A home’s foundation is as essential as it sounds. Without a proper foundation, a variety of structural issues can plague a home that could end up costing you truck fulls of cash to repair. However, how do you know if a house has foundation problems, and how hard they are to fix?
What Causes Foundation Problems?
There are a number of different types of foundations ranging from masonry to concrete to wood. No matter the type, they all face similar stressors. The three main stressors are:
- Deterioration of stem walls – a stem wall sits on top of your concrete slab and acts as the base structure to which other walls and floors of the house are attached
- Foundation Settlement – the settlement is how the foundation is affected by time and/or weather, causing the soil underneath the foundation to shrink.
- Foundation Heave- this is when the soil underneath the foundation surges up over time, which can happen to compensate for other areas settle.
That being said, your home’s age should not be the chief factor in determining potential problems. So don’t assume you are in the clear if your house is new, or doomed to encounter problems if you home is old. Foundation problems can plague any home.
Signs of Foundation Problems
The effort to determine the exact source can be complicated, but you should start by looking for visible cues. Without an expert, there are a number of telltale signs you can see:
- Cracks on walls, floors, columns, and window and door openings
- Doors or windows that stick when you try to open or close them
- Bowing basement walls, where pressure from the outside the walls has caused them to bend inward
- Sagging crawl space floors
- Leaning chimneys
- Sinking front porches and stoops
- Overall water intrusion or damage
How to Fix Foundation Problems
If you have identified a problem with a home’s foundation, you will probably turn first to a home inspector to begin the repair process. This can be helpful, but you shouldn’t restrict yourself to home inspectors alone. Home inspectors are only trained to see the very basic signs of foundation issues.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix?
Costs vary depending on your area and specific circumstances, but they can total around $3,500, according to national averages. Here are some other cost based on what exactly you’re trying to repair.
- Fixing cracks: ranging from a few hundred dollars ($400-$800) up to $2-$3,000.
- Underpinning or lifting a sinking foundation: $1-$3,000 per pier (support). The number of supports will depend on the foundation type and the extent of the repair required.
- Major repairs: ranging from $3,500 to $10,000 or more, but can go as high as $20,000 t0 $30,000
- A brand new foundation can cost up to $40,000
No matter how bad a foundation problem ends up being, none is necessarily a reason to walk away from a home you really want.