Resolving Structural Foundation Issues: Causes and Solutions

14 August 2018
By The Remedial Team

Cracks in the walls, a leaking underground pipe, rusting steel — these are common issues that arise in homes and buildings that if left unchecked, can lead to significant structural foundation issues. Left untreated, even minor foundation issues can lead to much bigger (and more expensive) repairs in the future.

Without being an alarmist, the best way to protect your building is to do regular checks – say quarterly –  around your structure, scanning for potential signs of cracks, rust or loose surface concrete. The best part is, you don’t have to be a surveyor or building technician to recognise these warning signs. In fact, we have put together a simple guide to help you recognise common signs of structural foundational issues

Common Foundation Issues

Cracked Walls

Watch out for cracks within walls. Although some of them appear minute and harmless, they can be a potential concern especially when they appear to ‘step’ up the building. Check all corners, joints, pillars, and even internal walls and take note of cracks that appear to worsen from one check to another. It is common that over time, your foundation will settle but raise the alarm when the cracking starts to cause crumbling or the crack continues to spread.

And, whilst it is generally going to be one of the signs you see when other issues have become apparent, one thing you may want to keep an eye on is whether your walls are no longer plumb. In other words look to see if your wall is meeting the floor/ceiling at 90-degree angles, or are their bulges in the wall from structural forces causing shifts.

Windows and doors

When a building is built, the windows and doors are designed to be snug—not too loose and not too tight. If you notice that your doors or windows are starting to catch when you close them, or that there is a whistling coming in through gaps, it could be a sign that your walls are shifting ever so slightly and you may need to do something.

Sloping Flooring

When the floor is laid it is designed to be flat, or perhaps have a small gradient to help it drain water towards a waste point. However, if you note that round objects seemingly start to roll by themselves, on what should be a flat surface, it could be a sign you have structural shift causing issues.

Dealing with foundation issues

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As we see it, by preparing in advance, or at the least by knowing your building well enough to recognise problems as they develop, you will be actively working to protect your building. Doing so can be the difference between catching an issue early and identifying it late when the time and costs to repair it are much more significant.

When you do find irregularities, take note of each one of them—the type of damage, the size, and other important details and write them down, or better still take a few photos. Then you have a timeline for what has happened and when allowing you to give precise details to a rectification specialist. The services offered by experts, who know where to look and who know how to analyse cracks and other issues that might occur in a façade go above and beyond the services of a handyman, or renderer, who may be inclined to treat the issue, not the cause..

At Remedial Building Services Australia, we work to assure you that your building will be thoroughly inspected, and in the event that we discover some problems that compromise structural integrity, that we can organise the issues and solutions to be detailed by an external engineering company.

So, if you do see the warning signs, we can help – talk to us!