Foundation damage can cause serious problems with a home if it's not identified and repaired in its early stages. It's important for homeowners to be able to determine when a home has foundation damage. Knowing the signs, what to do and how to get the home repaired can help.
Warning Signs of Foundation Damage
Foundation damage is frequently subtle, and sometimes the warning signs can be difficult to detect. Often it takes a homeowner with a good eye or intuition to determine that their home's foundation has a problem. Some of the most common warning signs of foundation trouble include:
Cracks in the Foundation
Foundations can develop cracks, even if the foundation is in good condition. However, cracks that are wider than 1/2 of a centimetre are usually an indication of a foundation problem. The worst cracks are those that assume a stair step shape in the mortar, and sometimes horizontal cracks as well.
Flooding in the Basement
Cracks in the basement walls can lead to floods during times of high rain. Although there are many things that can cause a basement to flood (poor drainage, clogged gutters and other problems), flooding in the basement could also be a sign of foundation trouble. Homeowners with a basement that floods regularly should not rule out foundation trouble until they've been able to prove otherwise .
Stuck Doors and Windows
As the foundation shifts, so can the structure of the home. This can cause door frames and door windows to become warped, which can lead doors and windows to become stuck. While doors and windows may stick for reasons besides foundation problems (such as swelling in the home's wooden frame), this problem could also be a sign of foundation trouble.
In addition to the above indications of foundation trouble, there are other signs as well. Slanting floors, bowing walls, sinking ridgelines and a general sense that the house isn't square could all be because of a foundation problem.
What to Do When You Notice Potential Foundation Damage
Homeowners who notice potential foundation damage must speak with a structural engineer to find out whether or not their home has a real problem. An evaluation from a structural engineer can be costly, but the price of allowing the foundation damage to persist can be far worse than the price of an inspection.
What Can Be Done To Repair Foundation Damage
Foundation damage can only be repaired by a trained expert with special tools and experience. There are two common methods that homeowners use to repair foundation damage:
- Piering. With this method, the foundation is stabilized by hydrualic jacks and steel posts.
- Slabjacking. This requires grout to be pumped beneath a slab or beam to lift the foundation and restore it to its correct position.
Almost always, homeowners cannot make their own foundation repairs. Foundations are simply too big, heavy and touchy for a homeowner to try this type of work on their own.
How Foundation Damage Affects the Value of the House
Un-repaired foundation damage can have a very negative impact the value of a home. Homeowners who want to sell their property with foundation damage can either make the repair themselves or sell their home for thousands of dollars less than the home would otherwise be worth. Often, home buyers are so skittish around foundation problems that they will even insist on getting a discount that is steeper than the cost of repairs for the home.
Contact Your Real Estate Professional
Anzac homeowners who want to sell but who are uncertain if they want to make repairs to their foundation must first contact their real estate professional to get advice. If you're a home seller, your real estate professional can help you navigate the sale process and decide how and for what price to sell your home.