As a home gets older, it is normal to see some gaps and cracks here and there. However, gaps between the foundation and the house is usually a mark of a structural issue that you need to take care of. If you see gaps like these in your home, you probably have many questions: we are here to help!
A gap between the foundation and the house is usually an indicator of foundation issues. Some reasons that might be causing your home to pull away from the gap are foundation settlement, eroding soil near the foundation, sinkholes, or shrinking ground.
There are multiple ways to remedy these issues, and you will need the help of professionals to fix them.
It can be a little worrying when you suddenly see gaps in prominent places in your home. Fortunately, you can easily fix these issues as long as you attend to them as soon as possible.
Keep reading as we share some of the most common causes of foundation settling, as well as other indicators you should be aware of in your home. Let's dive in!
What Do You Do If There's A Gap Between Your House And Foundation?
As most people know, the foundation of the house is the strongest structure on which everything rests. Without foundation, there won't be anything that will hold your home up.
A house built straight up from the ground will not last and immediately crumble upon the weight of the home and its contents.
Generally, a good house will always have a robust and solid foundation. However, as time passes, even the most substantial bases will weaken.
The foundation of the house is no exception; when this happens, you will often see indicators around your home that will let you know its state.
Gaps appear when the foundation of the house moves or shifts from its original position.
There are many reasons why this is happening, and you must address these issues immediately to prevent them from worsening.
Foundations usually experience two significant problems: non-structural and structural issues.
Non-structural issues are cosmetic, and they do not pose threats to the structural integrity of the house. These cracks are usually thin and non-aggressive, most coming from aging the house's building materials.
They do not require elaborate repairs; you can usually fix them yourself.
Structural issues, on the other hand, pose more serious threats to the house's structural integrity if left alone.
You will find wide cracks, which continue to grow as the foundation keeps shifting. Fixing the problem is essential because delaying it will cost more because only professionals can handle cases like these.
A gap between the foundation and the house can signify structural issues on your foundation.
Aside from this gap, you might feel that some parts of the house feel uneven. Doors and windows may sometimes be hard to open, which is also one of the effects of a shifting foundation.
What Causes A Foundation To Pull Away From A House?
When you find gaps in different areas of your house, you will want to get to the bottom of this issue. There are no specific causes for the foundation pulling away from home, so you must check and monitor them regularly.
Seeking professional help will always be a good choice because they are more thorough and have more experience with these problems.
Foundation settlement happens when the foundation settles deeper onto the ground, and the house is better fastened to the ceiling.
Settling is pretty standard for houses because the weight the foundation is bearing will force it deeper into the ground over time.
When this happens, you can seal the foundation gap by yourself using a few tools.
However, you should also be aware of this gap. Make sure to monitor the opening size and immediately seek professional help if it widens at an aggressive rate.
Also, check for other possible indicators like cracks and uneven areas because this can mean other issues with your foundation.
Water Leaking Onto The Foundation
Since soil surrounds the house's foundation, issues that cause soil erosion can affect the foundation. Poor drainage, pipe leaks, or flooding water can expand the soil.
This will create pressure that pushes against your home's foundation, and it can cause other significant problems if it worsens.
If you find leaks in your basement or landscaping, ensure that the water does not reach the soil close to your foundation. Fix them immediately, as water problems are one of the biggest culprits of a weakening foundation.
These are inevitable as sinkholes naturally occur depending on the area of your home. These sinkholes usually develop after large amounts of rain with very soluble soil.
Check your area for water puddles, cracks and small holes in the yard, and sinking trees or fences as they are typical tell-tale signs of sinkholes.
An opposite problem to excess water, extremely dry soil can also be a problem for your foundations. When the soil is too dry, it shrinks and causes the foundation to settle unnaturally.
You'll usually find that soil is also pulling away from the foundation when it is too dry, cracks appear on the walls and ceilings, and the floor can become quite uneven.
Can I Seal A Foundation Gap?
Ideally, foundation gaps will require a professional to check and assess them to determine whether the issue is non-structural or structural.
However, if you have the chance to do so, you can seal these empty gaps yourself:
Materials You Need:
- Caulking gun
- Polyurethane caulk
- Caulk finishing tool (or spoon)
- Foam backer rod
- Mineral spirits
- Old rags
1. Install foam backer rod
Begin the sealing by installing foam backer rods on gaps wider than 1/4 inch. Unroll the material and gently press the foam rod onto the foundation gap.
Make sure to fill all the sides with wide gaps using this foam backer because it will support your caulk.
2. Fill the gaps
Using the polyurethane caulk, apply the sealant over the foam backing rod, making sure to cover all the areas.
Use your caulk tool (or a spoon) to smooth the caulk and push them into the spaces between the foam backer. Use mineral spirits and old rags to clean the tool or spoon whenever necessary.
3. Caulk narrow cracks
Seal narrow cracks on the foundation with your caulk as well. Cracks less than 1/4 of an inch should have caulk applied and smooth out using the caulk finishing tool.
What Are Other Common Foundation Problems?
Aside from the foundation pulling away from the house, one of the most worrying things you will likely see in your home are cracks on the foundation. Earlier, we covered non-structural and structural issues regarding foundations: cracks are part of this checklist.
When you see cracks in your foundation, remember how it looked the first time. Take a picture and note the date so you can consistently monitor them.
Suppose the cracks widen and change over a short amount of time. In that case, it is best to seek professional help to fix the issues immediately, regardless if they are cosmetic or it has structural problems.
Signs Of A Foundation Problem
- The sudden appearance of unsightly cracks
- Water and mold damage
- Pest infestation
- Plumbing issues
- Repairs being consistently done on the house
Water and mold damage and pest infestation are indicators of cracks in your home where water seeps in, and insects can get in easily.
If you also find that you are doing more house repairs for plumbing issues, uneven floors, or squeaky windows and doors, you might want to consider that your foundation is causing your house to be unevenly settled.
Again, try and contact a professional as soon as you notice any of these issues.
To Wrap Up
Always check on your house and note any cracks, gaps, and spaces you see on your foundation. While it is hard to immediately diagnose if the foundation needs immediate repair, consistent monitoring of these changes can help you keep track.
If there are any worries and you want to address them immediately, call your local contractor or professional to help you out.
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