If your home suffers foundation damage, you can expect to pay around $4,009 for repairs. If major repairs are needed, and hydraulic piers have to be used, the cost for repairs may exceed $10,000.
Many homeowners wonder how to identify the signs of foundation problems. After all, this isn’t an issue that occurs every day.
The worst thing you can do is put off looking for signs of foundation damage. As time passes, small cracks are only going to turn into bigger structural issues. If this happens, the entire structural integrity of your home could be compromised.
Not to mention, the cost for repairs is going to skyrocket.
Use the information here to learn why early detection is key, and the most common signs of foundation problems.
However, before diving into the signs of a problem, it may be a good idea to learn what causes foundation issues. Get started here.
Causes of Foundation Problems
There are several types of foundations, ranging from wood to concrete to masonry. However, regardless of the type, they all face similar stressors.
While foundation issues can be caused by several issues the most common causes include:
Deterioration of the Stem Walls
The stem wall is what sits on top of the concrete slab and serves as the base structure that other walls and the floors of your home attach to.
This occurs if the soil under your home’s foundation surges up as time passes.
The settlement process is how the foundation is affected by weather and/or time. This results in the soil beneath the foundation to shrink.
The most obvious sign of an issue with drainage is if there’s water pooling and forming swampy areas close to the foundation of the home. Another sign is a leaky or damp basement.
Problems with drainage may occur due to damaged or clogged gutters, or because the land around the home hasn’t been properly graded away from the structure.
Tree Root Intrusions
Larger trees may cause serious foundation issues as the roots grow through the soil beneath the home.
The roots intruding into the space can cause a significant amount of pressure and exert this on the water pipes and your basement foundations. They may also begin to leech moisture from the ground, resulting in the soil beginning to contract away from your home.
Water Leaks Beneath the Slab
Your slab foundation conceals the water pipes and sewer lines. If a leak develops, then the slab may begin to deteriorate. This can lead to moist areas in your interior floors, and you may notice an increase in water costs.
To determine if a slab leak is present, leak isolation testing should be done.
An important factor to keep in mind is that your home’s age isn’t the main factor in figuring out if there are problems present.
You don’t need to assume that you are in the clear if you have a new house, or that you are doomed to have to deal with issues if your home is older.
Foundation problems can be present in any home. You can seek help for foundation problems in any home (regardless of age) from this company.
Common Signs of Foundation Problems
If you want to find foundation issues, the best place to begin is in your crawl space or basement. Do you notice a musty smell?
A leaking crawl space or basement can show foundation cracks, and if there’s a musty smell in this area, then these are definitely red flags.
Be sure to inspect every room in your house. Look at the walls, specifically where the walls and ceiling meet. Slab or foundation issues can cause the walls to separate away from the ceiling.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of an issue with your home’s foundation include:
1. Moisture in the Crawl Space or Basement
If there’s moisture in your crawl space or basement, it can lead to several issues in your home, which includes musty odors, uneven floors, sagging and mold growth. Moisture and water seep into the foundation through foundation cracks.
2. Standing Water Beneath the House
It’s imperative to have a system of downspouts, gutters, and other drainage elements to direct water away from your house. If improper drainage is present, then water may begin to collect beneath your house. Over time, this will lead to foundation issues.
3. Bugs, Insects, and Pests in the Basement
There are countless bugs that will be attracted to wet basements. This includes roaches, carpenter ants, earwigs, silverfish, pill bugs, and centipedes.
These bugs will enter the space through cracks in your foundation. If you notice pests, there’s a good chance you are dealing with foundation problems.
4. A Cracked Chimney
Expanding soil and poor exterior drainage can result in your home’s foundation settling and cracking. Over time, this can cause the chimney to crack or tilt. A professional can use pilings to reinforce your chimney if it has become unstable.
5. Sagging or Uneven Floors
Sagging or warped flooring is often directly related to foundation issues. Humidity caused by water seepage, shifting soil and inadequate or improper foundation waterproofing can all contribute to the problem with your home’s flooring.
6. Crooked Doors
If your foundation is settling, shifting or cracking, issues such as crooked doors may occur. Much like the wall and flooring issues, crooked doors can be caused by moisture in your crawl space or basement.
7. Bowed or Cracked Walls
Walls that are bowed or cracked can be fixed. The bad news is, there’s usually some type of underlying issue.
This problem is often directly related to the soil moving under your foundation. This is caused by improper water drainage or hydrostatic pressure.
8. Windows and Doors That Don’t Open or Close Properly
Have you noticed that it’s more difficult than usual to open and close doors and windows? If this has happened suddenly, then foundation problems are usually the culprit.
Your doors and windows need to open and close easily without becoming jammed or stuck. You should never have to lift up on your door to close or open it.
How to Fix Foundation Issues
If you have found a problem with your foundation, you need to take action. While calling a home inspector may seem like the right move, this isn’t always the case.
While they may be helpful, home inspectors can only identify basic signs. They don’t have the skills or training to make a more sophisticated determination.
A better option is to call a local engineer. They can provide you with the geotechnical (soil-related) or structural expertise this type of job requires.
The Importance of Early Detection
In most cases, the signs of foundation issues are pretty obvious. Cracks in walls, sagging floors, wet crawl spaces – these are pretty easy to see.
However, there are some signs that are a bit subtler, too. These include uncomfortable indoor humidity and strange smells from the basement. Both of these issues can indicate structural problems.
Remember, most home foundation issues start with the soil underneath your home. If an expansive soil was used, it contains minerals that absorb water. As water is absorbed, the volume increases. The more water, the more volume.
The process will continue, similar to a sponge. As the changes in volume continue, force is exerted on your home, causing serious damage. Once foundation issues start, they may be seen in all rooms of your home.
Not only do foundation problems threaten the structural integrity of your home, they can lead to other problems, too.
Over time, your basement will get worse, and mold may develop causing allergens. Not to mention, if the problem persists your home may eventually be uninhabitable.
It’s a good idea to invest in professional services, as some problems may be an easy fix, such as basement waterproofing. But this isn’t always the case.
Calling for help right away is best.
Don’t Let Foundation Issues Cause Problems for You
When you know what to look for regarding signs of foundation problems, you can take action when an issue occurs.
Don’t wait to take action. As time passes, the problem is only going to get worse. When the damage becomes more extensive, the cost for repairs is going to go up, too.
We hope you found this information beneficial. If you are looking for other helpful information, such as the benefits of building a timber frame house, be sure to visit our blog.
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