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Five signs your home may have foundation problems

Corey Grotefendt, left, and colleague Don Baykowski drive pears into the ground in an effort to stabilize the foundation of Carl DeVaughan's settling home Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Manchester, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Robreson)

Lately, you’ve noticed a long, thin crack running up the sheetrock wall near your living room window.

At first, it seemed to be the thickness of a strand of hair — so narrow you couldn’t even slide a sheet of paper into the crack. But lately, it seems to be getting wider and you’re starting to worry.

Maybe you’ve even filled up the crack and painted over it so you don’t have to look at it anymore. But now it’s back again. Should you be worried about it? What does it mean?

At Rosie on the House, we often get phone calls from worried homeowners about cracks on walls and ceilings, sticky doors that can’t be opened and gaps around doors and windows. Many times, of course, the changes in a house can be due to normal settling — particularly when a house is fairly new.

But more serious foundation damage is possible in some areas of Arizona because of rapid expansion and contraction of the soil under a home.

Perhaps the site where your home is located is sandy and silty and the soil was not properly compacted before the house was built.

On the other hand, if you have hard clay soil under your home, it can also be an issue if soil around foundations is often soaked with rainwater or irrigation water.

Here are five signs that might mean you want to hire an expert to determine if there has been damage to your foundations:

  1. Stair-step cracks in a brick wall or in stucco on a cement block wall.
  2. A chimney pulling away from the outside wall of a house.
  3. Large cracks in the sheetrock of perimeter walls of a house on the outside and/or inside.
  4. Cracks in foundation walls.
  5. Jammed doors that look tipsy and are hard to open.

Almost all these difficulties in houses can be fixed, according to Tim Davis Jr., owner of Rosie-Certified Ram Jack of Arizona, but it may take more than filling in a drywall crack. The problem may require foundation repair, but it can be done. Click here for our foundation specialists.

For more DIY tips and information for all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at www.Rosieonthehouse.com.

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com –- Arizona’s most trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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