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The High and Dry Blog

Toronto’s structural clarity in a sea of confusion.

Foundation Settling: What to Know

Owning a home is a great accomplishment but it comes with great responsibility. From your mortgage to your lawn, your decor to your appliances, there is always something to address in your home. One of the things that many homeowners stress about is the foundation of their home. A house foundation is extremely important because it is what holds your house up and keeps it from moving or collapsing. Without a foundation, or with a foundation that is damaged, your home would be susceptible to several different serious issues. The severity of these issues and their consequences are based on what is wrong with your foundation. This blog will look at how you can determine if your home’s foundation is settling and if you should be concerned.

Foundation Settling- What to Know

What is a Foundation?

A foundation of a house is the load-bearing portion of the structure. Foundations are typically built underground and are designed to:

  • Support the above structure (the house)
  • Keep out ground and rain water

If your foundation is not functioning the way it is supposed to, you may end up with water in your basement, or a moving house!!

Type of Foundations

There are three different types of foundations that a home can have. A home can have a:

  • Slab foundation
  • Crawl space foundation
  • Basement foundation

Each of these types of foundations has a different benefit, but each of them works to ensure that your home remains strong and sturdy!

Why is my Foundation Important?

Your foundation is an extremely important part of your home. Even though you don’t see it, you foundation is what keeps your home from moving or crashing down! Since the foundation (regardless of type) is installed below ground and constructed using strong materials, the frame that is built on top of it has a solid base to secure itself to.

Is my Foundation Settling or Shifting?

When you become a homeowner, it is important to know the difference between a foundation that is settling naturally and a foundation that is settling and requires immediate attention. Even though any issue with your foundation should be quickly addressed, knowing the difference between a severe foundation issue and a non-severe foundation issue is important.

Foundation Settling

A settling foundation is a normal occurrence that can result in different issues for your home. Foundations are built on top of dirt which is known to move, layer, or settle over time. This can result in the following issues:

Foundation Cracks

If you notice a crack in your foundation wall, it is likely that your foundation is settling. Many people see a crack in their foundation and begin to panic. This should not be the case! Some cracks are normal and aren’t going to harm your home. But how do you tell the difference? You examine the crack! There are certain cracks that you should be concerned about, these include cracks that are:

  • Wide at the top
  • Growing over time
  • Large diameter

If you notice any of these cracks in your foundation, it is important to have an expert examine them to ensure your home is safe!

Wall or Door/Window Frame Cracks

Many older homes have cracks in their drywall or plaster that many people just fill with putty. This is a quick cosmetic fix, but the reason behind the crack forming in the first place is important to determine.

There are several different ways to determine if a crack around your door/window frame or on your wall is an issue that needs to be immediately addressed. One of the best ways to determine if a crack is just a crack or if it is a sign of your foundation settling is if a filled crack keeps reopening. This will show that your home is continuing to settle and that is generally why the crack keeps reappearing.

Sticking Doors and Windows

When a house settles the house becomes off square. This can result in door frames and window frames no longer being perfectly built out of 90 degree angles. Homeowners can quickly diagnose this issue when windows or doors begin to no longer open or close properly. You can also place a level above the frame of the door or window to see if the frame has shifted.

Gaps Between Windows and Walls

Another telltale sign of a settling foundation that needs to be addressed is gaps between windows and walls. This concept is similar to sticking doors and windows in that it shows that the home is off square. This issue can also be caused by excess humidity in the home or the foundation.

Burst Water Pipes

Although this seems like an extreme example, many people who experience burst pipes do not think about their settling foundation as the culprit. On occasion, when a home settles, it can cause the pipes to bend in a direction that they were not installed to bend in. This causes the pipes to bend, separate, or even burst which means a mess for you to clean up!

Uneven Floors

Are you noticing that your decor is not sitting properly? Are toy cars driving themselves across your living room? If so, your foundation may be settling as causing your floors to be uneven! If you notice uneven floors, don’t wait to call a team of experts to inspect the area to ensure that your home is structurally sound.

No matter the cause of your foundation settling, the issue will unfortunately only get worse over time. It is important that you contact a basement foundation repair specialist as soon as you notice any signs of a settling foundation. The quicker the issue is discovered and repaired, the less damage that will occur!

Why Choose GJ MacRae

GJ MacRae has been servicing the Greater Toronto Area for decades and was considered one of the first companies in the region to have used the term “Foundation Repair” back in the 1970s. Since then, this family owned and operated business has been providing the GTA with superior service with unbeatable quality and warranty.

Over 40 years have passed since the company began and the legacy still continues. GJ MacRae still leads the industry in all phases of below-grade waterproofing, structural foundation repair, underpinning, as well as in heritage foundation restoration.

Our team is filled with experts who know the ins and outs of foundations and how to properly repair them, no matter the issue. This sets GJ MacRae apart from the hundreds of “fly by night” basement repair companies that provide poor work and quickly disappear before you can request they repair their work.

Contact us today at 905 824 2557 or online at wetbasements.com and one of our team members will help you solve your basement issues!