Why basement and foundation maintenance is important
If there is one part of your home that you are guilty of neglect, it’s probably your basement. Maybe you just use it for storage, or you only go down there when you need something from the deep freeze. But that could mean that there are many problems lurking down there, just waiting to leap out at you when you least expect it.
Often basements can be the first place to show signs that there are problems with the foundations of your house. Being below ground level they can start to feel the pressure of the rest of the building first. If you’ve noticed things such as cracks appearing in the floor or an uneven floor, cracking or buckling walls, or difficult to close doors, it could be a warning that something isn’t right.
Small cracks in concrete aren’t always a cause for concern. Sometimes concrete can crack slightly as it sets, but anything big is likely to indicate deeper problems. Concrete can be quite brittle and occasionally part of the foundations may start to give way while other parts stay solid, resulting in the concrete floor breaking. Similarly, a floor that feels uneven can be a pointer that something may be wrong underneath.
As the foundations of a house begin to “settle” it can put strain onto both exterior and interior walls, preventing things from lining up perfectly. A common symptom of this is door and window frames sagging or twisting so that it becomes difficult to close them properly without effort.
Seeing a crack appear in a wall is an alarming thing, but it doesn’t mean that disaster is only moments away. Both interior and exterior walls can suffer this as more strain is placed on them from the movement of the building. In masonry, the cracks can often take on a “stair-stepping” effect as the wall cracks along the seams of the mortar. If you do notice any cracks appear it’s wise to get them checked out by a professional as soon as possible and get to the root of the problem.
Because the basement is below ground level it has different strains placed on it than the rest of the house. The pressure of the soil outside shifting can cause the walls to buckle inwards slightly. If you’ve noticed this happening, then it’s a good idea to get it checked out quickly before the problem grows.
One other thing that is commonly neglected is crawl spaces. These small areas underneath houses can often be left to their own devices, allowing all kinds of problems to arise. Dampness is a common problem with crawl spaces as moisture can easily get into the area and wreak havoc, allowing mold and rot to form and letting termites move in and start attacking the wooden structure. Mould in crawl spaces can also affect the quality of the air that you breathe in the house above, creating an unhealthy environment.
Putting in products such as complete drainage systems can help to prevent moisture gathering, and air humidifiers can help get rid of any remaining damp. It’s also essential to choose the right insulation, too, one that will repel the water rather than just absorbing it and never drying out.
As always, all work should be carried out be trusted professionals to ensure that you get the high-quality, long-lasting solutions to your foundation and basement worries that you need.
Indiana Foundation Service is expert in all areas of basement and foundation repairs and can help you deal with any problems you have, quickly, efficiently, and economically.