Signs that your foundation needs repair

Wednesday September 22 2021

Cracked walls may be a signal that your foundation is due for repair. PHOTO/FILE

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Structures collapse for several reasons and one of them is a weak and aged foundation but building owners pay little attention, especially when the structures have been around for years.

Engineer Charles Lumu says the foundation is one area builders should focus on from the start to finish because it supports the whole structure.

He shares the major signs which indicate your foundation needs repair or is in danger:

Shifting walls  

Mr. Lumu says that if your walls start separating from each other, it means that your foundation has a problem which needs to be fixed immediately.

“If these walls are meant to hold together and they start separating, it means that there must be a problem from the foundation and this takes time to identify if you are not very keen,” he says


Mr Lumu adds that there are different house designs and sometimes not all the walls are attached to the foundation but the joints can start separating when the foundation is getting weak.

“The foundation is one of the areas on your house which needs serious attention and if you notice a problem you need to hire an expert to sort out the problem as early as possible to avoid bigger problems,” he says.

Folding wall covers

Mr. Lumu says that when your covers or pictures on the wall start folding, it means that there is problem with the foundation and it needs quick repair to avoid complications.

“These posters can start folding when the walls start shifting downward or upwards depending on the forces. This can be identified when the floor is shifting or there are cracked walls starting from the joints where the foundation joins the upper structure,” he says

He adds that whenever there is a problem with walls, the covers also start getting wrinkles and if you do not respond immediately you may end up at a loss when the walls collapse.

Bent walls

Lumu says that when you notice that your walls are bending or not in the right position it means that the foundation has got a problem and this normally happens when the structure is overloaded.

“Although bending walls can be a result of shoddy work during construction but also a faulty foundation can cause bending walls and if you notice any of the signs kindly check the interior and exterior walls,” he says

Mr. Lumu adds that inbuilt walls can also signal damage to your foundation, for example if the cabinets start moving from their original spot, it is automatically caused by the foundation.

“If the interior walls start moving it means that the problem is arising from underground where the structure is based and this commonly happens when the structure has been in place for so long,” he says.

Foundation disorder

Lumu advises that when you realise that there is foundation disorder especially with the slab moving upwards, it means the foundation is in bad condition.

“While starting construction you need to put more emphasis on the foundation but whenever there is a problem, every part attached to the foundation is shaken,” he says

He adds that you can only tell that your foundation has started moving when you check on the exterior walls such as the garage because of the vehicle movement which causes vibration in the ground and walls.

Sinking walls 

If your house starts sinking, it means that the foundation needs to be checked to diagnose the main cause of the settlement problem.

“The house cannot sink at once but usually one side remains lifted and this calls for a professional to identify the problem and stabilise the levelling,” Lumu says.

He adds that sinking walls can also lead to cracked walls due to broken water pipes underground, which can stay hidden for some time, which is very dangerous.

“This can also be caused by poor drainage system, it’s important to spot any minor drainage problem  on your structure before it  leads to another problem, check for wet soil patches on dry days,” he adds,