Foundation Problems

How Can Foundation Problems Cause Roof Damage?

roof from Texas Showcase RoofingDealing with roof issues can be frustrating and troublesome. During the cold, wet winters, leaky roofs can be a pain to deal with.

Repairing a roof does not come cheap.  Before you spend money on the repairs, it is best to find the root of the problem.  In some cases, environmental factors are to blame, including high-intensity winds, sunlight, rain, snow, and hail.

Other factors that can lead to roof damage include inferior roof workmanship and poor maintenance.

Essentially, if your foundation moves, so does your roof. 

Foundation movement causes your concrete slab to bow and bend, creating stress on the entire frame of your house.  When this happens, holes, cracks, and separations can occur in the roof.

To prevent excessive damage, preventative maintenance is key.  Repairing roof damage can be costly.  Serious problems like a roof collapsing can exceed tens of thousands of dollars.

The good news is – when it comes to foundation problems,you can prevent this with regular inspections.

Signs of foundation failure are pretty straightforward – sagging floors, sticky doors, wall cracks, floor heaving and sinking.

In most cases, water is the common cause of foundation problems.  As the soil beneath the foundation absorbs the water, its volume increases.  Over time, this puts pressure on the foundation, causing it to fail.  This is especially true with expansive soils.

The process works like a sponge.  In presence of water, the soil absorbs the water and expands. In the absence of water, it loses water and shrinks.  This constant expansion and contraction is what causes serious damage to a structure.

The problems begin at the foundation level.  You may begin noticing cracks inside or outside your home’s foundation.  At first, the cracks can appear as hairline fissures. However, with time, they may become big.

At this point, you may also begin noticing other cracks on your walls as well. Your roof could also start becoming wavy, bowed or saggy.

How to Identify the Issue and Prevent Roof Problems

Tile Roof from TexasShowcaseRoofing.comTo prevent roof problems resulting from structural problems, you’ll need to check your foundation for certain things.

Such things include:

  • Heaving
  • Settlement
  • Cracks and fractures
  • Water drainage

Heaving

Heaving occurs in foundations that are built on expansive clay soils. Foundation heaving is when your home’s foundation or concrete slab floor moves in an upward direction.

This movement, over time, can lead to the development of cracks in walls and/or floors.  Left unattended, these problems can also extend to the roof. For instance, you may begin noticing the ridge or top of the roof becoming bowed or curved.  You may also spot a noticeable hump or dip on the roof line.
Causes of foundation heaving include plumbing leaks, frost heave, and expansive soils.

Settlement

All homes experience some kind of settlement.  Depending on various things, such as your home’s age, how it was constructed, and how it’s been maintained, settlement can throw things out of level.

As older homes settle and shift throughout their life, the individual foundation supports can move at slightly different rates.  This differential settling is what causes foundation problems.

Unlike heaving, settlement occurs downwards.  It can cause gaps and cracks to form in your home, as well as other structural problems like roof damage.

Causes of foundation settlement include soil consolidation, changes in soil moisture content, poor soil compaction, and weak bearing soil.

Cracks and Fractures
roof plate tiles detail, from TexasShowcaseRoofing.com

Have you noticed gaps on the brick exterior of your house or in your foundation?  If you have, then you might be experiencing a foundation problem.  A broken chimney, wall fissures and floor cracks are also signs or trouble.

Generally, hairline cracks are common in structures in the first two to three years following their construction.  However, when your home is experiencing unacceptable settling, the cracks may become noticeable.  Even a 1/4” crack should warrant concern.

When examining these gaps, you’ll want to determine whether they are horizontal or vertical.  Vertical ones are pretty common and shouldn’t concern you much.  Horizontal ones, on the other hand, could mean trouble.

As with other foundation issues, having them examined by a foundation repair company as soon as possible is essential.  If you do not, your roof could also get affected.

Water damage

Water is the number one cause of foundation damage.  This is particularly true in areas that have expansive clay soil like Texas.

To prevent water damage, ensure that your gutters and downspouts don’t discharge too close to the foundation.  Check that your yard slopes away from the foundation and patio.  Have a plumber test for plumbing leaks in your home.

Foundation problems and roof damage go hand in hand.

A shift or movement in your foundation will cause your roof to become wavy or saggy.  The only solution is to regularly keep an eye on your foundation.