3 Common Foundation Problems in Houses

Your home’s entire existence relies on the condition of its foundation. That is why it pays to protect it.

Always be on the lookout for signs of trouble, as foundation problems can be caused by a myriad of factors. Such factors are as follows:

  • Tree roots

Trees with extensive root systems can cause foundation problems. Thus, it’s better to avoid planting trees near your home’s foundation.

  • Plumbing leaks

Water is one of the main causes of foundation problems. Your home’s pipes are not just in the walls, they also stretch down into the foundation.

If cracking occurs to these pipes, the soil in the foundation area is bound to become oversaturated. This oversaturation can lead to foundation problems such as foundation upheaval.

  • Drought conditions

Just as the soil beneath your home’s foundation can get too much water and get oversaturated, your soil can also lack water and become under saturated.

For Texas, in particular, most of the state has clay soil. When it rains, expansive clay soil expands. When it is dry, the expansive clay soil shrinks. As a result, the foundation will settle and possibly crack.

  • Improper landscape drainage

Water drainage around your home should be good. You should ensure that the land angle is sloping away from the structure. You should also ensure that gutters and downspouts are working properly.

Improper landscape drainage can cause water to seep into and under the foundation. With the saturated conditions, the soil will shift or move leading to foundation cracking.

  • Poor initial building construction preparation

Aside from the issues of invasive roots and water, poor structural engineering strategies can also cause foundation problems.

If the uppermost soil layers are not properly compacted, foundation issues are a given. In order for slab-on-grade foundations to be fully supported and stable, uppermost soil layers need to provide bearing capacity.

With the causes of foundation problems in mind, now let us look at 3 common foundation problems in houses.

1. Cracks


Cracks can take many forms and sizes. They can occur in a home’s foundations, walls, and floors. If you’ve noticed gaps on the brick exterior of your house or in your foundation, it could most definitely signal a foundation problem.

Not all cracks are created equal, though, and some investigation might be necessary. If the cracks are small, say about 1/16”, you should not worry. This is because it’s perfectly normal for any house to develop such cracks in the first two-three years after construction.

However, if the gaps measure anything more than 1/4”, you should be worried. It could mean your house is experiencing more than an acceptable amount of settling.

Examining whether the cracks are vertical or horizontal is key. This is especially true when examining interior walls. Cracks positioned at 45-degree angle could signal severe foundation issues. Over time, your wall’s sheetrock will slowly rip and develop large tears.

Causes of foundation cracks:

  • Upheaval or compression
  • Foundation settlement
  • Hydrostatic pressure

2. Foundation is sinking


This is also referred to as foundation settlement. It occurs when the soil beneath your home loses moisture over time. To solve this problem, your foundation may need to be lifted and require the installation of foundation piers.

The piers are installed either inside or outside your foundation’s perimeter.

In the vast majority of times, gaps resulting from foundation settlement are vertical. Because settlement usually occurs unevenly, these gaps may appear on one side of your house.

If you notice any unusual gaps in any area of your house, please contact a foundation repair professional immediately. What begins as a small 1/2” dip in one area of your house may morph into something serious.

You’ll notice your foundation is settling when cracks begin appearing in your floors, drywall, walls, slab, and garage columns. Also, watch out for leaning chimneys, sticky windows and doors, and sloping floors.

Causes of foundation settling:

  • Extensive tree roots
  • Changes in soil moisture levels
  • Poor soil compaction

3. Foundation upheaval

You’ll know your foundation is experiencing upheaval when it moves in an upward direction. Foundation upheaval is the opposite of foundation settling.

When foundation upheaval occurs, it may push your home’s foundation up by 2” or more. If left unattended, it could result in foundation failure.

Most movement and foundation upheaval takes place around the foundation edges. It can also occur in the interior area of a structure.

There are many causes of foundation upheaval. They include:

  • Expansive clay soil.
  • Excessive moisture. Flooding, poor ground sloping, broken sewer lines, plumbing leaks, and removing too many trees, can cause this.


The foundation of the home is like the legs of the human body. When legs are working poorly, the body also fails to function efficiently. Likewise, when a home’s foundation is not proper, the home also acts poorly.

If you notice any of these 3 common foundation problems, contact a foundation repair professional. By acting quickly, you’ll be able to avoid costly repairs down the road.