If you’re a homeowner you might find yourself eventually asking, does my foundation need repair? This question is common as it’s not unusual for a foundation to crack and chip over time. In some cases, foundation cracks are normal and don’t necessarily need repairs; however, in other cases, it’s vital that you schedule needed fixes as quickly as possible!
As foundation damage tends to get more extensive and costly the longer it’s ignored, you might check out 10 warning signs that your foundation needs repair ASAP. You can then discuss your concerns with a foundation repair contractor near you, and know that you’re keeping your home strong and secure, and in good repair.
Check out the 10 most common warning signs that your foundation needs repair as soon as possible, and remember that foundation damage just gets worse the longer it’s ignored. To preserve your home’s condition, call a repair company if you notice any of these issues!
A foundation keeps a home level and even. When that foundation is weak and damaged, the home then sinks or settles along one side or another. As the home settles, it pulls on outside surfaces, often resulting in exterior wall cracks.
Cracks along brick and aluminum can be caused by water damage, age, and other such factors, but if you notice cracks, chips, spalling, softened brick, or siding pulling away from the home’s framing, and have eliminated other possible causes, call a foundation repair contractor. He or she can evaluate that damage and note if the home needs foundation repair and other such fixes, to keep that damage from getting worse.
As with exterior walls, interior walls and ceilings tend to crack as a home settles and pulls in one direction or another. While some cracks are caused by water damage, poor-quality materials and installation, and other such causes, it’s vital that you schedule a foundation inspection if cracks should appear inside your home.
A home’s floors should always be level and even; however, as a foundation weakens and a house shifts and settles, floors then slope along with that settling. Furniture might wobble as it doesn’t have a level base under it, or you might notice items sliding or rolling along a floor’s surface.
Other flooring damage might indicate foundation damage as well. Hardwood flooring planks and floor tiles might pull away from the subflooring, creating tripping hazards. Carpets can also seem threadbare or pulled in certain areas, all of which can indicate foundation damage.
Along with uneven floors, you might notice bouncing or squeaky floors that indicate foundation damage. A weak foundation pulls on a home’s subflooring, damaging wood framing. That soft wood cannot provide proper support for the weight above it, so the floor might feel “bouncy” or offer too much movement underfoot.
Damaged subfloor framing parts also tend to rub against each other as you walk across that floor. This creates a squeaking or creaking sound, indicating weak subflooring and the potential need for foundation repairs!
When a foundation settles, this pulls door and window frames out of alignment; those doors and windows might then stick or become difficult to lock properly, as bolts and other pieces cannot slide into their openings easily when a door or window frame is crooked. Doors especially might hang open even after closed properly!
Uneven door and window frames can also mean gaps and cracks around those frames. You might notice a drafty or overly stuffy environment, as those gaps let in outside heat, cold, and humidity, while letting out your heated and cooled air. Noisy hinges and squeaky windows are also potential signs of uneven frames resulting from foundation damage.
Foundation cracks let moisture into the home; this trapped moisture can create a damp basement or lower levels along with unpleasant musty odors. A homeowner might even notice standing water in their home’s basement or damp basement walls! Rather than installing a dehumidifier and assuming this takes care of the issue, schedule a foundation inspection when you notice excess moisture in the basement or lower levels of your home.
Drywall and wood framing absorb excess moisture let in by those foundation cracks, so some homeowners might not see standing water in the basement or collecting around a laundry room floor but might notice signs of water damage along other surfaces! These water damage indicators include wood rot, crumbling and water-stained drywall, mildew underneath carpeting, and rusted plumbing fixtures.
If you store items in the basement, including large appliances, or have finished the basement with drywall and flooring, these items and surfaces might also suffer water damage. Mildewed clothes and papers, rusted appliances, and damaged drywall and flooring in the basement can all indicate foundation cracks and needed repairs.
Along with other signs of water damage in the home, be alert to mold! Trapped moisture let in by foundation cracks and gaps often allows for mold growth in the home. You might notice this mold along walls and ceilings, or underneath flooring materials.
