What are the Signs of a Sinking Foundation?

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Every homeowner should be aware of the signs of a sinking foundation. While it’s natural for foundations to experience some settling over time, significant sinking can indicate a more serious problem. Often, the root cause traces back to the absence of water in the soil surrounding the foundation.

When this vital moisture is missing, it can create an environment where the structure might not just settle, but actually begin to sink. Recognizing the early signs of a sinking foundation is crucial to ensuring the safety and longevity of your home.

Effects of Absence of Water on Soil

When soil dehydrates, it contracts. This means it pulls away from your home’s foundation. Homeowners might notice a gap or shadow between the soil and their home’s foundation. This gap can actually be remedied to an extent by watering the soil—around 10 minutes daily for approximately 5 to 7 days.

Once the soil starts to sit against the foundation again, you can stop. However, if you don’t address this gap, your house might settle or sink. The foundation relies on the soil for support, forming a mutualistic relationship. Without the soil’s support, the foundation will start searching for it, potentially leading to greater issues.

Signs of Settling Inside the House

Inside the house, the most evident signs of a sinking foundation are cracks in the sheetrock. Especially around the corners of doors and windows, sheetrock may begin to pull away or develop cracks.

Understanding the Direction of Cracks

Interestingly, the direction of these cracks can indicate where the settling is happening. For instance:

  • A crack moving diagonally to the right suggests settling on the right side of your home.
  • A crack moving diagonally to the left points to settling on the left side.
  • Cracks running across your ceiling from front to back might indicate either the front or the back of your house is settling.

Experience and Expertise of Structural Consultants

Identifying and remedying foundation issues requires expert insight. Our structural consultants possess over 40 years of combined experience. Being local to Kansas City, we’re well-acquainted with the specific challenges Kansas City soils present to structures. Beyond identifying signs of a sinking foundation, our role also involves educating homeowners about these signs and their implications.

Signs of Settling in Doors and Windows

The indications of a settling foundation aren’t limited to cracks. You might notice doors that stick or don’t close properly. Inspect the gaps around the doors—if one side is wider than the other, it’s a sign of potential settling. Similarly, windows that don’t open or close smoothly, or perhaps don’t close at all, can be indicative of settling.

Signs of Settling in Foundation Walls

When inspecting your foundation walls—either in your basement or outside—you might notice gaps or cracks. These imperfections, especially in the footing or the walls of your foundation, can signal a sinking or settling foundation.

Solutions and Warranties Offered by KC Pier

Addressing foundation issues requires precision and expertise. At KC Pier, we pride ourselves on our meticulous approach. We use advanced tools, such as lasers or timers, to take detailed measurements and elevations of the foundation.

Not only does this ensure the repair is done correctly, but it also allows us to offer homeowners a lifetime warranty. This provides the peace of mind that the repair is both accurate and protected for the long haul.


A sinking foundation can be daunting for any homeowner. However, with the right knowledge and a team of experienced professionals by your side, you can address the problem head-on. By being vigilant and identifying the signs of a sinking foundation early, you can protect the structural integrity of your home.

If you suspect any issues with your foundation or if you notice any of the signs mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team at KC Pier is here to help.

Eric Scheele

Eric Scheele

Owner & CEO

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