What to Know About Foundation Damage and Repairs
Can foundation problems make for an expensive repair? While foundation damage can be serious, a large number of issues can be affordably fixed. As the foundation is important to the structure of a home, understanding more about foundation damage can help homeowners maintain the integrity of their property and make it less vulnerable to other types of damage.
Should Cracks Be a Worrisome Problem?
While some cracks may be indicative of serious damage, others are simply due to the natural settling of a house. In the case of thin cracks resulting from settling, it is best to seal them properly to prevent water intrusion. Homeowners can expect this to be one of the least expensive fixes when it comes to foundation damage.
However, not all cracks are the same. Homeowners seeing multiple cracks occurring over windows and having difficulty opening windows and doors may want to investigate further. Issues with the foundation may be starting to impact the functionality of the structure. Some homeowners may choose to ignore such issues. Homes with unaddressed foundation cracks or damage are more vulnerable to issues such as water seepage, mold growth and pest infestations.
Which Foundation Problems Need to Be Addressed?
When looking to buy a home or when reviewing its general condition, individuals should investigate the foundation's integrity. Easy chipping and breaking of the foundation material means that the composition of the material was not done properly and will need to be replaced. This can make for an expensive repair.
There are additional signs of foundation damage. In addition to problems closing doors and windows, indications of foundation issues include:
- Cracks developing at intersections of the wall and ceiling as well as above windows or doorways; and
- Cracks occurring in ceramic tiles laid over concrete.
Rather than just seal the crack, homeowners should find out the underlying cause which can be down with a professional inspection. Large cracks are generally more expensive to repair than thin ones. Multiple issues may be causing cracks to form, including natural settlement or concrete shrinkage.
How Much Can It Cost to Make Repairs?
A home is a significant investment and most homeowners do not want to reduce the potential value of their home. Paying around $700 for an inspection and potentially bringing in a structural engineer, depending on the extent of the problem, can be well worth it. Potential repairs of foundation damage include:
- Replacing the foundation for up to $40,000;
- Adding steel braces for $70 to $500 each; and
- Underpinning the foundation at $1,200 or up for a single pier.
Professional assistance is often needed to repair serious foundation damage. Louisville homeowners who decide not to address the problem will need to disclose the issue when listing a home. In addition, unaddressed damage can allow for mold growth and water seepage, both having the potential to further impact the value of a home.
Options for Homeowners
Homeowners choosing to not repair a foundation problem can expect a potential buyer to want a significant discount on the property or walk away entirely from the deal. Some foundation issues are relatively easy fixes like cement based waterproof coatings, while others require professional attention. Either way, it is best to be proactive and make foundation repairs, retaining a home's value. Individuals who may need to but not be able to take out a loan may want to investigate the possibility of getting a government grant to be used toward making home repairs.