When to Walk Away from Foundation Issues (Homeowners Guide)

December 8, 2022

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Foundation issues are something that homeowners really should pay attention to and take seriously. Unfortunately, many homeowners don't know when it's best to walk away from foundation issues instead of fixing them. However, a lot of the time, there are available repairs that can be done. With this being said, we'll go through some of the signs of foundation issues and also look at times when you should walk away from foundation issues.

when to walk away from foundation issues

How to Identify Foundation Issues

To begin, we will go over common signs and foundation problems and explain a bit about each one. Homeowners will want to keep these in mind and keep an eye on them to ensure they can be repaired as soon as possible.

Cracks 

Cracks are the number one foundation sign that many people notice first. Cracking can be minuscule or a more significant issue depending on the type of crack and how wide it is.

With that being said, there are a few different types of cracks to look for when it comes to this. It would be best to look for gaps around windows, doors, walls, or your ceiling. Generally, small cracks are harmless to your home's foundation.

  • Horizontal cracking
  • Diagonal cracking
  • Vertical cracking
  • Stair-step cracking

Bowed Walls

Bowes walls are when the walls seem to be bubbled inwards. This can be because of pressure pushing on the barrier that it cannot take, so it busts outward. This can be a worse problem if the bowed wall continues to get worse, as it can eventually split and crack, destroying the whole wall.

Bouncy Floors

Bouncy floors can mean some water damage to your foundation or flooring. Bouncy floors can be within a particular room, or they can be throughout your home. This can cause many other problems if not repaired.

Gapping 

Gapping is typically seen around doors and windows. Gapping can look like small cracks or openings around the frame of doors and windows, but it's where the foundation is pulling, and it cracks and causes gapping and cracking.

Musty Smell or Water Leaking 

You might need to fix foundation problems if you notice a musty smell or water leaking anywhere. A musty smell that's coming from your basement, especially, can be an indication that there is a leak or a foundation crack somewhere that might be unseen.

foundation issues at a property

Are Foundation Issues A Deal Breaker?

Foundation issues can be a deal breaker, but a lot of the time, they can be repaired. Ultimately one thing to remember is that house foundation repairs are necessary, but they are one of those things on an individual basis based on the situation. That said, foundation issues are not always a deal breaker.

When To Walk Away From Foundation Issues

Foundation issues are critical to care for as soon as they are seen, but sometimes a repair might not be necessary. You should decide when to walk away from foundation issues if the repairs cost more than it's worth or if there is too much damage to the foundation that repairs will not fix the structure.

Some examples of this situation might include cracking throughout your home; diagonal and horizontal cracks are the worst type to be aware of. Wide cracks throughout the house are also a concern. Multiple bowed walls or bouncing floors throughout the house is also an issue.

Ultimately the thing to consider is if the repairs are worth it and if they will fix the issue entirely. Finding out the total amount of rehabilitation from a professional foundation contractor and how much it'll improve can help you determine this. There is the possibility that your foundation is too far gone.

How Long Do Foundation Repairs Last?

Foundation repairs are meant to last about 100 years or even longer, depending on the repair. Foundation repairs typically don't need to be maintained necessarily and are intended to survive the homeowner for a very long time. These repairs are very intense, and it takes a lot of heavy-duty material to fix them, so it's expected to last the homeowner a long time. Ultimately it doesn't last forever technically, but they should stay the homeowner for the rest of their lives without having to deal with it again.

Can A House Collapse From a Foundation Issue? 

A house can indeed collapse from foundation issues if they are bad enough. However, because the foundation is what keeps your house stable, if there are a lot of areas where damage has taken place, it can deplete your home's stability, making it collapse. This is usually a result of not taking care of foundation issues when they are found. This is why we encourage homeowners to keep up with their foundations and get necessary repairs as soon as possible.

How To Keep Up With Foundation Problems? 

Keeping up with a foundation issue is very important for a homeowner. This is because a foundation problem can get worse over time if they aren't repaired and can cause significant damage to your home. In addition, living in a house with foundation problems can be dangerous, so inspect your foundation regularly and ensure that all issues receive the proper foundation repair immediately.

pier and beam foundation
Should I Walk Away From A House With Foundation Issues? 

If you're house shopping, you should look into the foundation of each home. Sometimes, minor or newer foundation problems can be repaired before moving in. However, sometimes more extensive repairs needed, such as water damage, bowed walls, or extensive cracking, might not be worth your time. You are getting the foundation inspected before purchasing can help you make the best decision on whether it's worth fixing the foundation.

Sometimes the foundation repair cost isn't worth it, and you're better off selling as is to a seller.

Can you get homeowners insurance with foundation problems?

The mortgage is required because it requires insurance, and the question will also be necessary. If your property has broken ground, you have to make some repairs. Many companies can give you a homeowners policy for a specific repair period for your home. Alternatively, you could have the house covered by a risk management policy. This is more expensive than a standard homeowner policy, and you should make changes to your plan after you have completed repairs. Remember that homeowners insurance typically only covers damages incurred by the insured risks — fires and floods.

The Bottom Line: Contact a Structural Engineer!

Ultimately foundation problems usually can be fixed without many issues, but sometimes the damage is too far gone and can be challenging to repair. If foundation repair isn't an option due to severe foundation issues discovered by a structural engineer, you should walk away from foundation problems. With that being said, one thing to keep in mind is to get a regular home inspection and the necessary repairs as soon as possible when they are found. This can help you avoid foundation repair that is beyond repair.

Our company has provided foundation repair in the Springfield community for over 20 years. Please reach out to our team at Springfield Foundation Repair Specialists today!

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