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8 Signs of Foundation Issues

As a homeowner, you should know that foundation issues are bad for your entire home. You can stay on top of foundation issues by understanding the problem signs associated with them.

On this page, we’ll review 8 of the most common signs of foundation damage. That way, you can act fast and keep your home safe before the issues get worse.

Make sure to watch the video from our friends at Groundworks for a quick overview!

1. Wall & Floor Cracks

Wall and floor cracks often indicate foundation damage, which can occur for several reasons. One common cause is soil movement beneath the foundation; soil expands after rain or snow and contracts during dry periods, so the foundation shifts and leads to cracks.

Additionally, heavy loads from the building itself or nearby construction may strain the foundation, causing cracks to appear in walls and floors. These cracks are signs that the foundation should be inspected to confirm whether you’re dealing with foundation damage or not.

wall crack in a yellow wall above door

2. Sticking Doors and Windows

Sticking doors and windows are signs of foundation issues in a house. When a foundation shifts or settles unevenly, it can warp the walls and frames of the entire house.

This makes doors and windows harder to open and close. So, if your doors or windows start sticking for no clear reason, it’s likely there is a problem with the foundation that needs checking.

misaligned door crooked in a doorframe

3. Gaps Between Walls and

Wall and floor gaps often point to foundation damage, which results when the ground beneath the house shifts or settles. Usually, shifting soil occurs after heavy rain or because of improper soil compaction.

Additionally, water damage can weaken the foundation, causing it to sink or shift, while poor construction might result in a foundation that cannot adequately support the house. In any case, gaps are a warning signs that the foundation is damaged, making it a good idea to invest in a professional inspection.

large gap between a white wall and wooden floor

4. Uneven Floors

Floors that are sagging, slanting, or uneven are some of the most obvious signs of foundation damage. If the ground underneath the house shifts or settles unevenly, parts of the foundation will sink and move. Generally, this happens because soil becomes wetter or drier than usual.

Sagging floors are sometimes the result of a damaged crawl space. Regardless of the foundation type, when the foundation moves, it can make the floors inside the house become uneven or sloped.

laser measuring tool showing the unevenness of a floor

5. Leaning Chimney

Many chimneys have their own foundation separate from the main home’s foundation. As a result, a leaning chimney forms when the foundation beneath it starts to fail, usually due to the ground shifting or settling unevenly.

When the foundation isn’t stable, the chimney can start to tilt or lean away from the house. This could cause serious damage in the future, and it’s a clear sign that the home’s foundation needs attention.

gap between a brick chimney and home

6. Bowing Basement Walls

If your home has a basement, one of the clearest signs of foundation damage is a bowing basement wall. This issue arises for a number of reasons, the most common being the buildup of water next to the basement wall.

After it rains or snows, water flows below the soil, where it may collect next to the basement (especially if you have poor yard grading or drainage). As the water builds up, it exerts more and more pressure onto the basement walls and causes them to bow inward.

Keep in mind, this issue can also arise because of shifting soil that no longer supports the basement walls properly. Whatever the cause, bowing walls are a clear sign that your home’s foundation is damaged.

cement block basement wall bowing and bending

7. Mold and Musty Odors

This issue is especially prevalent in homes with a crawl space or basement. When these foundation types shift or crack (as a result of uneven soil), they allow water to easily leak inside.

If enough water builds up below your home, it will cause mold, musty odors, and wood rot. Eventually, these problems can spread into your living space, so if you notice any of them, it may indicate a foundation issue.

mold growing on wooden floor near air vents

8. Damp Walls and Leaking

This is mostly an issue in homes with a crawl space or basement. When the foundation shifts, it can cause walls to crack and bow. This makes it easier for water to leak inside, especially after rain or snow. Water intrusion will make the walls damp—leading to water damage, moldy surfaces, and high humidity in your home.

wet basement walls with damp stains

FAQs

Yes, untreated foundation leaks can lead to structural damage, indoor air quality issues, pest infestations, and damage to personal property.

Uneven floors are not always a sign of foundation damage; they can also result from normal settling, poor construction, or issues with floor joists or beams. However, if you notice significant or sudden unevenness, it’s wise to have it checked out to rule out potential foundation problems.

Usually, homeowner’s insurance does not cover issues arising from “settling, cracking, or shrinking” of the foundation. Exceptions may apply if the cracks were caused by a covered peril, such as a natural disaster. Always read your policy and consult your insurance agent for particulars. 

Schedule a Free Foundation Inspection With AFS

AFS employee holding foundation repair tool in front of work truck.

Are you seeing signs of foundation issues in your home? Consider working with our team at AFS to diagnose the problems and create an effective repair plan.

Since 2000, we’ve been helping homeowners across the Southeast United States repair their foundations. With our industry leading solutions, we can do the same for you. Contact us to schedule a free inspection and get those foundation issues resolved today!

Resources

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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