Posts Tagged: signs of foundation issues

A Visual Guide to Understanding Foundation Problems

5 Common Causes of Foundation Problems

We had this amazing infographic designed as a handy reference for property owners in Plano and the Dallas-Fort Worth area highlighting potential areas of concern that can lead to foundation failure.



Key Takeaways

  1. Most Foundation Problems Begin with Water and Moisture Issues
  2. Property Owners can reduce the chance of foundation problems by ensuring the abutting ground has the proper slope and grade to direct water away from the foundation

About Company

Stratum Foundation Repair, the highly regarded company for Foundation Repair in Plano TX, is owned by Ryan Hise. With several DFW locations, they can be reached at their Plano location.

Stratum Foundation Repair


Stratum is a family owned foundation repair company serving Plano, TX and the surrounding area. We can help you diagnose house settling issues, drainage problems, and fix your foundation problems right the first time.
101 E Park Blvd STE 600

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media
Google +

Reading the Signs of Foundation Issues (2/4)

Now that you have a basic knowledge of foundations in Part 1 of this series, and the basic causes of foundation issues, it’s time to learn more about the signs indicating that you may have a problem with your home’s foundation.

When it comes to your foundation, do you know what’s worth noticing? This series discusses foundation issues you should watch out for, explains how to evaluate them and, ultimately, can help you determine if it’s time to take action and begin the foundation repair process. Once you decide it’s time to take action, discover how to find and consult with a foundation repair expert near you. 

Most people think “foundation issues” when they see a crack in drywall. However, experts explain that there’s more than one type, as cracks may simply be a cosmetic issue, rather than a foundation issue.

Assessing Cosmetic vs. Structural Foundation Damage

Visible drywall cracks, most commonly referred to as hairline cracks, don’t necessarily indicate a serious problem. These may also occur seasonally and are commonly referred to by experts as “seasonal settlement cracks,” which is a cosmetic issue.

However, foundation problems are a structural issue – which means they can really mess up the structure of your home if not taken care of properly. So, one’s a bigger concern over than the other, even though you may think both look bad. Cosmetic issues are a much easier fix and one hairline crack won’t necessarily indicate you have a foundation problem with your home.

Help, I See a Crack! What Kind is it – Cosmetic or Structural?

One helpful tip recommended by a foundation consultant with Stratum Foundation Repair, a Texas-based foundation repair company, is to determine whether a crack is cosmetic or structural. This expert recommends performing a “quarter test” on cracks to help determine whether or not a foundation may need repair.

How to perform the “quarter test” on a crack in your home: when you see a crack, if you can take an edge of a quarter and stick it inside the crack, it’s probably something that needs to be investigated further by an expert. If that crack is opening up, it means things (aka the bones of your home) are pulling apart.

While any noticeable crack is a cosmetic issue in itself, a structural issue stems from things pulling apart. If it comes out too far, parts are no longer connected, which is obviously a bad thing.

If you see a crack that’s smaller or what’s commonly referred to as a hairline crack, then they’re most likely seasonal movement cracks. As long as the crack isn’t widening or separating, there’s not as much cause for concern.

The signs associated with foundation damage usually occur in tandem, with more than one at a time. It’s usually unlikely that a bunch of different signs or cracks don’t have separate causes.

That means it’s not enough to have just one crack to correctly assume it’s a foundation issue. When the foundation moves, it’s causing many pieces of the foundation to move. Experts look to find a concentration of cracks and breaks, along with evaluating other areas of the home for common signs indicating foundation problems.

Basically, foundation consultants typically look anywhere where there’s a joining of two materials because those are weak spots: brick meets window, trim meets window, ceiling meets wall, etc.

