Your home may be a showplace on the inside, but if the foundation isn’t stable, your home is at risk.

Too often homeowners put money into the redecorating and renovation of their home’s interior, without putting any consideration into the structural integrity of the home itself. Money spent on new paint and drywall is wasted if the drywall cracks six months later due to a shifting foundation.

Below are the signs your foundation may need the help of a concrete foundation repair master.

6 Signs Of Foundation Problems

1. Mortar Joints Are Slanted

If you have a brick or block wall foundation and you notice that the joints of the mortar are askew, this is a big indication of a problem. If things are out of place, there is sure to be some shifting going on below the foundation. But this isn’t always detectable to the naked eye. You should check with a level to see if the mortar joints are off. If you’re unsure, call in a foundation inspector.

2. Cracks

This is the sight that strikes fear into every homeowner’s heart—visible cracks in your home’s walls or foundations. Cracks in your drywall may not be from foundation settling. It could be from water damage or other causes. But in every case these cracks should be investigated.

Inspect any brickwork around your home for hairline cracks or stair-step cracks. Long horizontal cracks are another red flag. Don’t forget to check out your concrete slab or basement floor as well, although cracks in the slab may point to shrinkage or concrete heaving, which is a separate issue.

3. Suspicious Patches Or Repairs

If you are buying a home or you already bought it from another homeowner, inspect the foundation and walls for any previous repairs. If you see signs of repair work, this could mean the previous homeowner already had the problem remedied, or it could mean they were trying to hide the problem. A skilled foundation inspector can tell you if real repairs were made, and if they were done correctly.

4. Sticky Doors And Windows

Don’t assume that sticky windows and doors are from paint rubbing or humid weather making doors swell. That could be the case, but it’s also a big sign that the foundation is shifting.

If you see latches or locks for windows and doors that have been altered or moved, this could also be a sign of the previous owner trying to hide foundation issues.

5. Uneven Floors

Uneven or slanted floors are a telltale sign of foundations settling, or possible of sagging beams or joists in the home. You can often see this in extremely old homes, and may even feel it as you walk across the room. But most often you’ll need a level to check for slanted floors that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

6. Chimney Issues

If your chimney has cracks in the brickwork, or appears twisted or leaning, this may be an indication of the house settling. For some homes, the chimney doesn’t share a foundation or footing with the home, so it’s possible only the chimney foundation is settling. But usually the chimney was built with the house and shares the same foundation or footings, so you’ll want a professional inspection to be sure.

Don’t freak out if you see these signs of settling—as mentioned, there are sometimes alternative explanations. Hire a reputable specialist to come out and inspect your home before jumping to conclusions. The repairs needed, if any, may be far smaller than you fear. But if left unattended, these repairs could mushroom into much larger expenses, so it’s better to know what you’re dealing with.

When you need to hire a professional, don’t entrust your lifetime investment to some handyman off the internet—call a concrete foundation repair master like James Belville. He’ll handle your home with the care it deserves, and restore your concrete footing to the strong, stable foundation your home needs.