Most homes in California are built with either concrete slab or basement foundations. Either approach can provide a robust and durable base for a house, but they should be checked regularly for signs of deterioration. Foundation repairs are usually expensive, and this is especially true when common warning signs like cracks and misaligned doors are ignored. Foundation problems are sometimes the result of shortcuts taken during construction, but they can also be caused by shifting soil, seismic activity, extreme weather conditions or leaking pipes.
Cracks and fractures
Most people learn that they have foundation problems after noticing cracks in concrete slabs, basement walls or exterior masonry. This kind of damage occurs when foundations begin to shift, and the cracks usually appear near weak points like basement windows and corners. Homeowners should bear in mind that not all cracks are signs of a serious problem and hairline fissures are common, but it would be wise to consult a professional if vertical cracks appear in basement walls or gaps wider than a quarter of an inch appear. Horizontal cracks on basement or exterior walls are not usually a sign of foundation damage.
Sagging floors and doors that won’t shut
Sagging, bowing or dipping floors and doors or windows that stick or can’t be closed are other common signs of a deteriorating foundation. Uneven floors are especially common with slab foundations. Gaps around doors or windows should not be ignored as they may have been caused by the house settling. This happens when the earth beneath a home contracts or expands due to heat and cold, and it can seriously damage foundations.
Foundation damage caused by earthquakes, floods or the passage of time may be unavoidable, but many homeowners face high repair bills because architects or contractors acted negligently. Attorneys with construction law experience could pursue civil remedies on behalf of property owners in this situation by filing lawsuits against the parties responsible. In addition to seeking compensation for the cost of repairs, attorneys may seek damages to cover damaged furniture and rental expenses for temporary accommodation.