The foundation of your home: a common metaphor for all different situations in life, but we’re talking about the literal concrete slabs that your house is built on. If the foundation is bad, what will happen to the home that sits on top? Here are some of the biggest home foundation problems you’ll want to avoid, and what to do if they’ve already happened.
A foundation is meant to be forever, so it needs to be built to last in the first place. It’s responsible for much more than providing a house a comfy place to sit. It keeps the house dry to avoid rotting and molding, safeguards the house from shifting or sliding and provides insulation from the cold.
Older houses tend to have more foundation problems, as they were built with leak-prone stones, bricks and blocks. Newer homes should have poured concrete foundations reinforced with steel, built with the local soil and water conditions taken into account.
A builder should go the extra mile to be sure that a foundation is properly made to last. First, the soil around the area should be examined – clay-heavy soil sucks up water and expands when frozen, putting enough pressure on a foundation to crack it.
Next, the concrete should be poured all at the same time. If one layer is dry and then another is applied, the area in between can fall prey to leaking and cracking.
The walls should be level, and checked all over for any weaknesses or discoloration. The concrete also needs to be kept damp for a few days, allowing it to reach its maximum strength by slow-curing.
If you’re buying rather than building, you should keep your eyes peeled for red flags that indicate home foundation problems. Old houses are often accused of being the worst offenders for foundation problems, but don’t assume a new home will be perfect.
Look around during house shopping and take note of cracks in both the exterior concrete and the interior walls, standing water in or around the house, sunken floors or stairs,
and gaps under ceilings. These could indicate foundation problems you just don’t want to mess with as a buyer.
You might be tempted to run screaming if you see any of the above signs at a potential house, but hold up – you may want to think it over a little more before crossing it off the list. If you’ve found your dream house in a tough real estate market, it might still be worth your time and money. Many foundation problems are fixable, so look into the cost involved to get it taken care of and negotiate accordingly on the price of the house.
There are several easy fixes for home foundation problems. One common problem are your gutters – if they’re leaking or broken, water won’t be guided away from your home. This can cause major foundation problems if ignored for too long. Getting sturdy, seamless gutters will prevent this problem from ever occurring again.
Your home’s siding is a layer of protection to prevent foundation damage. If your siding is warped, rotted, expanding, bending or damaged, you have a problem. If any of those are the case, you’ll want to get replacement vinyl siding as soon as possible.
Both gutters and siding can be replaced with Feldco. We’re Milwaukee’s best home remodeling company and have been serving the Midwest for over 40 years. Get a free quote now and start your home improvement project today.
If an inspection uncovers a foundation issue while you’re in the process of trying to move, you might be concerned that you’ll be stuck there forever with no buyer.
However, there are plenty of buyers out there who would still be interested – you just need to find them. It’s important to be up front with all potential buyers and never try to cover up an issue like this.
On the contrary, look for a buyer who’s looking for a place they can customize and treat as their dream house project. While they’re getting the foundation fixed, they can also add on the special amenities they’ve always wanted.
What if you’ve already been living in a home and didn’t know there was a problem? If you’re an observant person, it won’t take you long to discover that you have some issues with your foundation.
A leaky or flooded basement is of course the blaring siren you can’t ignore, but there are smaller signs to watch out for too. Have you noticed a crack on your wall that wasn’t there before?
Cracking walls, tile floors, columns, and door openings are a sure sign that some shifting is going on – and it could be more than just normal settling of the house. You should also check up on a front porch that has “sunken” down, or doors and windows suddenly acting sticky and not closing easily.
You might be horrified to find cracks in the exterior and interior of your home, but look at them closely before panicking. A thin crack of a quarter inch or less is often due to normal settling of the house. It may have been there as long as the house has, and it may never grow any larger or cause any problems.
However, large cracks or chunks are more of a cause for concern, and should always be inspected as soon as possible – the longer a foundation problem is allowed to go on, the more costly and time consuming it may be to correct.
What’s the difference between normal settling, and an abnormal foundation problem? Settling is a natural part of having a foundation. The soil around the foundation contracts and expands with the weather, so over the years, a house gradually sinks down further and further.
This is why it’s so important to look at the soil conditions before building a foundation, so you know how much settling to reasonably expect. A little shifting, including thin cracks here and there, doesn’t necessarily mean the foundation is about to break down.
Depending on severity there are a couple different methods that are typically used to fix a foundation. The first is called piering: the process of installing supports under the ground which lift up and brace the concrete. This is considered a major foundation repair to be used in severe cases, and can cost about $10,000.
The other common method is called slab jacking, and this is done by filling underneath the concrete with grout to push the foundation back up to where it was placed.
A local foundation repair expert will be able to do an inspection of the damage and provide an estimate of the time and cost required to fix the problem. They’ll be able to help you come up with the best plan of corrective action. Ask around for a recommendation of someone who does excellent, honest work.
You can even look up local companies online, but be sure to read their reviews before spending any money or signing and contracts.
If your homeowner’s insurance does not cover your foundation problem, your repair company may have some options for you as far as financing and payment plans.
Home foundation problems are frustrating and expensive, but they don’t have to force you from your home or ruin your plans for the future. By identifying and correcting a foundation issue sooner rather than later, you can save your home from mold, bugs, water damage and unsightly cracks, and continue to enjoy it for many years to come.
Feldco is here to help you with your home foundation problems. We offer seamless gutters and durable vinyl siding to help prevent catastrophe. We also offer fiberglass and steel doors, vinyl windows and steel garage doors, each of which can help keep your home safe from rain, snow and hail.
If you need any sort of home improvement and live in the Milwaukee area, get a free quote now and see why over 350,000 homeowners have trusted us.