Cracking in the brickwork (or other masonry), especially in the mortar, is a sure sign of foundation problems. The foundation itself may be cracked or sinking. In any case, the foundation is no longer supporting the exterior masonry which tends to settle over the weak foundation area.
Cracking may be less evident on exterior surfaces such as wood frame. Here, look for bowing or gaps developing between joints.
Cracking of sheetrock or other interior wall surfaces may well indicate foundation damage. Sheetrock is rigid and will react to uneven pressure by cracking or gapping at the joints. Interior tile surfaces react much the same way as brickwork, cracking along the mortar. Wooden flooring may be more flexible and not show cracking, but may seem
uneven and tilted.
Take notice if doors and/or windows begin to stick or will not
close easily. The frames may be twisted out-of-square by uneven
pressure of a shifting foundation.
Watch the Soil!
If soil seems to be pulling away from the foundation, the foundation may be shifting or settling into a new and potentially damaging position. Periodically inspect where soil meets the foundation
while gardening or performing routine house maintenance.
What to Look for in a Contractor
Lengthy Track Record
Look for longevity in business through references, customer testimonials, their web site, and the Better Business Bureau.It must be said that there are some unscrupulous foundation repair contractors that do substandard work; collect your money; then change their name and/or location to avoid litigation. Unfortunate, but true.Confirm a real address, not a PO box. Also, size matters. A contractor should be large enough to employ a real person to answer the phone.
Clean Record with the BBB
Check for length of membership and complaints. No company can be in business for a long time without some complaints, but compare the number of complaints with the total number of customers served.