Unknown to many, home foundation issues are a common thing. In fact, as much as 80% of home insurance claims are made because of movement in the house’s foundation. In a review of 10,000 structural applications, as much as 25% of U.S. homes will experience some form of structural issues. If you’re thinking of selling your home with a sinking foundation, don’t do it. It is best to invest in repairing it first rather than dropping your price way below the market value because home buyers will definitely try to low-ball their offer if they know about a sinking foundation. You also have to address this issue if you want to make your home renter-ready. Here are some of the important things to know about sinking home foundations.
Signs of Home Foundation Defects
The most common sign that your foundation is losing its integrity is a crack around the base of your home’s exterior structure. Some of the critical indicators of foundation defects include:
- Gaps in the wall, floor, or foundation
- Standing water surrounding the foundation
- Wet crawl spaces
- Uneven flooring
- Windows and doors not closing properly
- Widening gaps between the pavement and garage door
- Leakage in and around the fireplace
In newly built homes with concrete slabs, the foundation defects will show around the outer ends of the building’s exterior. In older homes with traditional foundations, the defects manifest inside so it is not unusual to see cracks in the walls, sticking doors, and uneven flooring because the foundation was closed up with a crawl space underneath.
Most Common Foundation Defects
Foundation defects commonly result from water damage because the water is not adequately diverted to drain away from the building’s foundation. Poorly installed gutters can result in water pooling around the foundation. Over time, it causes the foundation to crack and lose its integrity. This defect can cause significant structural damage to both the interior and exterior of the house. To make sure that your home is ready for inspection, you have to address these foundation issues:
Sinking and Settlement of the Foundation
A sinking foundation can be due to soil changes underneath the home’s foundation. This issue can be resolved by installing piers and brackets to prevent the foundation from settling further. As a temporary fix, you can use heavy lift air bags while waiting for further assessments of the home’s structural integrity.
Chipping or Flaking Foundation
Chipping or flaking can result from constant weather and water exposure of the masonry and foundation’s concrete. One of the most effective methods of fixing this issue is by eliminating the cause. Often, a simple repositioning of gutters and downspouts is enough to stop the water from pooling around the foundation. It is also important to consider adding vapor barriers and covering crawl spaces.
Cracking Floors, Walls, and Ceilings
Cracks often signify that there is something wrong with the house’s foundation, which can be sinking, shifting, or settling. Minute cracks can be easily repaired by crack injection. However, massive cracks that seem to progress need a professional inspection. They can better identify the cause of the defect and give recommendations on what approach is best.
Soil changes can cause the foundation to sink. These changes often manifest in sloping floors. In some cases, the use of a brace to support the foundation and level the floor is enough to address the issue.
Window and Door Issues
If you find it hard to close your windows, it could be due to sticking or cracking doors caused by a movement in their frames. This movement is often due to a foundation defect.
Foundation defects are something that should be taken seriously. It can compromise the structural integrity of your home if not immediately addressed. It is best to consult an architect or a structural engineer to help you out.