damage through water and insect intrusion.
Gaps above windows and doors or around the garage door can indicate a problem with uneven foundation settlement. While some amount of foundation settlement is normal with the changing soils and moisture levels around your home, uneven foundation settlement can cause structural integrity issues.
Much like door and window gaps, sinking concrete porch slabs or stairs on the exterior of the home can signal a foundation problem. It’s a sign there’s been a shift in the soils below, and potentially a shift in the foundation wall(s) as well.
If you think your home is showing some of these foundation problem signs, then contact TerraFirma to schedule your free evaluation & estimate!