Basements are great additions to most homes throughout the United States. Yet, certain areas of the country rest upon clay soil which can cause all sorts of problems. Why is clay soil such a problem? Because clay soil shrinks and swells over time, creating potential damage to your home’s basement. Don Carter, our structural engineer, shared some helpful guidelines to let you know when it’s time to give your basement walls some much-needed attention. For homes without basements, use these tips for spotting foundation problems: Foundation Problems: 13 Signs to Look for Straight Cracks in Your Basement’s Walls The best tip when deciding whether the crack in your basement wall could be damaging is to run your finger over it. If the crack doesn’t leave a big offset, you should be able to leave it. Carter also said, “cracks less than .064 inches wide typically do not leak.” Dark Spots Just Above the Basement Floor One major sign there is standing water outside your basement wall is finding a dark spot near the floor. Carter explains, “Houses are built with a collector pipe to eliminate water, but after about 20 years, those pipes become plugged and water no longer has an escape route.” On the bright side, if you have this dark spot, that typically does not mean there is damage at the time, but it could arise in the near future. It’s best to get this taken care of as soon as the spot is noticed. Water Pressure Causing Leaning Walls Typically, with the exception of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leaning structures are an indication of water pressure problems. “There is a formula to compute how much a wall can lean before it becomes unstable, but for simplicity, figure that a lean greater than 2 inches needs corrective action,” Carter discloses.