6 most common signs of foundation issues include:

  1. Water bill inconsistencies:  If your water bill shoots up suddenly, it may indicate a foundation issue related to a plumbing leak.
  2. Odors: A foul order coming from soil near house is another warning sign of foundation problems.
  3. Cracks: This is the most common issue homeowners notice. Signs of foundation issues in relation to cracks include several cracks popping up on walls, near ceilings above doors and in corners.
  4. Doors and door frames: If you begin to notice that doors are not opening or shutting properly or are not matching to the frame properly as it once did, this is another foundation issue indication.
  5. Separation of freeze boards (the jointed trim near the roofline and on the corners of the home): When you are able to see a separation in this area, it often signifies that the foundation is moving. Experts look for separation higher up, which is easier to spot.
  6. Expansion joints (the lines in between bricks that look like caulking): Expansion joints exist to help combat the issue of moving bricks, since bricks typically don’t allow any sort of movement. But, when there’s an issue, you can see displacement, usually near the top of the wall.

Remember, if at any point there’s a concern that your home may have foundation issues, it’s important to act immediately. If you believe you may have a foundation issue after evaluating your home for these common signs, it’s time to consult a foundation expert.

Companies, like our Texas-based Stratum Foundation Repair, offer free foundation inspections to get to the bottom of the issue. Our foundation repair company will help you resolve whether or not there’s an issue and, if so, what you can do to resolve it.  We’ll also help you assess both the current problem and also create a plan that helps combat any future foundation issues from occurring.

Now that you’re able to better determine whether or not you may have a foundation issue, we’ll next dive into the foundation repair process so you’ll get a better understand of what to expect. Go here to read Part 3 in the series.

Ask The Expert Series 1: Foundation Basics & Problem Causes (1/4)

It’s common for homeowners to notice things they believe to be signs of foundation problems. This series encompasses everything you need to know about your home’s foundation: starting with a basic understanding of what a foundation is below. This is Part 1 of 4 in an ongoing blog series that was developed from an interview with one of our foundation consultants. To listen to the full interview, please find the audio here.

Let’s start with the basics and give you a foundation of knowledge on, well, foundations!

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t even think about their home’s foundation until a problem arises that needs repair. And, while many of these issues can be repaired, there are also things you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place.

First, let’s look into foundation repair and what causes foundation problems to begin with. Thanks to the help of a foundation repair expert from Stratum Foundation Repair based in Dallas, Texas, here’s all the information you need to understand the basics. This will help you understand the issues that arise and how to best avoid them from happening at all.

Concrete Slab Foundation Basics

The key to understanding your home’s foundation is right underneath it. The earth under your home is what it sits upon, and it’s also what usually impacts the changes – and sometimes, issues – that occur.

Most people don’t give the ground underneath their homes a second thought. But, it’s that very ground, and its contained moisture, that can give you a run for your money in foundation repair.

Understanding the Root of the Problem

For example, consider a home within the Dallas area – one of the highest areas in need of foundation repair. Why? Clay. The earth in this area is most commonly comprised of clay. This especially impacts the movement of a foundation because clay expands. Think of it as a sponge – it contracts when dry, expands when wet. Couple that with dry weather patterns; like a drought, or over-watering and you can easily imagine why this area is ripe with foundation inconsistencies.

You may be thinking, if all of the land is clay, and there’s a drought, wouldn’t logic follow that the clay underneath the foundation simply contracts? This assumption is incorrect, because foundations are impacted by any inconsistencies within the earth and, unfortunately, can happen both naturally and unnaturally (as in, we’re doing things to the soil, like watering in certain areas, that can make it worse).

For example, something as simple as a tree can lead to inconsistencies. If one side of the home with a tree is being watered daily, the clay expands on that side of the home. If the tree isn’t being watered daily, it pulls a great deal of moisture out from the soil (trees can drink up to 100 gallons of water daily), causing it to contract. Meanwhile, the other side of the home, without a tree, gets less water and contracts if the tree is being watered. Or, perhaps, contains more moisture than the side the tree is pulling moisture from.

Common Causes of Foundation Issues

While there are many different causes and cases that cause foundation issues, the most important take away is that when these factors become inconsistent, it can lead to an uneven foundation.

The mere expansion & contraction isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the inconsistent swelling and contraction under the house.

