Water moving at 10 miles per hour can exert the same amount of pressure as wind gusts moving at 270 miles per hour. Framed that way, it’s easy to see how flooding can cause a tremendous amount of structural damage to your home’s foundation.
Foundational damage isn’t always easy to spot, though. After flooding has occurred, it is important to know the warning signs of damage to your foundation as the longer that the issue persists, the higher the severity and costliness of this damage. These warning signs include:
Cracks forming on walls or basement floors
In order for a concrete foundation to repel water, moisture barriers are needed. Oftentimes in older homes, these precautions aren’t in place and water is able to seep through and soak into the concrete. If too much water soaks into the concrete, it can form cracks. These cracks in the foundation shift with changes in temperature and humidity, causing the rest of your home to shift which can lead to cracks in your walls or flooring.
Musty air or mold problems
As a cracked or damaged foundation sits, it intakes water from the ground and any excess flood water. Mold spores and mildew both need moisture to grow and are the prime suspects for any stale, musty odors. Mold growth is especially common in basements or any part of a home below ground level, as they don’t have enough airflow to keep excess moisture in check. They are more prone to holding on to flood water, which often contains harmful bacteria and raw sewage.
Once mold has grown, spores travel in the air and spread everywhere throughout your home. Any porous material is at risk and mold feeds on organic materials including flooring, drywall, wallpaper, and carpeting. Mold can lead to major health problems and further structural problems within your home. Mold remediation can be done, but without fixing the cracked foundation, the mold will continue to return.
Doors and windows working incorrectly or leaning walls
A severe flood can displace the soil surrounding your home’s foundation. Over time, this can lead to your foundation shifting and developing cracks. As these cracks shift, this can cause your walls to displace, warp, or lean. If it is a load-bearing wall, this could lead to a major structural collapse. Shifting in your walls can also lead to gaps around doors and windows, allowing air to leak in or preventing them from latching or opening properly. Both of these are signs that there is foundational damage that needs to be checked out.
Unfortunately, foundation repairs are not a do-it-yourself fix and require professional help.
Sometimes fixing the issue requires house leveling, where piers are installed to help lift or stabilize a sinking foundation. If cracks in the foundation are present, a common fix is a process called slab-jacking, where small holes are drilled into the broken foundation and filled with a special mixture to secure the foundation.
Whatever problem occurs, a professional will be able to tell you the best fix and make sure that your home is safe and secure.