You’re an A+ homeowner with a great maintenance game, but have you ever monitored your home for foundation issues? You suspect a little foundation settlement might be going on but you don’t really know what you’re looking for. How about a spring check-up?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been inspecting and repairing Brazos Valley home foundations for 35+ years. We know what to look for when it comes to developing issues and even know when is the best time to do it, and that’s spring.
This article will explain why spring is a good time to establish a baseline for your foundation’s condition and review what to look for as you do a foundation check-up on your home.
Spring Is a Good Time to Check Your Foundation for Problems
Springtime in Central Texas is *Goldilocks* time. It’s not too hot and not too cold and the ground is not too wet and not too dry either. The climate conditions are just right, for a short time anyway . . . so don’t wait and take stock of your foundation now.
Because the air is not overly hot, your home will not be doing a ton of expansion due to rising temperatures. Because the ground is not too wet, the clay soil around your home will not be doing a ton of expanding either. It’s also not cold or dry, so any contraction effects that cause settlement and sinking are also at a minimum.
This happy medium is your best time to get a snapshot of your home under what we can best call *normal* conditions. Your home will be in a baseline state where you can then observe throughout the year how things fluctuate from this spring starting point.
Check Inside the Home for Foundation Settlement Signs
Even though your foundation is a horizontal flat surface below you, your best indicators of foundation settlement actually appear on vertical surfaces at eye level or higher in your home. Weird, huh?
Take a stroll around each room of your home looking for early signs of foundation problems like:
- Diagonal cracks in drywall
- Doors that don’t work quite right
- Trim popping or separating from walls
- Cabinetry or built-ins separating from walls
These top signs of foundation settlement are good to take note of and begin to watch more closely through the year. You can even make a small mark on your wall to show where a crack ends and see if it changes over time. Just be sure to do this mark in pencil so that you can easily erase it or paint over it later on.
Do cracks open up and close again? Do cracks get longer? Do the doors not fit properly at one time of the year and then get better? Or does it all stay about the same throughout the year? Make a mental or actual note of anything you observe inside so you don’t forget.
Check Outside the Home for Possible Foundation Issues
It’s spring and not sweltering yet, so take a stroll outside your home on a nice pleasant day. Hurry, there will only be like 5 days like this . . . haha. Ooops . . . too late . . .
Remember that you are still checking vertical surfaces at eye level and some indicators of foundation settlement might even be above your head.
The common signs of foundation problems on the exterior of your home will be things like:
- Exterior doors that don’t lock or latch quite right
- Stair-step cracks in brick
- Brick and trim separations
- Brick frieze gapping mid-wall or spreading apart at the corners
Some of these items are hard to explain if you don’t already know what I am talking about. So here are photo examples of some of the issues I am referring to above.
Begin to Establish the History of Your Foundation’s Condition
History has to start somewhere so that you can look back on it. So the full story of your home’s foundation starts on the day you take this spring tour and document what you see.
A historical perspective is needed so that later on you can feel certain that you have seen changes firsthand. You will know for sure that signs of foundation issues are becoming more apparent or haven’t changed much.
Beginning this cycle of observation (and documentation if you feel like it) will help you to confidently conclude things like:
- The foundation settled years ago and hasn’t moved since, or
- The settlement is more recent, or
- The settlement appeared quickly and suddenly, or
- Settlement is happening but it’s progressing very slowly, or
- The changes happen each year but always improve i.e. seasonal settlement.
Armed with this historical knowledge of your home’s behavior, you will be able to confirm that any changes or progressions are real and not just a figment of your imagination.
On the flip side, you can also confirm that no changes are occurring. For example, even though you see evidence of a wall crack, it happened a long time ago and no changes are taking place now.
Continue Observing Annually for Settlement Signs
Now that you know when to look, what to look for, and why to start *gathering intel* on your foundation, what’s next? Well nothing yet, just know that starting to pay attention to your home puts you in the driver’s seat when/if there’s ever a time for foundation repairs later on. Just keep checking up on things each year.
You will feel empowered and know that you are making the right decision to get repairs in the future, rather than being at the mercy of some foundation repair dude.
You are THE expert when it comes to your home’s condition and behavior and know more about its history than anyone. You don’t really need fancy tools, sophisticated measuring equipment, or special qualifications to use your eyeballs and understand what’s going on around your home.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we believe in sharing what we know to help Brazos Valley homeowners even if that means revealing the top secrets in assessing foundations. Whenever you feel ready for repairs, we will be ready to get to work improving the stability and functionality of your home.
Just in case you did see some signs that concerned you a bit, here’s some more revealing information on the topic of knowing when the time is right for foundation repairs that you can check out.