Why is My House Sinking and What Should I Do When that Happens?
As much as everyone would love his/her home to last a lifetime, unfortunately, that is not the case. This is because, as time passes, structures begin to depreciate. It loses its initial sparkle and you begin to notice some damage signs. Minor damages like cracks, for example, basic repair work would suffice. However, major damages like sinking will definitely raise safety concerns and will require more than a basic repair work to fix.
Although there may be cases where signs of a building sinking are not so evident even to the homeowner. However, with the slightest of signs, it is advisable that you consult a structural engineer or a structural engineering firm. There are so many reasons why a house sinks. It could be the age of the structure, climate, or even as close as construction errors. This article features signs of why your home is sinking and what you should do about it.
1). The Foundation Starts Settling
Foundation settling can occur as a result of many factors, some of which are:
- Climatic conditions
- Soil-related issues
Foundation settling is expected for every structure after construction. Albeit, minimally and uniformly. The foundation design and soil type affect the tolerance level. Over time, the soil can lose some of its properties, rendering the soil unable to continue supporting the weight of the structure. More often than not, the soil expands or consolidates, causing the foundation to move. This foundation movement can lead to sinking the entire building. You can notice this happening if you have cracks on your foundation.
2). Cracked Walls
As earlier stated, cracks are a common occurrence in most structures. This sign mostly occurs near windows and doorways. As harmless as cracks may appear, it could result in serious damage if left to grow over time. Although there are different reasons for cracks, a sinking foundation is one of those reasons.
Hence, it is important that you seek professional advice for cracks you notice.
3). Uneven Floors
Uneven floors could be a sign that your foundation is sinking. You might begin to notice your floors dip or sag. This often occurs in older houses. Although this could be a foundation sinking sign, there are other reasons that could be tied to uneven floors. For example, Rotting floor systems.
To be sure you’re on the safe side, consult a structural engineering firm, to confirm or debunk your suspicions.
What To Do When Settling Is Happening?
A home sinking could result in fatal structural damage. And as such, you need to consult professionals immediately. With the help of a structural engineer or structural engineering firm, you can investigate the problem and decide what is best for your home.
Once the damage is confirmed to be foundational, it important that you employ the right personnel for the job. Note that taking competitive quotes before proceeding is imperative. The steps involved in completing the task is as follows:
- Lifting of the house by slab jacking or piering.
- Gout is pumped beneath the slabs to create a pushing effect with pressure when the house lifting is by slab jacking.
- For piering, steel posts are planted in unstable soil.
- For severe damages, hydraulic jacks are used to lift the slabs until they become even.
However, it is important to note that the repair method depends on certain factors, some of which are;
- Severity of damage
- Cause of the damage
In this case, knowing the difference between foundation problems and foundation settlement is imperative. Foundation problems are usually minor and more often than not, can be fixed with quick-fixes or slightly advanced repair methods. However, foundation settlement is the main deal. But if the foundation sinking is a few inches and spread over the entire building width, it is somewhat acceptable.
However, it can get worse over time. And taking action as soon as possible is imperative.
You likewise need to check with your insurance agency so you are aware of the degree of damage they cover. It is acceptable to take the guidance of a lawyer in the event that you realize that the harm has been caused because of the carelessness of the home contractor, or any personnel. It is common knowledge that preventing damages is better than fixing them. Therefore, carrying out a periodic inspection on your home after a construction or after acquiring the home, as the case may be.