Over time, settling can cause your foundation to become uneven and unstable, and in those cases, it may be necessary to hire someone who does underpinning services. In generally, underpinning is the process of strengthening your existing foundation so that it is straighter and stronger. There are several external clues that you may need underpinning such as cracks in your foundation. However, there are also signs that may pop up inside your home.
1. Visibly Unlevel Floors
If your foundation is really unstable, you may notice that your floors are visibility unlevel. You may see excess cracks in the flooring where the underfloor has shifted, or you may notice buckling rather than just slanting in one area. Consider taking a level and testing various parts of your floor to see if it's as straight as it should be.
2. Failed Marble Test
In a lot of cases, you may not be able to see the floor shifting. However, that doesn't mean that it's not shifting. To test it, take a marble. Does it sit on the floor in one spot? Or does it roll to a certain corner of the room? If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second question, that's also a sign that your foundation may need underpinning.
You may notice these signs even when you're not doing a marble test. In particular, if you spill water on the floor or if your toilet overflows, you may notice the water flowing to one side of the room. If the floor is even, the water will pool to all areas equally.
3. Doors Don't Close Right
When your foundation isn't even, it doesn't provide the level support to your doorways. As a result, you may not be able to close doors properly. You may notice bits of sky visible through the cracks of your swinging doors where they aren't fitting firmly into their frames. In other cases, you may notice that sliding patio doors keep getting stuck in the frame and cleaning out the track doesn't help. All of these issues could be signs that your foundation needs help.
4. Cracks in the Walls
If your foundation issues are far advanced, you may even start to notice cracks in your walls. This happens because as the unstable foundation makes the floor uneven, the floor can't support the walls. As parts of the walls settle, that creates cracks in the plaster.