There are several aspects to your home that you probably don’t think about regularly, but they become the main focus once they fail or stop working. Your slab foundation is one such feature. It serves the important purpose of giving your home a solid base above the ground. Your slab prevents damage to your home when there is underground movement. It also helps your home better maintain temperatures and proper moisture levels.
Failing foundations are a serious issue that should be addressed by a professional like those at Alpha Foundations. As soon as you notice the signs and symptoms of a damaged foundation, get in touch with an expert. This is especially important in homes that rely on a slab foundation.
What is a Slab Foundation?
Slab foundations, also called monolithic or mono slab foundations, are concrete slabs that sit directly on the ground. These types of foundations are poured in one piece. One significant advantage is that they are one of the least expensive foundation options.
A slab foundation doesn’t provide a crawl space underneath to maintain. That means you don’t have to worry about pests and mold underneath your home. They are also comprised of just one piece, so weak spots are a non-issue.
This type of foundation is more common in warmer climates, as it can crack when the ground freezes and thaws repeatedly. It can also crack when there is significant shifting underground. So, how can you tell if your slab foundation has moved and what is causing problems?
Signs and Symptoms of Slab Foundation Movement
Several signs can indicate your slab foundation has moved. Movement should be addressed by a professional right away. If you see any of the following signs, contact your trusted foundation expert right away.
Cracks and Gaps in the Walls
As the ground moves, your slab foundation shifts. This causes the amount of pressure placed on the rest of your house to change as well. This can result in cracks in your walls, even if they are made out of solid concrete. Cracks in walls aren’t always an indication of foundation issues, but larger cracks, those at 45-degree angles, or those with zigzag patterns are a definite cause for concern.
Gaps are another symptom of foundation movement, especially when they occur in your window and door frames or between your crown molding and ceiling. Gaps around windows and doors can let cold or hot air inside, making your HVAC system work harder and use more electricity. They can also allude to foundation problems.
It’s hard to know for sure if you have foundation problems based on cracks and gaps alone. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get the help of a professional when you aren’t sure about the cause.
Do you have a hard time shutting the doors in your home? If your slab foundation has moved, it can change the angle of your door frames, making doors stick to or grind against frames as you open or close them. This tends to be especially problematic in hot and humid weather, but it can happen any time of year with significant foundation movements.
Doors that swing open or closed on their own can also indicate a foundation problem. These issues can make one side of your house slightly higher than the other, which allows gravity to open or shut your doors depending on where they are located in your home.
Uneven or Cracked Floors
Slab foundations that have been properly installed and remain in excellent condition allow your house to have completely even flooring. Noticeable bulges, buckles, sags, or slopes in your floors often mean your foundation is shifting or failing.
Not all uneven flooring is so obvious, but you can test to see whether your floor is even by gently placing a ball, such as a golf ball, marble, or ping pong ball, in the middle of a hard floor to see if it rolls. The direction and speed the ball rolls can tell you which way the floor is sloping and how severe the sloping is.
It can be helpful to conduct this test throughout the room and other areas in the house if possible. You can also use a bubble level or laser level to see whether your floor is uneven. If your floor is only uneven by a few degrees, it can still mean the foundation has shifted.
Floors made of concrete, tile, or stone can also crack due to shifts in foundation pressure. Keep an eye out for cracks on your floor’s hard surfaces if you suspect your slab foundation has moved.
Leaks or Other Plumbing Problems
When your foundation moves, it can wreak havoc on the various systems and appliances you have installed throughout your home. Although pipes are generally made of strong substances, they are often no match for the hundreds or thousands of pounds of pressure your shifted foundation can subject them to.
Burst pipes or leaks are commonly associated with shifting foundations. They should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid widespread damage throughout your home.
What To Do if You Think Your Foundation Has Moved
Although foundations may seem like a relatively simple part of your home, they are quite complex to install, inspect, and repair. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms above, and it has been more than a year since your slab foundation was last inspected, it’s time to schedule an inspection with one of our dedicated and knowledgeable foundation experts.
Even if you don’t notice the above symptoms, we still recommend having your foundation inspected once a year by a professional. This allows us to detect foundation problems while they are still small. This approach makes repairs simpler, faster, and less expensive.
If you’re ready to take care of your foundation, contact us online for a free estimate.