When your home's foundation begins to sink or settle, you probably won't notice until it advances and tell-tale signs show up. Things like wall cracks, jammed doors, and failing chimneys are some of the issues you will begin to see.
Signs of Foundation Settlement
Stair-Step Cracks In Brick/Concrete Foundation Walls
One of the surest signs that your foundation is settling is stair-step cracking and it is very common in brick and concrete block walls. Vertical cracks may widen or become uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other over time, indicating more severe displacement. Keep an eye out for cracks that are wider at the top than at the bottom.
Leaning & Tilting Chimneys
Tilting chimneys that are separating from the home are one of the most intimidating and dramatic signs of a settling foundation. Sometimes a chimney is built on a footing that is not connected to the house foundation, making it even more at risk of settlement.
Doors & Windows Sticking, Corner Cracks
Signs of foundation settlement often show up at door and window openings located above settlement areas. Their frames may not be square and cracks will present and extend from the corners above doors and windows. Doors may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Windows and doors may stick or jamb, this may become worse if they are painted--the humidity of the summer will almost glue the paint together as the door or window is pushed against the jamb.
Cracks In Drywall
Typical drywall cracks during foundation settlement are located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Cracks will often be larger and more obvious in the home’s upper levels. Drywall tape can be a giveaway if it’s ripping or coming loose. The cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.