Most people know that a home’s foundation is key to a well-built and long-lasting home. But how can you tell if your home has foundation issues? What should you look for? Tim Carter writes in the article Don’t gamble on a house with foundation cracks:
Cracks in a concrete foundation can be signs of serious structural issues. It’s paramount that you take your time and call in as many experts as needed to help you assess the situation. Photo/Tim CarterSome foundation repair jobs require one to start over and pour a new foundation. I grew up in Cincinnati. You might think that’s in the middle of the heartland and that foundations problems would be few and far between. Truth be told, I’ve seen foundation failures that would have you shaking your head in disbelief. The local geology created conditions that kept many a foundation repair company with quite a backlog of work. Unstable clay soils on hillsides and very plastic glacial lake clays wreaked havoc with builders, remodelers and homeowners who had no clue that danger lurked just beneath the grass. I tell you this because it’s very possible the cracks in this house you’re looking at could be a flashing beacon that serious soil problems could negate the feeble attempts you make at repairing the cracks you see. SOME CRACKS ARE HARMLESS
Foundation cracks, especially serious ones, that are repaired are often hard to disguise. They’re like a facial scar that telegraphs a message to a future buyer of the house that something bad happened. It’s a stigma that could make it harder to sell your home, as a buyer may not believe the foundation is stable. A secondary issue is what does the foundation cracking tell you about the original builder? I can think of a boatload of questions like: *Did the builder take a shortcut and not use enough steel in the foundation? *Was the builder aware of poor soil and didn’t care? *Did the builder take other shortcuts in other parts of the house?
If you have spotted cracks in your home’s foundation and/or if you think the builder may not have done a thorough job, there are some areas that you can look at. The video below guides homeowners spot problematic foundation issues.
Are you looking for a new home or trying to sell one? You may not even think to look for cracks in the foundation or questionable areas in the home. It is easy to overlook the problematic areas and dwell on the amenities, appliances, etc. But before you try to sell your house or buy a new one, make sure you know what you are getting into. In the article, Daniel Bortz writes about Scary Things That Could Be Hiding in That Home You Want to Buy from realtor.com®:
No matter how dreamy a home looks at first glance, lurking behind those neatly painted walls could be some truly terrifying things. We’re not talking about ghosts or bats, but things like small cracks in the ceiling, tiny holes in the drywall, or a musty odor in the basement—seemingly minor issues that should make you very, very afraid.
A small crack in the ceiling might not look like a big deal, but it could be indicative of a larger problem with the foundation—which would be very bad news.
“Foundation cracks, bulges, and other irregularities can be extremely expensive to repair, and may even involve excavating the soil around the house to stabilize the walls,” says Sisson. “So correcting the problem can also mean extensive landscaping repair.”
If the house requires a brand-new foundation, you could be looking at up to $40,000 to get it replaced.
Telltale signs of foundation problems include cracks on walls, floors, columns, and window and door openings; doors or windows that stick when you try to open or close them; bowing basement walls (where pressure from outside the walls has caused them to bend inward); leaning chimneys; and sinking front porches and stoops.
If you see and sign of foundation issues in a house on the market, you probably want to stay away. But what if the home you own has foundation issues? What should you do? First, foundation issues only get worse with time, so don’t try to wait it out. It will cost you more money and more time. As expert plumbers at Master Repair Plumbing, we specialize in slab leak repair
Slab leaks in Dallas are one of the most common foundation issues homeowners face. To learn more about what slab leaks are, we have a five-part series with everything you need to know about slab leak repair. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you suspect a foundation issue.