What Homeowners Should Do About Foundation Damage

Unaddressed foundation damage may decrease your home's value. Learn more about foundation damage and related foundation repairs and associated costs today.

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What Homeowners Should Do About Foundation Damage

Posted by Gary Ashton on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at 5:28pm.

Finding Foundation DamageAre you beginning to notice cracks forming above a window in your home? This may indicate an issue with the foundation, which could be a serious problem. Homeowners should be aware of how to proceed when it comes to a cracked or damaged foundation.

Learn more about foundation damage and related foundation repairs today.

Does a Homeowner Need to Worry?

If a homeowner sees a crack forming, it does not automatically mean that there has been significant damage to the foundation. Older homes can develop unevenness after some time due to natural settling. In such a case, these thin cracks simply need to be sealed to protect against water intrusion. Unfortunately, there are more serious reasons for a cracked or damaged foundation.

A homeowner may go years living in a home with a cracked foundation without being aware of an issue. However, homeowners that do see one or more cracks forming or note jamming windows and/or doors should want to investigate. Foundation damage that goes unaddressed can make it more difficult to sell a home and can allow for water seepage, mold growth and more. In fact, buyers with FHA loans will require repairs to any foundation damage before they can buy a home.

What Changes Would a Homeowner See?

Most homeowners have no need to check the integrity of the home's foundation directly so would likely not see if the foundation itself is easy to chip or break. This is a sign that the material used was not adequate for the task and can potentially cost a homeowner a considerable sum to replace. The initial signs of foundation damage include:

  • Jamming doors or issues latching
  • Sticking windows or windows that will not close entirely
  • Cracks forming in ceramic tile over concrete
  • Cracks developing where walls and the ceiling meet or over windows or doorways

These may be the first observable signs that homeowners have of an issue with the foundation. A professional inspection can identify the cause of the problem and discuss the options a homeowner has when it comes to repairing a cracked or damaged foundation. Mike Holmes of the HGTV series, Holmes Inspection, encourages homeowners who see a crack in the wall or the basement floor to call a foundation specialist. Bigger foundation cracks result in costlier repairs, so the earlier a problem is addressed, the easier and less expensive it will be to repair. A foundation specialist will use the type of crack to help assess the issue developing in a home. Concrete shrinkage, lateral pressure on walls or natural settlement can all cause cracks to form.

How Much Will It Cost to Make Repairs?

Another option homeowners have is to contact a structural engineer. The initial inspection may cost from $500 to $700. It may be as much as $2,000 for an engineered solution. What are some of the solutions offered? Repairs may include:

  • Underpinning a foundation with related costs of $1,200 to $1,500 for every pier
  • Replacing the foundation for up to $40,000
  • Use of steel braces for $70 to $500 each

What Are the Requirements for Repairing Foundation Damage?

Repairing foundation is a professional job that must be done by a specialized structural engineer. Homeowners that find cracks, leaks, or water seepage in the basement of their home should have foundation damage repaired as soon as the problem is noted. When a foundation issue is ignored, this can cause more serious damage to the home. If the home is starting to become unsettled because of the foundation damage, this can cause serious structural damage if it isn't managed as soon as possible. A contractor will need to come to the home and assess the damage. What a homeowner can see for damage can be only a small part of what is going on. To fully address foundation problems, the foundation must be carefully inspected as well as the home to look for problems. Once all problems have been identified, a contractor will need to repair the issues. If the work isn't done, potential buyers may get a deep discount when purchasing a home.

Professional help is required to properly address the problem. A homeowner looking to eventually sell will have to reduce their asking price if the issue is ignored. A home inspection will reveal the problem to potential buyers but a seller would generally need to disclose the fact when the property is listed—whether they're across the country or own a home in Clarksville. Either way, after a buyer uncovers the issue, parties that remain interested will attempt to renegotiate the price and get up to 25 percent discount. Get optimal value for a home by taking steps to maintain its structural integrity, and address foundation issues as soon as possible.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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