Foundation Damage: What Homeowners Need To Know

Posted by Marc Rasmussen on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at 12:02pm.

Foundation Damage InformationFoundation damage can cause big problems for homeowners. Left unchecked, foundation damage can make remodeling and updating difficult, or can even make the house unstable and dangerous. Homeowners who have identified the signs of foundation damage can protect their property value by seeking help from a qualified and experienced structural engineer.

Signs of Foundation Damage

The signs of foundation damage can be subtle or obvious, depending on the severity of the problem. Homeowners who aren't watching for the warning signs can miss them if they're not paying attention. Some of typical indications of a problem include:

  • Cracks in the foundation. Cracks in the foundation 1/4 of an inch wide or wider can be a big problem, especially if they're horizontal.
  • Bulging or leaning walls. A bulging wall can be difficult to identify, but some homeowners can spot this by looking at their house from a distance.
  • Sloping floors. Floors that sag in the middle are often not a problem, but floors that slope toward an exterior wall are an indication of foundation damage.
  • Stuck windows or doors. Windows or doors that get stuck open or closed can be a problem, although homeowners should bear in mind that some doors and windows become "sticky" because of humidity.
  • Cracks above windows and doors. Cracks that come out of the corners of windows and doors can occur because of seismic activity, or can be a sign of a foundation problem.

Homeowners who notice these issues should have their home inspected by a structural engineer. A qualified structural engineer can help a homeowner determine for certain whether or not a house is suffering from foundation trouble.

Causes of Foundation Damage

Foundation damage can occur for many reasons, but it is often related to moisture in the soil. Sometimes freeze/thaw cycles can cause the soil to expand and press upon the walls of a home, leading to cracks and structural instability. Other times, flooding or prolonged drought can lead to soil changes that cause foundation problems.

How Much Does Foundation Damage Cost to Repair?

Foundation damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair. The national average cost of foundation repair is about $4,000. Homeowners with more serious problems or a difficult to repair problem can spend upwards of $10,000 or more to repair their foundation.

How to Repair Foundation Damage

There are many different ways that foundation damage can be repaired. The method that a structural engineer recommends will depend on the type of damage sustained, the structure of the Lakewood Ranch home and other factors. Some of the most common ways to repair a broken foundation include:

  • Underpinning. This technique requires the engineer to install piers to support the foundation.
  • Sealing. Sealing involves waterproofing the cracks in the foundation.
  • Leveling. This technique involves pumping a mixture of grout under the foundation to level the home.

Can You Sell After Repairing a Foundation?

Yes, it is possible to sell a house after repairing the foundation. It's important to keep the paperwork about the repair so that any warranties will transfer from one homeowner to the next. Many homeowners choose to have their foundation inspected before putting their house on the market, so they can ensure that the problem has been fully repaired. This prevents any remaining foundation trouble from disrupting the home selling process after it gets started.

Contact a Reputable Structural Engineer With Questions

If the foundation problems are properly repaired, homes with foundation problems can be fully functional. Homeowners who have questions about their foundation and what to do about potential damage can contact a structural engineer if they have questions.

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