When the soil underneath your home starts shifting and your foundation starts becoming damaged, the garage is often one of the first places where the signs appear. A garage exposes more of the foundation walls and floor compared to the interior of your home, so the damage is often easier to see.
When your foundation begins to settle due to changing soil conditions, it's important to have it repaired as soon as possible — the stress of a settling home can cause other components such as your plumbing and your electrical wiring to break. In order to catch foundation damage before it can cause serious problems, read on to learn four signs of foundation damage that you can look for in your garage.
1. You Have Deep Cracks in Your Garage Floor
A common way that homeowners first notice they have a foundation problem is when they spot cracks forming in their concrete garage floor. Gaps in the soil beneath the garage cause the concrete floor to shift slightly, forming cracks. The same reason is why cracks inevitably form in concrete driveways.
Some cracks in a garage floor aren't anything to be concerned about — they form shortly after the home is built when the foundation first settles. However, cracks that are deeper than 1/4 inch or cracks that are spreading can be a sign of foundation problems. If the cracks are spreading, it's usually an indicator that the soil underneath of your home is continuing to shift.
2. The Door to Your Home Is Difficult to Open or Close
When your home's foundation starts shifting, you may find that the door connecting your home to your garage starts to shift as well. The door's frame becomes skewed, which results in the door being very difficult to open and close. If your garage is settling faster than your home, you may be unable to open the door fully — the bottom of the door will strike against the floor of your home before it's all the way open.
3. Your Garage Door Makes Squealing Noises When Opening Or Closing
Your garage door, like the door to your home, is also affected by foundation damage. Since garage doors are finely tuned, you'll often see problems occur with it before the other doors in your home. If one side of your garage settles faster than the other, it causes the garage door's tracks to become misaligned. You may notice a squealing noise whenever opening or closing your garage door — it's caused by the door pushing against the misaligned track. In severe cases of foundation settling, your garage door may stop functioning entirely due to a badly misaligned track.
4. Your Garage's Siding Is Cracking
Similarly to your garage floor, cracks will often begin appearing in your garage's siding when your home's foundation is settling. The difference in elevation between parts of your garage will pull the siding apart, causing it to form cracks. It's most noticeable with brick siding since bricks will crack quickly.
If you notice any of the above signs of foundation damage, contact a foundation repair contractor to have your home examined. Problems with the garage's foundation often extend to your entire home, since it's a sign that the soil conditions underneath of the home are changing. A foundation repair contractor can use helical piers or push piers to securely anchor your home into deep soil, preventing the shifting soil above from causing damage to your house or your garage.