Which House Problems Should I Fix First: The Foundation or the Roof?

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Everything rests on your home’s foundation. If it’s compromised, the whole structure is compromised as well. If you repair your roof first without fixing your home’s foundation, your new roof may develop wrinkles or waves when work is performed.

Additionally, if your home has roof tiles, it could begin to crack as well. For this reason, before you invest in a new roof, be sure that you address your foundation issues first.

Generally speaking, you should avoid any home remodel prior to foundation repair. Doing so could cost you great deal of money, trouble, and time.

Signs of Foundation Issues

Do you suspect anything wrong with your home’s foundation? If you do, then it’s wise to learn how to identify common signs of trouble. Better yet, call a foundation repair specialist immediately.

Jim Oursler from Granite Foundation Repair in Dallas shared some of his insights on foundation problems and how to identify them:

1.    Cracks and other types of splits

Have you noticed fractures in your foundation, wall or floors? If you have, then your foundation could be experiencing movement or shifting. Over time, what started as small hairline cracks could become huge gaps measuring 1 to 2 inches wide or larger.

Often, inclement weather and expansive soils are the root of the problem. Since dry walls run in the vertical direction, cracks running in that same direction aren’t generally a sign of trouble. However, if the fractures run horizontal, it could mean that there is a serious issue beneath your home.

You should also pay close attention to the stair-step cracks in brick exteriors. Typically, these fissures run up and down near exteriors’ corners.

2.    Foundation sinking or settling

Have you noticed one side of your house appear to be lower than the other? If you have, then it could be a sign of foundation problems. It is important for you to have it checked out by a professional foundation repair company.

Foundations sink or settle because of a variety of problems. These include, soil compaction, rigorous changes in soil moisture, poor soil compaction, or weak bearing soil.

In most cases, gaps resulting from foundation settlement are vertical. At first, the problem could begin as a small 0.5 inch dip in one area of your foundation. But over time, you may notice your house has dipped by up to 4 inches.

At this point, other major structural changes could begin to take place. Your home’s interior and exterior could experience extensive cracking. Your roof could also begin appearing saggy or wavy.

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3.    Foundation upheaval or uplift

This is the opposite of foundation settling. Whereas foundation settling occurs downwards, foundation upheaval occurs upwards.

You’ll know that your home is experiencing upheaval when you begin noticing small bumps on your floor. Another common sign of upheaval is cracks in your floor or walls. You may also notice difficulty opening and closing your windows.

Foundation upheaval is especially common in areas with expansive clay soil like Texas. In wet conditions, the expansive clay soil swells. In dry conditions, the expansive clay soil shrinks. This back and forth change in soil conditions is what causes foundations to fail.

Causes of foundation upheaval are many. In general, excessive moisture is the main culprit. The moisture could result from poor drainage around your foundation or could result from plumbing problems.

4.    Sagging or uneven floors

Do your floors appear to be out of level? If you are unsure, then you’ll need a marble or a tennis ball. If your floors are uneven, the ball will roll. The faster it rolls, the severe the foundation problem is.

If you fail to quickly address the problem, your floors may become uneven by up to two inches. At this point, these could be dangerous to children and elderly people.

In many cases, sloping or uneven floors are caused by foundation settlement.

5.    Improperly closing doors

Doors that were once functioning properly may slowly begin to stick. When exterior doors are affected, it tends to drag at the threshold or hang down at the top. Interior doors with foundation tend to stick or drag at the top.

Sometimes, the problem could just result from high levels of precipitation after a heavy rain. However, if the problem doesn’t go away after several days, have your foundation inspected. It could be a sign of foundation settlement.

6.    Gaps around exterior doors or exterior window frames

Every so often, when you are experiencing a foundation problem, you’ll notice that your doors no longer latch properly. Double doors, in particular, will be difficult to close.

Doorframes may also become crooked and impair the normal functioning of your doors.

With these in mind, what should you do if you spot these problems?

If you notice any of these issues, call a professional foundation repair specialist immediately. If you wait, the problem will only worsen. At worst, the foundation issues could render your house uninhabitable. That’s why it’s important that you fix your foundation first before fixing any other structural component like the roof.

For many people, a home is the largest investment they will make in their lifetime. As such, it only makes sense to protect it. The best way of doing this is by ensuring that your home is standing on a solid foundation.

Robert Yuras