There are a number of things that can go wrong with a foundation, most of them unnoticeable and for the most part, they have very little bearing on the building structure. There are a number of things that can, however cause damages which will need foundation repair. Damages can be divided into two parts, things that can be avoided and damages that you cannot control. Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and other accidents like fire or ‘falling objects’ happen and you can do little to stop or even reduce its impact when it happens.
Basement Moisture: Damages that You Can Control
Basement moisture is bad news any way you look at it. You are either getting crawl space mold, or worse, damaging your structure on the whole. If your foundation is wood based, water can rot out the stems buried in the soil and it will eventually fall apart. Water lines bursting, sewage lines directed under the building, water sprinklers, leaking taps, and rain water run offs can eat into the basement and foundation and slowly compromise the structure.
Basement Moisture: What to Look For
If you see the edges of the outer walls soaking wet, or if the soil is constantly wet around the outer walls, it can be bad for the building. It can affect your foundation in two ways; first, the soil can expand and contract because of the constant wet and dry cycles it is put through, causing more movement than is required. The second way is by eating away at the concrete, then the rebars with rust, once the bars get rusted, the concrete is as good as gone.
Look for salt stains. If you can see salty stains on the walls in your basement or in exposed parts of the foundations, you know for a fact that the problem has existed for a while. Try to find the source of this water and get that directed away from the foundations. Places where wood meets concrete are the spots that are rife for rotting. Concrete is tougher than wood in this aspect, but not impervious to water and its negative effects.
Depending on what kind of soil your house is built, the floor may be made to move with soil. You will never notice it because it will move in mere millimeters over decades. Foundation repair will be needed only when the shift is sudden and basement moisture is to blame.
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