All houses have foundations of some sort, but do you know what they are? It’s a term that can get used, but everyone who uses it could have a different definition. Our team at Metro Structural Services has decided to set the record straight on what constitutes a house foundation.
Foundations provide a solid structure for your home, and there are three main types.
In warm climates, where they don’t have to worry about dramatically changing temperatures and frost like folks who live in parts of the country with winter, most houses are built upon a solid concrete slab.
Crawlspaces are just what they sound like, small spaces under a house that have short foundation walls and are big enough or small enough depending on your viewpoint, so that you have to crawl around in them.
A full basement foundation usually consists of poured concrete walls (or cement block walls) set on footings which are sunk into the ground below the frost line. These walls are generally at least six-feet-tall, but usually taller in new homes to allow for more space in a finished basement. This option matches the floor area of the home above and doubles the living and storage space of the house.
Some people think concrete foundation walls are eternal, and once they are poured, they never require another thought. That would be nice, but it’s far from reality.
The fact is that subtle changes in the soil around your building and widely varying temperatures take a toll on your basement. Eventually, these factors can cause imperfections in the concrete. If this leads you to wonder what you should be watching for to find foundation cracks, then read on.
You may think you need to be looking below ground for signs of a cracking foundation, but the warning signs are apparent above ground in the form of changes in the structure of your home itself.
Look for floors that are uneven or sagging due to shifting and cracking in the foundation. Doorways and walls should be square but will begin to move out of place if the basement walls are changing shape. In this case, the doors may stick, and you could end up with gaps around your windows.
Of course, there are the other obvious ones like visible cracks in the concrete itself that appear suddenly and begin to grow as well as water seeping in from the soil.
If you find any of these signs or suspect that your foundation is cracking, seek out professional advice and assistance. Attacking the problem early will keep it from becoming a significant expense down the road.