Does your Mobile, AL, home have doors and windows that stick and are hard to open or close? Is your Nashville home affected by cracking walls or sagging floors? Problems like these may be signs of a much larger issue with the home. If you’re a homeowner or looking to buy a home for the first time, take a look at this list of the eight most common indicators of foundation damage. Identifying and fixing foundation damage early, before it grows, can save you major repair costs in the future. This list will help.
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Identifying Foundation Damage
Common indicators of foundation issues in a home include:
- Cracking in the home’s floors and walls, near windows or doors, or inside columns
- Doors or windows that stick and are more difficult to open over time
- Window and door gaps between the inside and outside
- Sagging or slanting floors and bowing basement walls
- Leaning or falling chimney
- Basement mold, rot, or mildew
- Sinking porch or stoop in the front or back of the home
- Water damage in the home
How does foundation damage start? All homes settle over time into the ground they were built on. Many of the factors that impact this process are beyond the residents’ control. From changing soil conditions to weather and events like hurricanes and floods, foundation settlement is a process that goes on with or without us. However, if a home’s foundation is damaged, the impacts can affect the entire home, from the chimney to the basement and each of the floors and walls throughout the home. Even the outside of the home, from windows and doors to stoops and porches, can be damaged.
What Contributes to Foundation Damage?
There are three main factors contributing to foundation damage in a home, according to Realtor.com:
- stem wall deterioration
- foundation settlement
- foundation heave
A structure’s stem walls are constructed on top of its foundation. The stem walls are the home’s base, with other walls and floors connected to them. That’s the reason foundation damage can spread throughout a home, affecting all areas of the structure and both interiors and exteriors.
A home experiences foundation settlement naturally, as the ground underneath or around it sinks over time. Unstable soil conditions, due to weather or moisture in the soils, and other factors, can make the process more pronounced. The opposite process is called foundation heave. This occurs when the home’s foundation is impacted by rising soil levels underneath, usually because of settling in other areas nearby.
In addition to time, soil conditions, pressure, weather, flooding, leaking pipes, overwatering of the yard, and poor drainage can all make foundation damage worse. That’s why a home’s age isn’t the only factor in identifying foundation damage. It can affect homes of all ages, in all areas of the country.
Homebuyers Should Understand the Effects of Foundation Damage
When you purchase a new home, a professional home inspection is part of the buying process. That inspection includes a very close look at the home’s foundation. Unlike other smaller issues identified by the inspector, foundation issues can be expensive to fix, affect areas throughout the home, and need to be repaired immediately before they can grow worse. That’s one of the reasons a home inspection is legally included in the home buying process. It’s important to know and understand the importance of a healthy foundation on the life and health of the home.
According to Trulia, most states require homeowners to disclose foundation issues during the sale. If repair work has already been done, you can request the warranty information. If foundation damage is identified, you can ask the homeowner to reduce the sale price of the home to help fund immediate repairs.
The Cost of Fixing a Foundation
If you’ve identified some of the common indicators of foundation damage in your own home, the next step is to schedule a professional foundation evaluation. The price to fix a home’s foundation can vary from place to place and depends on how bad the issue is and the types of repairs needed.
The repair costs for city communities are often more expensive than others. While the average cost nationwide for minor repairs is $3,500, according to Inch Calculator, and up to $10,000 for major repairs, the costs can vary. For example, from $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA, to $11,000 in Raleigh, NC, and $14,500 in Denver, CO, to $50,595 in Washington, D.C.
Contact the experts at AFS today to schedule a free inspection and assessment. Our free repair estimate will help you understand your needs and costs to ensure the long-term health of your home.