As the waters from the historic flood of 2016 recede, homeowners throughout South Louisiana get to work on getting their homes back to the condition they were in before the storm. But, in between tearing out all the soaked carpet and ruined sheetrock and replacing it with new floors and walls, there are a few things to look for that could let you know if you’ve got problems beyond just the flood damage you’re currently facing. Here are a few tips to help you spot foundation problems after a Baton Rouge flood.
Windows won’t open – If you are trying to air out your house, you will probably be opening up windows you don’t normally open. If you have trouble opening some of your windows, or if they are stuck and simply won’t open, this could be a sign of a foundation problem. It could also simply be that the heat and humidity has caused the wooden studs around the frame to swell, putting pressure on the window itself, making it harder to open. While you won’t be able to tell if you have a foundation problem from this one symptom, it should raise your awareness to look for other symptoms.
Cracks in your floors – As you pull up your carpet, tile, or hardwood floors and expose the cement slab underneath, you may notice a few cracks. Cracks in your slab are actually pretty natural. As the house settles, most slabs will incur a crack or two. So, how can you tell if the crack you’re seeing is a problem or just part of the settling process? The size of the crack is a good indicator. If it is just a hairline crack that doesn’t extend for any real length, it’s not a problem. But the wider and longer the crack is, the more you should be concerned.
Mold or mildew behind walls – When tearing out sheetrock, be on the lookout for mold or mildew on the inside of the wall. Mold and mildew need both warmth and moisture to grow. If you have mold or mildew inside your walls, you need to determine where that moisture is coming from. If you previously had a leak in your roof or your plumbing, that could solve it. But, if that mold or mildew is near a crack in the slab, it could be coming from the ground beneath your foundation, which would be a problem.
While there are other signs of foundation damage to be aware of on a normal day, these three will be the most prevalent after a flood. Also, while no one sign is a definite diagnosis of a foundation problem, following up on what you see while your house is stripped down won’t hurt. Calling a foundation repair expert for an inspection is your best course of action before installing new walls and carpet.