For example, serious foundation issues often occur when the perimeter of the foundation dries out and the interior doesn’t – most commonly in summer months. This is most likely an issue that leads to the foundation moves first and the structure second. Think: the right side may be swelling while the other is contracting, leading to uneven foundation differences. Since clay moves so much, you want to implement a foundation that moves with it.

While the foundation itself is meant to move and flex, the structure on top of it and plumbing within it is not meant to move – especially inconsistently. Within areas that have clay, most homes are built on a concrete slab, so due to weather, settling, tree roots depleting moisture/droughts, and other variables, people need foundation repair. 

These inconsistencies can cause different types of issues, some of which are more common than others.

4 Warning Signs of Foundation Issues:

  1. Noticeable cracks
  2. Roof/Trim issues
  3. Plumbing damage (often signified by odor)
  4. Structural damage

If at any point there’s a concern that you may have foundation issue in your home, you should never hesitate to call an expert. Many companies offer free foundation inspections allow experts to get to the bottom of it, whether there’s a problem or not. They want to ensure you correct the current problem and create a plan for the avoidance of future issues. This is the case with Stratum, and you can call us to give you a thorough and FREE inspection by calling us today.  214-683-2956

At the end of the day, if you have a foundation issue, it’s nothing to be lax about. Your entire house is shifting, and it won’t correct itself. Experts need to assess the damage and create a plan for both repair and a longer-term plan to avoid further damage; they will also navigate issues, like gas lines, etc.

You also want to ensure that it’s a long-term solution and that it’s done correctly from the beginning, so work with your foundation expert at Stratum to create a plan to both correct the current problem and avoid future issues from arising.

Now that you have the basic knowledge, you’ll be able to better understand how to determine if there’s a potential foundation issue with your home. Read on to discover the warning signs of foundation problems in our second post in the series, along with ways you can start to determine whether or not you may have a foundation issue. Call us today: 214-683-2956

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media

Google +


5 reasons why Foundation Repair should be at the top of your list!

5 Reasons why you should repair your Foundation issues ASAP!

You are noticing signs of foundation issues in your home. Doors don’t close, you have unsightly cracks in your sheetrock, and you are beginning to notice cracks in your bricks. These are all signs that you have a foundation issue, here are 5 reasons why you should repair ASAP!

Separation caused by a shifting foundation

1 Homes move seasonally. They move down during the hotter, drier summer months, and upward during the cooler, wetter months. It is this constant upward and downward movement that eventually leads to broken plumbing pipes. Plumbing repairs can run thousands of dollars. Broken pipes under your foundation often lead to a substantially more expensive foundation repair plan and make the repairs much more difficult to carry out. If it is winter time let Stratum repair your home now to keep it at its elevated state and avoid another sinking this summer. If it is summer it is important to get the house up as soon as possible to release the pressure on the pipes, and of course prevent any future downward movement.

Movement in your foundation eventually leads to broken plumbing pipes

2 Time=More Work. The further you allow your foundation to settle the more secondary repairs you will have to pay for. This includes sheetrock repairs, window and door adjustments, flooring repairs, roof leaks, brick and mortar repair, plumbing repairs, as you can see the list goes on and on. The sooner you repair your home the less expensive these additional problems will be to repair — or they may not even occur at all!

Sheetrock cracks due to foundation movement

3 Time=Money. Foundation repairs will absolutely cost you more in the future than they will today. Ever increasing material and labor costs will always lead to higher repair costs for the consumer.

Concrete cylinders used to secure your foundation

4 Moving Soon? In the event you plan on selling your home in the relatively near future it is ALWAYS better to have these repairs completed prior to listing the home. This way YOU control the choice of contractor, and of course the price you are willing to pay. Once a buyer is in the picture they tend to have leverage in this regard.

Sell your home for more!

5 — You should hold off on all other home improvements until AFTER your foundation has been repaired. Most Families have a list of things they would like to do to their home. Foundation repair needs to be FIRST, as any other repairs done ahead of foundation repair can be compromised when your home is mechanically lifted.


Call Now Button