What’s Under Your Flooring?

Foundation and flooring tips for your Coastal Bend house or business

By: Sylvia Slezak

Did you know that if the foundation underneath your building isn’t properly suited for the soil, sooner or later, you will experience some kind of foundation problem?

A foundation distributes the weight of the house to the soil that is located under the foundation. The reason so many foundations fail in Corpus Christi is the soil that is located under the foundation is not stable.

Continually changing conditions of the soils around your home can cause the following foundation problems:

• Seasonal changes – The expansion and contraction of the soil over time can weaken the support for your foundation and cause it to settle and crack.

• Expansive clay soils – The more expansive the soil around your home, the more your foundation may be prone to move.

• Poor drainage – Standing water around your home, large amounts of water dumped by gutter downspouts or a negative slope of the area around your home can cause saturated soil.

• Under-slab plumbing leaks – Excessive moisture in one area under your foundation can cause that area to heave upward or disturb the stability of your slab.

• Trees and tree roots – A large tree may drink more than 300 gallons of water from the soil each day through its roots. Roots near or under the foundation may cause the soil to shrink, causing one part of the foundation to move more than others.

Warning signs of foundation issues
Detecting a problem early and taking action to repair it is the best way to secure your property. Treating the cosmetic symptoms to save money covers up the problem and leads to more damage and expense, as the problem gets worse over time. To help you determine if your home or business may need foundation repair, here are top 10 signs of foundation problems:

1. Cracks in brick: Stair-step cracks in brick mortar are the most common sign in slab and pier and beam houses. The mortar is the weakest link in the chain, and it will usually break before brick; however, brick can also break due to the stress.

2. Separation of fascia boards: The wood trim around the top of the brick will pull apart since the brick often rotates out from the top. A sure sign of movement is if large gaps develop in these trim boards at the corners of a house.

3. Sticking doors: Both interior and exterior doors can stick if the foundation has settled. Since settlement causes the frames of doors to be out of square, the door itself will stick in the frame or swing open by itself.

4. Sheetrock cracks: Sheetrock is soft and will crack sooner than most other parts of your house. Diagonal cracks above doors and window frames are one of the most common signs of settlement.

5. Sticking windows: Windows will often be hard to open and close due to distortion of the frame caused by settlement.

6. Sloping or uneven floors: If a piece of furniture appears to be leaning, it is probably because of foundation settlement.

7. Squeaky floors: Floors that squeak or shake on pier and beam and frame structures often mean that you have a foundation problem.

8. Soft spots in flooring: This may be an indication of rotted lumber under the structure caused by water or insect damage.

9. Wrinkles or tears in walls: Wrinkled wallpaper or tears on wall texture and ceilings are also signs of foundation settlement.

10. Cracks in floor tile: Ceramic floor tile, being a rigid material, will often crack if the foundation moves.

Don’t wait until you start to feel your flooring move under your feet. Get the peace of mind you deserve by choosing the experts who will get you to your Shangri-La. Call a premier business that’s recommended on CityOf.com/CorpusChristi for your residential and commercial building, foundation, improvement, design and security needs.

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at CityOf.com. To get your business featured as a recommended premier business in the Coastal Bend, call 361-883-4440, email staff@cityof.com or submit a request online at www.cityof.com/get-listed.

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