Homeowners might not associate roof damage with a cracked foundation, but as a structure settles or sinks, it will pull on roof framing and building materials. In turn, your home might suffer cracked roof decking, split shingles and tiles, or popped roofing nails. As with all other signs of potential foundation damage, don’t simply repair the roof alone but schedule a foundation inspection as well.
Plumbing pipes are installed at a certain angle, to encourage slow water runoff. That water takes solid materials with it; if the pipes are not at a correct angle, water drains too quickly or waste materials don’t drain at all, both of which risk clogs. When a home settles on a weak foundation, this pulls on those pipes and can mean persistently clogged drains and toilets in the home.
Pulling on plumbing pipes can also mean cracks around connectors, which risks water leaks. If you notice increased water bills, rusted pipes, low water pressure, mold developing around the plumbing, and other signs of leaks, schedule a foundation inspection along with needed repairs.
Now that you know the most common warning signs that your foundation needs repair, you might be wondering how long you can put off needed repairs and what happens if you never get around to having that foundation fixed. While it might be tempting to ignore a cracked or weak foundation, there are some very good reasons why you want to schedule needed repairs ASAP:
Note, too, that a foundation must be strong and in good repair to hold up the weight of a home; adding weight to an already damaged foundation can mean even more cracks and chips along foundation concrete, and an increased risk of secondary damage. A damaged foundation might then prevent you from installing stone floors or countertops, a second roofing layer, a new deck, and other such additions.
While foundation concrete is more likely to break down over time, this doesn’t mean that an older home will automatically have foundation problems. If a homeowner ensures proper soil grading to prevent moisture buildup, and invests in needed waterproofing over the years, a home’s foundation might be in excellent condition no matter its age.
On the other hand, low-quality materials and installation methods can result in foundation cracks after just a few years! No matter a home’s age, never assume the condition of its foundation but invest in an inspection before buying and during the life of home ownership as well.
The good news for homeowners with a bad foundation under their house is that there are many repair options available today, and most of them are more affordable than you might realize! Many such repairs also last for decades if not the life of your home, so investing in them now can mean a strong, solid foundation for as long as you live in that house.
For minor cracks, epoxy injections are an excellent solution. These injections fill those gaps and then expand and harden, blocking moisture and providing added support against new chips and cracks forming.
Epoxy injections might last some 7 to 10 years so it’s still vital that you schedule regular foundation inspections and prepare for added injections over the years. However, epoxy injection repair usually only costs a few hundred dollars per visit, so it’s an affordable investment in your home’s condition.
For more severe cracking, steel or helical piers are often inserted under the foundation. These piers, which resemble large screws or rods, have brackets along their upper sides. After insertion, the brackets are attached to the foundation concrete.
Steel and helical piers keep that damaged part of the foundation in position, providing support against added cracking. Most piers cost around $1000 each on average, so your total repair costs will depend on how many piers are needed for your foundation. These piers are often guaranteed for decades if not indefinitely, so they might seem costly but they can be the last foundation repair your home will ever need!
Once a home has settled or sunk, it might be time for house leveling. Also called slab or mud jacking, house leveling starts by injecting a specialty material, about the consistency of putty or grout, underneath the sunken portion of the foundation.
Next, specialty hydraulic equipment lifts the home to its original level and even position. The injected material than dries, expands slightly, and hardens, keeping the home level and providing added support for the foundation. Cracks are then patched and other repairs made as needed.
House leveling might average between $600 and $1800 or more, depending on the extent of damage and how much material is needed to correct a sunken home. In many cases, house leveling will come with a lifetime guarantee, although that guarantee might be dependent on consistent waterproofing and other corrective and preventative measures.
Springfield Foundation Repair Specialists is happy to offer this information to our readers and we hope it helped you better understand the answer to the question, does my foundation need repair? Here at Springfield Foundation Repair Specialists, we’re also very proud of the work offered by our Springfield repair contractors! If you know it’s time for foundation repairs on your property or are ready to schedule a thorough foundation inspection, give us a call. We offer fast, convenient appointment times and stand behind all our work with a guarantee you can trust.