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What Are The Signs Of Foundation Settlement? 

Exterior brick wall crack with tape measure.

The signs of your home’s foundation settling are usually subtle. Many homeowners don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s serious, like visible cracks in the house’s foundation.

The Problem:

Your Ohio home shows signs of damage due to the foundation settling.

Telltale Signs:

How to Fix It:

The Basement Guys start foundation settlement repairs with a thorough inspection. Then, we install steel foundation piers extending well beneath the foundation into strong, supporting soil near the bedrock. This permanently stabilizes the structure and solves your settlement issues.

Identifying Foundation Settlement Issues

You may go months or even years without noticing the small indications that your home’s foundation is settling. By the time visible cracks show up on the basement or foundation walls, there’s already been significant settling and shifting.

Foundation settlement issues get worse over time. Left unaddressed, you’ll have dangerous structural problems.

Signs Of Foundation Settlement

As your Ohio home’s foundation settles, many telltale signs emerge. These are some of the most common to be on the lookout for:

Stair step crack on brick.

Stair-step cracking is one of the surest signs of foundation settlement and is very common in brick in concrete block walls.

As the settlement continues, vertical cracks may widen or become uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other, indicating more severe displacement.

Keep an eye out for cracks that are wider at the top than at the bottom, as this is a sign of advancing settlement.

Tilting chimney

Tilting chimneys that are separating from the home are one of the most intimidating and dramatic signs of a settling foundation.

Sometimes a chimney is built on a footing that is not connected to the house foundation, making it even more at risk of settlement.

Often, the soils that the crawl space supports are installed on are not strong or solid enough to support the weight being transferred from the home. Weak supporting soils will allow your existing crawl space columns to sink or settle, often creating a gap between the top of the column and the bottom of the girder it supports.

Once the column has settled, the girder above will begin to sag as well.

Window gap

An opening cut in any wall is a weak point, so signs of foundation settlement often show up around door and window openings located above settlement areas.

Doors and windows frames may be racked out of square. Cracks may extend from the corners above doors and windows. Doors may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Other signs of foundation settlement include sticking, jamming doors and windows and locks that stop working.

Large crack in slab of concrete.

Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement, but they may also be a sign that the slab floor alone has settled.

There are times when your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the walls.

Cracks in drywall throughout the house are reliable indicators of foundation settlement. Cracks will often be larger and more obvious in the home’s upper levels.

Typical drywall cracks during foundation settlement are commonly located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Drywall tape can also be a good indicator, especially if it’s ripping or coming loose. Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.

Repairing Foundation Settlement

The Basement Guys usually recommend installing foundation piers to stabilize an unevenly sinking or settling foundation. This can help stabilize the home’s structure and make repairing the damage easier.

We use several types of foundation piers, each specifically designed to address different foundation problems. The three kinds we use are push, helical, and slab piers.

These piers are attached to the foundation’s base using brackets and extend from the base through the less stable soil layers. They’re based on more solid ground and transfer the home’s weight to the bedrock or stronger ground.

Foundation Push Piers

A graphic diagram of foundation piers installed along a foundation.

Push piers connect the foundation to stronger, more stable soil or the bedrock itself. These straight steel piers are attached to the foundation base and extend to the bedrock.

To install, we expose a section of the foundation footing and cut it to fit the pier’s bracket. Depending on the house, this may be done inside the foundation, outside it, or both. Once we’ve secured the brackets, we hydraulically drive the tubular pier sections through the bracket until the piers meet solid strata.

Once the push piers are installed, they work in concert to evenly redistribute the weight of the house to stronger bedrock or compacted soil. After we install the piers, the home is often lifted back into its original position.

Foundation Helical Piers

A graphic illustration of steel helical piers supporting a home foundation.

Helical piers are also attached to the home’s foundation with mounting brackets. A helical pier has a rotating blade, allowing it to smoothly screw into the soil. Installation may be either inside the foundation, outside, or both.

We drive the piers into the soil beneath your home’s foundation, connecting them to the structure via steel brackets. The intention is that, like push piers, they work in unison, more effectively distribute the house’s weight, and counteract shifting.

Installation starts with exposing a section of footing and cutting it to fit the bracket. Then, a round helical pier is mechanically advanced into the soil, reaching the bedrock or more competent strata. Once this is complete, we secure it to the footing with a foundation bracket. If possible, we lift the structure back to its original level position.

Slab Pier Systems

An illustration of slab piers supporting a concrete slab floor.

A slab pier system stabilizes a concrete slab. As the soil beneath the slab settles or shrinks, the slab settles and usually cracks during settling. A system of slab piers connects the slab to sturdier soil and corrects the instability.

These piers are straight, steel piers extending from the structure to more stable soil, usually to the bedrock. They are placed directly on the slab itself, using specialized brackets.

Slab piers are used to support settling concrete floors or slabs, not the foundation walls, although they may be used in conjunction with foundation wall stabilizing piers. They are also not used to fix heaving foundations or repair damage caused by them. If this is your issue, call The Basement Guys for advanced repairs.

To install slab piers, we first bore a small hole through the concrete slab and attached a bracket. Then, we hydraulically drive the steel tube through the hole and bracket to the competent soil below the shifting strata. The slab’s weight is then transferred to the load bearing soil through the piers. We’ll lift the slab back to a level position if we can.

Once we finish installing the piers, we pump grout under the slab to fill any voids, providing even more stability. Then, we restore the holes we cored with new concrete, leaving a smooth, professional finish.

We Repair Settling Foundations in OH!

The Basement Guys can identify and repair any foundation issue, no matter how bad. We’re the best choice for a sinking or settling foundation or slab, and we use only industry-leading materials and techniques to complete each job. Call us today for a free estimate!

We help protect everything you love, starting with your home’s foundation.


Crawl space jacks are worth it if your home has sinking or uneven floors. These jacks prevent further structural damage and ensure continued safety and longevity.

Whether crawl space jacks are necessary depends on the severity of structural issues in the foundation, but they can significantly improve sagging or settling floors and maintain structural integrity.

Installing crawl space jacks is best left to professionals to ensure permanent structural support for the home. Crawl space jacks must be installed using proper techniques and tools to ensure a permanent outcome. Contact The Basement Guys® to get a free inspection.

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Kent, OH

429 Portage Blvd
Kent, OH 44240