Many homes in Australia stand on foundations made of wooden stumps. These timber stumps are robust and can support a house for many years. Still, stumps can deteriorate due to age, wear and soil erosion. Timber will weaken naturally when it becomes exposed to weather and changing soil conditions over the years. And sometimes timber deteriorates because of pest infestation such as termites. As your wooden stumps weaken, the foundation of your house may become uneven and unbalanced. Here are some telltale indications that your home may need a new foundation.
Sloping floors are possibly the most significant sign that rot has started in your foundation stumps. One sign that your floors may be slopping is if you feel like you are walking downhill or uphill in your home. You can do a simple test to see if your have uneven floors – roll a marble or small ball on the floor and find out whether it rolls one way.
Decay of Foundations Beneath the House
If there are signs of stump damage inside your home, chances are the stumps themselves will show visible signs of damage. Perform your own inspection to see if the wood has become damaged. It is wise to perform a routine examination of your stumps so you will be aware of the first sign of trouble.
Moisture Around the Foundation
If your foundation stump is exposed to constant moisture, then be aware that the stump is vulnerable to damage. Wood that is always moist attracts termites. They consider wood, or the cellulose fibre in the wood, as a food source. Termites will eat away at the foundation stump until it is all but a shell.
Other Signs of Stump Damage
Other common signs of structural instability due to stump damage are cracks in plaster work and brickwork, doors creaking or not closing properly, and windows that jam or that do not close. In addition, if your house was built before 1970 then the possibility is high that your foundation stump is due for replacing soon. This is a process known as re-blocking or restumping.
If you are not sure whether your foundation stump needs restumping, you can call an expert to inspect your stumps. A good restumping professional will discuss what the entire project involves as well as the cost. Old stumps are usually replaced with rot-resistant timber like Victorian Red Gum or galvanised steel stumps. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. But most homeowners choose concrete or galvanised stumps these days because they are less expensive, do not warp and are resistant to wood-eating pests like termites.