Sometimes, caring for your home can be downright challenging and overwhelming. This is especially true when you discover a serious and expensive problem like foundation damage. Foundation damage can be completely silent and, once in full disrepair, very difficult to make whole again.
Often, the foundation damage goes unnoticed until you are preparing to put your house up for sale. By that point, you might have been living with a crumbling foundation for many years. If you don’t notice foundation issues until then, it might be too late — or exceptionally costly.
The average cost of foundation repair is $2000-$7000; the most catastrophic repairs can set you back as much as $10,000. Even minor cracks and wall repairs can cost $500 each. If left unattended, minor repairs can escalate quickly into major repairs.
Additionally, sometimes serious foundation damage can impact your health. Cracks in the foundation, walls, or floor can let in the things you would normally want to keep out–for example, rainwater, debris, insects, and other pests. You owe it to yourself and your family to know the signs of foundation damage. No reason to wait until you’re preparing your home for new residents! Here’s what to look for:
1. Doors that have difficulty opening and closing
Though something as simple as humidity or a big storm can cause minor sticking, doors that are suddenly out of alignment or sticking more than they used to can be a sign of a larger problem. A shifting or settling foundation can lead to foundation damage that causes doors to stick when they didn’t before. If you notice your doors or windows stick, swing open after you’ve shut them, or have gaps at the top and bottom, it might be worth having your foundation inspected.
2. Sagging or uneven floors
Though most people write off sagging or uneven floors as a quirk of living in an old home, uneven floors are almost always a sign that there is underlying structural or foundational damage. Poor structural design, soil movement, and excessive moisture can all cause foundation damage, and all of these problems can affect your floors long-term. You can confirm that your floors are uneven by rolling a marble or ball across your floor. Does the marble or ball roll straight across the room, or does it move downhill? If your answer is the latter, you may have foundation issues.
3. Foundation, wall, or floor cracks
While it’s normal for a foundation to settle over the first few years after construction, horizontal cracks in brick or cement can indicate foundation damage. Check to see if the cracks in your walls run vertically or horizontally. Traditionally, horizontal cracks are considered more serious than vertical, as they can indicate that your house is under pressure due to more than normal settling of the foundation. Floor cracks, wall fissures, and a broken chimney can also be signs of a crumbling foundation.
4. Wrinkling poster or wallpaper
The combination of shifting floors and cracking walls can cause your wallpaper to show signs of significant damage. The wallpaper will begin to rip or wrinkle in places, which is a clear indication of deeper rooted damage in your floors and walls. This is one of the most common signs of foundation damage.
Help! What Do I Do Now?
Though it’s easy to self diagnose your home and jump to the worst possible scenario, it’s worth the peace of mind to confirm or deny your fears by having your home professionally inspected. Only a professional can tell you if you’re dealing with the quirks of an aging house or suffering from underlying foundation damage. Fortunately, finding such a professional does not have to be difficult. Make sure to reach out to one today!