two story homes and foundation issues

Foundation Issues with Two-Story Homes (Causes, Signs, Inspections)

You’ve got a two-story home or maybe you’re looking to buy one. You never thought about it before but there don’t seem to be as many two-story houses around the area. Now you’re thinking – Why is that??

  • Do two-story houses have more foundation issues? 
  • Is there more to worry about with foundation problems and two-story homes? 
  • What about the signs and causes compared to one-story homes?
  • What are you in for if you have a two-story house?
Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

How about we pump the brakes on this panic spiral and get some real answers from a foundation repair contractor? Okay, maybe you’re not panicking and just curious . . . but either way, let’s check with the experts.

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have inspected and repaired thousands of Brazos Valley homes over our 35+ years in business. We’ve looked at both two and one-story homes all over the place and can tell you what we know.

This article discusses the differences between two-story homes and one-story homes when it comes to foundation problems. We go over the typical signs and causes of foundation issues as well as what might be different about the inspection process for a two-story home.

Are 2-Story Homes More Prone to Foundation Settlement?

There is a type of foundation settlement called *initial settlement* and it is related to the weight of the home and gravity when a home is first built. Thinking logically, we know that two-story homes are heavier than one-story homes. You might conclude that two-story homes are therefore more likely to experience foundation settlement or problems. 

two story homes and foundation problems

So far, we haven’t found that to be true.

Although we don’t specifically track how many stories the homes we work on have, we haven’t noticed any glaring trends or obvious patterns. Whether a home is two-story or one-story it seems to be just as likely to have or not have foundation issues. 

We do not do more foundation repairs on two-story homes than one-story homes, it’s pretty proportional. If anything, we work on more one-story homes simply because there are more one-story homes in our area.

Am I Having Foundation Issues Because It’s a 2-Story House?

If you currently have a two-story house, you might be inclined to blame your foundation issues on the fact that it is two stories. But since no major patterns have jumped out at us in the past 35+ years, we’re gonna say that’s unlikely.

There are so many factors that contribute to one home experiencing foundation issues and another not. Things like drainage, landscape elevation, and rainfall, as well as home footprint and the presence of additions, can all play a part in foundation settlement. 

do 2 story houses have more foundation problems?

But the #1 biggest reason that any home has foundation problems is due to the actions of expansive clay soils.

So if you’re looking for a culprit, don’t blame the number of stories you have, just look down and give the dirt your best *dirty* look . . . 

There are even reasons that have nothing to do with the dirt (and still nothing to do with how many stories your house has) where you might have foundation issues while your neighbor doesn’t. For example, you could have an under-slab plumbing problem causing the settlement in your home.

What Are the Signs of Foundation Problems for 2-Story Homes?

The signs of foundation issues in a two-story home are no different than a one-story. The top signs of foundation issues are:

top signs of foundation problems
  • Diagonal cracks in drywall,
  • Doors sticking, not closing, or latching correctly,
  • Exterior stair-step brick cracks,
  • Separations of trim, and
  • Movement of built-ins and other inside fixtures.

The only real difference with a two-story home is that settlement signs and problems can be more pronounced on the second level. The farther distance from the base of the home causes an amplified effect on any movement.

You will never have signs of foundation settlement occurring only on the second floor and no signs on the first floor. If that is the case, then you’ve likely got a framing issue and not a foundation issue.

How Are 2-Story Homes Inspected for Foundation Issues?

The foundation assessment and estimate process to determine where settlement is occurring (and how much it costs to fix it) is generally the same for both one-story and two-story homes. A foundation inspector will look inside and outside, measuring the home and looking for the telltale signs of foundation problems. 

The walls and areas where the signs are located and heading tell us where your foundation has settled and in what direction.

looking for signs of foundation issues in a two story house

When assessing a 2-story home during a foundation inspection, we often won’t even need to visit the upstairs. If the signs are already present on the first floor, you can bet that the effects are transferring to the upper level. We don’t have to go up there to see where your settlement is occurring.

You only have one foundation, and it’s at the base of your home. So the ground floor tells us everything we need to know.

However, the foundation repair contractor you choose should be willing to look at and discuss anything that you are concerned about. Sometimes homeowners are not clear on the real and false signs of foundation issues. Some home issues get confused with foundation problems when they actually have another cause. 

Foundation inspections are the time to discuss your worries, so take advantage when you have the ear of an expert on hand.

Think You Need a Foundation Inspection for Your 2-Story Home?

Now that you know that two-story homes are not more susceptible to foundation problems, do you still think you have an issue and want someone to come look at your home? Sometimes you just want the eyes of a professional . . . we get it . . .

foundation repair for two story homes

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we offer fair and impartial assessments, empowering education, and a fully transparent repair process. After 35+ years in business, we want you to know as much about foundation repair as we do and we’ve got no secrets to hide from the BCS community.

If you’re in the Brazos Valley, reach out to us 24/7 with our online contact form. If you’re out of our service area, we suggest you take a few moments to think about what you need in a foundation repair company before scheduling an inspection with just anyone.