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About TerraFirma

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure - Image 1

Your home's foundation is arguably the most important component in a series of systems that work together to keep you and your family safe. It is literally what supports your home. So, when you see a symptom of potential foundation failure, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. To help you know what to look for, here are the four stages of foundation wall failure to pay attention to.

Stage 1- Horizontal Cracking

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure - Image 2

Horizontal cracking near the middle of the wall is one of the first symptoms you'll notice when it's bowing. Horizontal cracks usually start small and increase in width and severity over time.

Stage 2 - Stair-Step Cracking

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure - Image 3

You may notice some stair-step cracking near the corners where the walls meet. This is the most common place for stair-step cracking to start, indicating a wall that is beginning to bow in. This typically indicates that the problem is getting worse. As the walls bow more severely in the middle, the corners are held up by adjacent walls, resulting in a familiar stair-step crack pattern.

Stage 3 – Bottom Shear

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure - Image 4

You'll often see the second to bottom row of your block wall start to ‘shear’ and begin to slide inward. The bottom row is generally held in place by the flooring. Another example of a stage 3 symptom is a wall that is leaning inward at the top. When you see that a concrete block foundation wall is beginning to lean in at the top, you are dealing with a very serious structural problem. It means the connection of your foundation wall to the framing of the house has been compromised. Complete wall failure is imminent. At this point, you must contact a foundation repair specialist to correct the issue.

Stage 4 – Foundation Wall Failure 

Four Stages of Foundation Wall Failure - Image 5

When the issue has been neglected for too long, you now have what they call in the industry an “indoor garden.” Total wall failure. Not only does wall failure pose a safety risk and potentially further damage to your home and property, but it is also a more expensive problem to fix than less severe wall issues.

What Do you Do?

Foundation problems only get worse over time. Hoping, praying and putting them out of your mind won't reverse the symptoms and make the situation better. Foundation problems will never be less expensive to fix than they are today. This is your home's foundation we're talking about. It supports your house and everything in it, including your family. Can you afford to let it deteriorate?

Thankfully, most foundation problems caught early enough, can be repaired using the latest technology and techniques. In many cases, your home's foundation can be stabilized permanently, so you can restore your home's value along with your peace of mind.


our service area

We serve the following areas

  • Adams
  • Adrian
  • Arock
  • Athena
  • Baker City
  • Bates
  • Bridgeport
  • Brogan
  • Burns
  • Cove
  • Crane
  • Drewsey
  • Durkee
  • Elgin
  • Enterprise
  • Haines
  • Halfway
  • Harper
  • Helix
  • Hereford
  • Huntington
  • Imbler
  • Imnaha
  • Ironside
  • Jamieson
  • Jordan Valley
  • Joseph
  • Juntura
  • La Grande
  • Lostine
  • Meacham
  • Milton Freewater
  • North Powder
  • Nyssa
  • Ontario
  • Oxbow
  • Pendleton
  • Pilot Rock
  • Prairie City
  • Richland
  • Riverside
  • Summerville
  • Sumpter
  • Ukiah
  • Union
  • Unity
  • Vale
  • Wallowa
  • Westfall
  • Weston
Our Locations:

TerraFirma Foundation Systems
761 NE Garden Valley Blvd.
Roseburg, OR 97470

TerraFirma Foundation Systems
13110 SW Wall St
Portland, OR 97223

TerraFirma Foundation Systems
10111 S Tacoma Way D5
Tacoma, WA 98499

TerraFirma Foundation Systems
2001 NE 117th ST
Vancouver, WA 98686
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