Foundation Damage: An FAQ for Homeowners

Posted by Justin Havre on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 9:36am.

How Can Homeowners Spot FoundationFoundation damage can be a serious problem. Homeowners who recognize the signs of foundation damage and who know what to do about it can help protect their home's value. These FAQs can answer many homeowner questions about foundation damage, the warning signs and what to do if the home has damage to its foundation.

What Causes Foundation Damage?

There are many things that can cause foundation damage. Soil settlement, presence of moisture and lack of moisture can all force foundations to shift, crack and become unstable. In addition, some new homes will experience foundation trouble as a result of freeze/thaw cycles that cause the ground to expand as it freezes. Noticing these conditions is one way Crystal Shores homeowners can quickly head-off foundation damage.

What Are the Symptoms of Foundation Damage?

There are many signs of foundation damage. One of the first signs of foundation damage includes the formation of cracks in the foundation. However, it's important for homeowners to realize that not all cracks are a problem.

Foundation cracks wider than a half centimetre are typically considered a sign of a problem. Cracks that form a stair stepping shape in the mortar between concrete blocks can also be a sign of damage. Another tell-tale sign of foundation damage are wide, horizontal cracks stretching across the foundation.

In addition to cracks in the foundation, other symptoms of foundation damage include walls that bow outward or inward and cracks in the basement walls. Frequent flooding in the basement is another sign of foundation trouble. Other signs include:

  • Cracks that start in the corners of doors and windows and point toward the ceiling.
  • Doors and windows that become stuck open or closed.
  • Slanting floors.

Homeowners who see these signs of foundation damage should contact a structural engineer as soon as possible.

How is Foundation Damage Diagnosed?

Foundation damage is diagnosed by a structural engineer. Homeowners seeking a structural engineer to give a diagnosis should look for an experienced professional who has successfully diagnosed other homes with foundation trouble.

What Can Homeowners Do to Repair Foundation Damage?

Typically, foundation damage is not something that can be repaired by a homeowner. To ensure that the damage is handled properly without incurring further damage to the home, the homeowner should work with a professional contractor who has experience repairing foundations. Contractors may make repairs by using steel braces to underpin the foundation. In some extreme cases, the house may need to be raised and the foundation must be replaced.

Can You Sell A Home With Foundation Damage?

Although it is possible to sell a home with unrepaired foundation damage, the house may sell for much less than its actual value. In addition, this kind of damage must be properly disclosed at the time of the sale.

Homeowners who have the means to repair their foundation before selling their home will often get significantly more for their house than if they had left the damage unrepaired. In fact, many home buyers will offer as much as 10 or 20 percent less for a home with this kind of defect.

Working with an experienced real estate agent can help the homeowner proceed with the sale of the home. A good real estate agent can help homeowners market their house, disclose damage and negotiate a fair price. If you're a homeowner who would like to sell your home with foundation damage, contact an experienced real estate agent as soon as possible.

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