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How to Spot Foundation Damage Caused by Drought

You don’t have to be a weather geek to be well aware of the severe heat waves and drought that have affected much of the country in recent years. The impact on gardens, once-green lawns and other landscaping is unmistakable. But what you may not know is that this kind of heat and extended dryness can mean big problems for your home. It can cause the ground beneath your house to harden and crack, and even start moving and sinking. And of course, when the ground starts to shift it can cause damage to your home’s foundation. Luckily, if you know where to look, these kinds of issues can be spotted and repaired.

Look for foundation damage outside your home:

Is the brickwork cracked or separated? Is siding or caulking broken or cracked? Has the concrete or soil next to the foundation sunk? Is your gas meter is askew? Is the chimney pulling away from the house?

Spot the signs of foundation damage inside your home

How about inside? Do you see any of these problems? Are doors or windows sticking, not shutting properly? Is drywall or plaster cracking? Are there gaps under baseboards or cabinets? Is the basement floor cracked and unlevel? Does the foundation wall have a noticeable bow toward the middle or upper two-thirds? Are foundation cracks offset? (Run your hand over the cracks. If both sides are not on the same plane, the crack is offset and may show movement.) Of course, each of these symptoms could be attributed to other causes. But if you have one or more issue, you would be wise to have a certified foundation specialist from a qualified foundation repair company inspect your home and provide you with a permanent solution. If your foundation has begun sinking or settling, for instance, a foundation piering system can be used to permanently level your foundation by using structural steel piers to transfer the weight onto bedrock, or bearing soil. In most cases, it’s possible for this process to even out your walls and floors once again! This may sound like a big project, but an experienced and professional crew can normally complete a job like this within a few days, with minimal disruption to your life.

Hold off on temporary repairs, fixes

If your home has a possible underlying structural problem, avoid temporary repairs like: Window and door replacements Brick or aluminum siding replacements Mud-jacking of floors and concrete work Extensive drywall and carpentry repairs Tuck pointing Structural problems will likely deteriorate with time; sometimes suddenly. And that could lead to HUGE problems later on, including: Broken sewer, water or gas lines Collapse of foundation walls The need to replace the entire foundation Another important tip: we’ve fielded a lot of questions from homeowners who’ve heard they should water their foundations to prevent drought damage. While it’s a practice that might help, it’s not very practical if you consider the amount of watering it would take.   Guest blogger Roy Spencer is with Perma-Seal. Related: Wildfire Prevention: How to Prepare Your Home How to Do a Final Walkthrough Before Closing On a House 5 Things to Consider Before Taking a Loan for Home Repairs