How Foundation Problems Can Cause Roof Damage

January 27, 2022
front view of a house

Can issues with a building’s foundation result in damage to the roof of that building? Yes, they can! It is a lesser-known fact to many homeowners, but the reality is problems with your roof often have their roots in unsolved issues with the building’s foundation.

When you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense. The foundation of a building supports all the building’s structures above it. If the foundation moves, the rest of the building must follow it, including the roof.

Roof damage from a faulty foundation reinforces the relationship between the home’s foundation and everything on top of it. But as Granite Foundation Repair in Dallas points out, not all roof damage is related to a building’s foundation. How do you identify a roof problem caused by foundation issues?

Roof problems that alter the roof ridge may have links to issues with the foundation. The ridge is the uppermost part of the roof, and it should appear leveled when viewed from across the street. A roofline that appears saggy or wavy is a result of foundation damage.

But just as all roof problems are not attributable to issues with the foundation, not all foundation problems will also result in roof damage.

Common Foundation Problems That Can Cause Roof Damage

Any issues with the foundation that cause the foundation to move can also cause problems with the roof. Movements in the building’s foundation can be upward, downward, or sideways. Sideway movement of the foundation may not affect the roof.

Upward or downward movements of the foundation are often the result of one of the following:

front view of a house

Foundation Upheaval

When the soil underneath a building swells, it can move the entire structure above it or parts of it. That can lead to severe problems such as tilting slab sections, cracked concrete floors or walls, and uneven floors. Common causes of foundation upheaval are frost heave and expanding soils.

·Frost Heave:if the foundation is not below the frost line, freezing water can widen the soil and force the foundation to shift.

·Expanding Clay-Rich Soil:Typically, such soils dry out during excavation and absorb moisture in the wet season, causing them to widen and displace the foundation. Foundation upheaval also results from broken water pipes and damaged sewer lines.

Foundation Settling

Every house settles after completion. Settling is the gradual movement of the foundation deeper into the soil. It is a normal process that happens over many years and often goes unnoticed. Foundation settling becomes a problem only when it is excessive or uneven. If one side of the foundation settles lower than the other sides, the section directly over that lower side will appear to be sinking. Depending on where this happens on the foundation, the roof directly over that part will start to sag.

How to Deal With Roof Damage Caused by Foundation Issues

You cannot handle roof issues caused by foundation damage the same way you handle other types of roof problems. Essentially, you have two kinds of situations, which though seemingly unconnected, are related.

Any steps to fix the roof must accompany steps to solve the foundation issues. Given that the roof problem is an outcome of the faulty foundation, the real issue is the foundation. But the roof problems will not automatically disappear once you fix the foundation.

When dealing with these types of problems, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Do Not Replace the Roof Until You Fix the Foundation

front view of making of a new house

The roof problem your home is experiencing is merely a symptom of broader issues with the home’s foundation. If you replace your roof without fixing the foundation, it is only a matter of time before the new roof is damaged. Even if the roof is not damaged, it will eventually be after addressing the foundation problem. That’s because foundation repair often involves raising the entire building.

2. Do Not Replace the Roof Immediately After Foundation Repair

It is only natural that you may want to replace the roof immediately after completing foundation repairs. But you could have issues with the new roof if you do this. Wait two to three months after foundation repair to do roof replacement. That is to give the foundation time to settle. Depending on the type of foundation repair, you may need to wait less or longer than three months.

3.You Can Repair Roof Damage Caused by Foundation Issues

You don’t always have to replace a roof following damage from a faulty foundation. In some cases, you can avoid replacing the roof. In other cases, you only have to replace parts of the roof. The best solution will depend on the extent of foundation damage and how quickly you deal with the problem.

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