You do not have to be a structural engineer to figure out if your home needs foundation repair. Your home will communicate with you through signs that leave no doubt that there is a foundation issue. Here are some of the most frequently observed warning signs of foundation repair and what they could mean for your family’s home.

Cracks on inside walls – Cracks at the corners of windows and doors, especially ones that do not open or close properly, are a red flag for foundation problems.

Fireplace cracks – The brick in your fireplace is more structurally sound than drywall, so if it begins to crack then it is time to call a professional to get to the root of the problem.

Nails popping from previous repairs – When this happens it may be a sign that one side of your house is leaning, or that the foundation is sinking into the ground.

Diagonal cracks on the outside of your home – A big clue here that differentiates it from indoor cracks is that the caulk joints also pull away in the cracking process.

Cracking in an exposed concrete foundation – Only a structural engineer can tell the difference between superficial damage and real problems in the structure of your home.

Standing water around the foundation – Even if this is not a foundation problem, it could be a drainage issue which could cause damage to the foundation in the long run.

Mature trees growing too close to the home – While trees are great for shade in the warmer months of the year, their root structure can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation.

Standing water or mildew in the crawlspace – This could be a big sign of foundation trouble, and if your home rests on posts then make sure the wood is free from rot or insect damage.

Leaks in the roof or attic – The age of your home’s roof may also determine whether leaks are due to roof damage or something related to a problem with the foundation upon which your home rests.

Once you know the warning signs to look out for, then you can spot potential risks before they end up costing you a lot of time and money in repairs. Even if you spot several warning signs, only a structural engineer can confirm whether or not there is real damage. There are a lot of factors that come into play when getting to the root of these issues.

A structural engineer has the education and knowledge to spot the difference. Lucky for homeowners, most companies offer a free or low cost inspection (Fortress Foundation Repair offers completely free inspections). Even if they do not, it is worth having someone look at your home when you spot warning signs to prevent bigger issues in the future.