Foundation Repair - How To Recognize Warning Signs Of Foundation Damage

Homes with foundations that have been damaged need foundation repair as soon as possible.  The foundation of the home supports the structure of the building.  When foundation damage is present, more problems can manifest themselves throughout the entire structure of the home.  Cracked or buckling foundations will ruin the structural integrity of the home.  This problem will get worse overtime, and can lead to the collapse of the building.  That would be a terrible tragedy were it to happen when the home was occupied.

A visual foundation inspection can help to determine if foundation repair is necessary.  The signs of foundation damage are cracks in the interior and exterior walls, windows and doors that do not open and close properly, floors that are uneven, cracked floor tiles, and misaligned trim and molding.  While homeowners can do a preliminary inspection on their own, a professional foundation inspection by a structural engineer is more likely to uncover problems that need to be repaired.

The inspector will issue an inspection report detailing the problems that were discovered.  Many of the recommendations are likely to be preventative maintenance measures designed to prevent the need for expensive repairs.  On occasion, the damage will already be bad enough that major repairs are needed.  These foundation only inspections are done visually, and only cover areas of the foundation that can be visibly accessed.  The inspector will not move any obstructions, so it is best to prepare the house the day before so that the inspector has access to as much of the foundation as possible.

Damage to foundations is most often caused by water.  Poor roof drainage can cause rain water to leak into the home and basement.  Plumbing leaks and damaged sprinkler systems can cause water that is not directed away from the foundation to seep into the home.  Water accumulation can do more than just damage the foundation.  It can also result in the growth of mold and mildew.  Water damage can occur to wooden supports, or it can enter the home through cracks and slowly destroy the foundation.  Wet soil conditions can also wreak havoc on a homes foundation.  Some types of soil expand when they get wet, pushing the foundation up.  When the soil dries, it contracts and causes the foundation to settle.  This constant rising and falling of the foundation can occur several times during the year, especially in western states like Arizona, California, and Colorado. Eventually, the motion will cause the foundation to crack.

While regular inspections are recommended, few homeowners actually due them before it is too late.  This is unfortunate, because foundation repair cost can be very high.  An initial professional inspection report can cost as much as $800, and a soil inspection can run as high as $2,000 depending on how detailed the report needs to be.  The foundation repair cost for a simple crack can be $800.  Installing anchor bolts in area that are earthquake prone can cost as much as $2,000.  A house with a moderate amount of foundation damage can cost as much as $30,000 to fix depending on the extent of the damage.   

Conducting a regular inspection of a homes foundation is a necessary part of home maintenance, and can minimize the need for foundation repair.  Inspections can spot problems before they become serious issues, and when they are more affordable to fix.  If the damage to the foundation is serious enough, the homeowner might need to take out a second mortgage on the home to finance the repair.  Homes with damaged foundations are dangerous.  While repair costs can be high, they can save the home as well as the lives of the people inside.