Telltale Signs of Foundation Issues in Your Building

If you see any signs of foundation issues, your building has structural problems that can’t wait. Here’s what to look for, and how to decide between repairs or demolition.

There’s a list of things that can compromise a building’s foundation and make it a hazard to those in and around it. The structure doesn’t have to be old — even newer builds can experience these problems. Sometimes these issues can be cleared up with repairs and maintenance. Other times, a demolition team may have to be called in.

Knowing what to watch out for can alert you to whether you have a salvageable structural issue on your hands or if the wrecking ball is required. Let’s start with the signs you’re most likely to miss and work toward the more obvious ones.

Easily missed foundation issues

Windows and doors can show subtle signs that your foundation is struggling. If you’re having difficulty opening and closing these fixtures, but they used to be fine, this could be a warning sign that your foundation has started to shift and is distorting the shape of the frames.

Lubricating the hinges should reveal if the window or door itself is at fault. If stubbornness permits, it could indicate a larger problem. A more obvious sign is if there are visible gaps between your door/window frames and the surrounding walls. You may also see these gaps behind things like worktops.

Don’t dismiss any musty odors and smells that can indicate damp, mold, and rot. It’s a mistake to think that moisture and mold patches won’t bring down the whole building, because they may be forming in the first place due to cracks in your structure (and cracks covered in mildew or mold are harder to spot). If it’s not a structural issue, some dehumidification, gutter maintenance or plumbing work should clear the moisture problem up.

More obvious signs of foundation trouble

Warping, tilting, or leaning of walls, floors, or ceilings are all signs that you should get professional advice immediately. Everyone should keep an eye on their property over time and look for these things. The naked eye can’t always see them, so use of a spirit level and notebook to record even the subtlest structural slanting.

The most obvious sign of all is cracking in the floors or walls. The slightest crack should always be a red flag to keep an eye on your structure because they can quickly worsen through seasonal expansion/contraction, structural pressures, and more. Swift action can allow you to repair early cracking relatively easily and affordably.

Foundation cracks often have a visual profile that differs from the less-pressing cosmetic variety. Any crack that is leaking water, runs horizontally (an indicator of increased perimeter pressure), or has the stair-step appearance may be a sign of foundation problems. Don’t hesitate to ask a professional their opinion; it may be a simple matter of brick and mortar repair.

You may need to contact a local housing inspector or engineer. Their skills can help you fully assess the strain on a property. The cost of these inspections varies by the service provider and sometimes locality, but it’s money well-spent to gain peace of mind and safety.

In the most severe cases, the building may have to come down. That’s a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you may fear.

Don’t dread demolition

It’s very common for people to feel uneasy about demolition’s destructive nature, but there’s no danger involved when you hire the right firm. It may be a messy business, but all the demolished material will be handled responsibly here in New Jersey. It can even become part of new projects in some very interesting ways. 

Demolition may seem like an extreme solution, but when it’s necessary, it saves a building and its occupants from far worse things in the future.

Mikula will bring it down safely

Demolition with asphalt and concrete removal services has been a big part of our company’s history for more than 70 years, and our OSHA-trained team makes safety part of everything we do. That means looking after ourselves, our customers, and the surrounding environment.

Our demolition excavators come equipped with grapples to maintain precision control during the debris sorting process. We handle commercial projects and, if your demolition is residential, you can contact us for a free estimate. We’ll also take care of all the permits necessary to ensure project approval at the right levels.

Whatever the size of your exterior demolition, we’ve got the experience and the tools to do the job cost-effectively, efficiently, and, most importantly, safely. Get in touch with us at the link below if you have any structural concerns. We’re ready to help.

Mikula Contracting, Inc. provides commercial and residential customers with a wide range of excavation, demolition, environmental, snow removal, trucking and soil materials services. For more information, call 973-772-1684 or email

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