The foundation is the most important structure of a building. Unfortunately, it can at times succumb to pressure and crumble. And if that happens, it can lead to massive structural damage that can be costly to repair. More importantly, though, you need to worry about the lives of people who are in the building. They will perish with the building once the foundation collapses. However, you can prevent all that from becoming a reality by reading the signs of a crumbling foundation early enough.
A crack in the foundation is a clear sign of a crumbling foundation and it can be caused by different things including poor water drainage. If you have a poor drainage, it means that there is water pouring near the foundation. This water forces the soil surrounding the area to to expand or erode. In effect, the expansion or erosion causes soil shifting that exerts an enormous pressure on the foundation. The foundation then succumbs to pressure and starts to crack.
To determine if drainage is the source of the crack, check if the soil near the foundation is wet. If it is, it means that you have a leaking drainage system that needs to be repaired. Poor drainage may also manifest in the crawl space of your basement; you may even spot puddles in the basement.
Another sign of a crumbling foundation is a sagging floor. To check if you have a sagging floor, place a round ball such as a tennis ball on different floors of your building. If the ball is placed on different spots of a floor, it is not supposed to move. If it does, you have a sagging floor and probably a crumbling foundation.
Also note that a crumbling foundation will have an effect on certain building structures like the doors and windows. The doors and the windows may stick or jam. Cracks may also appear on your concrete floor as well as the interior and exterior walls.
The long-term solution to a crumbling foundation is to have it fixed by experts, which could be a bit costly. There are several ways construction experts can handle the situation; one option is to install a new foundation, which may cost you as much as $40,000. Another option is to underpin the foundation using concrete piers, which may cost you something between $1200 and $2500 per pier.
In the meantime, you can take care of small cracks on your wall that are less than 1/16 inches wide; paint them over using a concrete waterproofing paint.