Homeowners in Denver and Colorado Springs know the importance of identifying and fixing small issues in their homes before they become big ones. From winter-proofing your home to fixing leaky pipes and making sure good air circulation reduces harmful mold or mildew build-up, there are small things you can do every year to keep your home in good shape and protect your most important investment.
Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to check one of their home’s most important parts — its foundation. Over time, a home’s foundation can move. The settling of the home’s foundation due to factors such as weather, construction materials used, and soil conditions, can cause significant damage to the home. While you probably wouldn’t miss a leaky roof, you might not notice foundation issues before they grow. Here are some important things to look for to help identify foundation problems early, before they grow and cause more extensive damage.
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How to spot foundation damage early
One simple sign to look for when identifying foundation issues is sticking doors and windows. Many old homes have doors and windows that stick because a home’s structure settles over time. Foundation issues can impact the entire home, from sloping hallways to cracking floors and walls, and sticking doors and windows is one common example of this. If your home’s doors and windows are sticking and the problem is getting worse over time, you may have a foundation problem affecting the entire home.
Identifying foundation issues by looking for sticking doors and windows is something a professional home inspector will review, and it’s something home buyers can do too. If you are searching for a new home, the health of its foundation will be an important indicator of the health of your long-term financial investment. That’s why a professional home inspection that includes a close look at the home’s foundation is an essential part of the homebuying process. While you are looking at prospective homes, you can look for common indicators of foundation damage as well. One of the simplest to identify is doors and windows that are hard or impossible to open.
Additional things to look for include:
- Damaged floors and walls — cracks near windows, doors, within columns and along walls
- Openings between window or door frames and the walls
- Fallen, broken, or leaning chimney
- Bowing/slanted walls and floors, especially in the basement
- A musty, mildew smell in the basement or crawl space
- Sinking stoop or porch
- Unexplained water damage
How does foundation damage occur?
There are three main reasons why foundation damage can occur, according to Realtor.com. They are:
- Stem wall deterioration
- Foundation settlement
- Foundation heave
Foundation damage occurs over time as a home’s foundation settles. The extent of the damage can be impacted by both weather and soil conditions. Because time is not the only factor in identifying foundation issues in a home, it’s important to look for issues in all homes — no matter the age, building materials, design, or location of the home. Unfortunately, foundation damage doesn’t occur only in older homes. It can happen to fairly new homes, as well.
As the soil beneath a home’s foundation moves over time, foundation settlement occurs when the soil shrinks around and below it. If the soil levels rise over time instead, damage can be caused by foundation heave. Another factor that can cause foundation damages is flooding due to leaky pipes, weather, natural disasters, poor exterior drainage from water runoff, and other water issues.
How does foundation damage affect walls, floors and other structures?
When a home is built, its main structure is built on top of a concrete foundation, which acts as the home’s structural base. The home’s main walls, called stem walls are attached to the home’s foundation, with other walls stemming from them throughout the home. This base structure design is why damage to a home’s foundation, no matter how minimal, can affect the entire home. From cracks in the walls to sagging floors and water damage due to gaps in doors, windows and walls, a small or large foundation issue can affect the entire home and even cause major structural damage.
How much will it cost to repair my foundation?
If you identify one or more of the common signs of foundation damage and a professional home inspector confirms the home’s foundation is damaged, the cost to fix it will depend on a few factors. The first is where the home is located. In Denver, the average cost to fix a major foundation issue is $14,500. That’s compared to $50,595 in Washington, D.C., and $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA. In Raleigh, NC, it costs an average of $11,000. Where you live, especially whether you are in an urban, suburban, or rural area of the country, can have a huge impact on the cost of repairs to your home’s foundation.
In addition, the depth of the problem impacts the cost of repairs. That’s why it is so important to identify and fix issues quickly and completely. Even a small problem can become a big one over time. The average cost to fix non-invasive foundation repairs nationwide, according to Inch Calculator, is $3,500. The severity of the damage and how it is repaired will affect the full cost of repairs to your home’s foundation.
What home buyers should know about foundation repair
Many states across the country have protections in place to help you during the home buying process. One of those is a requirement that homeowners tell you if there is a problem with the foundation. That’s why it is important to ask specifically about current or past foundation issues, what repairs have been made or need to be addressed in the future, and whether the homeowner will reduce the cost of the home based on current repair estimates.
If repairs have been made to the home’s foundation, it’s important to request the warranty for those repairs, to protect your investment in the future. If new foundation issues are detected during the home inspection, it’s important to fix them as soon as possible to help prevent bigger problems in the future. A small crack can cause a big water leak and extensive resulting damage. In addition, foundation problems get worse over time, especially in areas of the country where weather and soil conditions can play a factor in foundation damage.
If you think your home’s foundation may be causing issues, from cracking to sloping or water leaks, you can request a free inspection from one of the country’s leading experts in foundation repair. Complete Basement Systems is headquartered in Colorado and ready to help you find and fix foundation damage to your home before it grows. Reach out to us today for more information about your free foundation inspection and repair quote.