Is your concrete foundation in distress? Foundation problems can lead to major structural damage within your home. Whether you’re a homeowner or a prospective buyer, foundation issues are scary and you likely have a lot of questions.
Two of the main questions are:
- How much does foundation repair cost?
- Will my insurance cover foundation repair?
Luckily, there are ways to repair a concrete foundation without having to tear it out and start from scratch.
If you suspect foundation problems, do the following:
- Examine the foundation yourself for obvious issues
- Have a foundation repair company do a professional foundation inspection
- Consult with a structural engineer if necessary
For the vast majority of foundation issues, water is the primary culprit. Variations in moisture cause components of the soil to swell or shrink, leading to movement beneath your foundation.
Your property may be more susceptible to foundation damage if:
- It was built on expansive clay
- It was built on improperly compacted fill soils
- The area around the foundation has poor drainage
- You live in an area with extreme seasonal changes
- You experienced a plumbing leak below your home
- Tree roots are growing too close to your home
- An earthquake, flood or drought compromised the structure
Those soils highest in clay content are generally more susceptible while those lowest in clay content are the least affected. In some areas the movement is insignificant; in others, it is quite pronounced.
When unstable soils are used as a base for a foundation, the movement is transferred to the foundation. Since soil movement is rarely uniform, the foundation is subjected to a differential or upheaval. The problem shows up in both slab, and pier and beam type foundations.
If all the soil beneath a foundation swells uniformly, there usually is no problem. Issues occur, however, when only part of the home settles. Then, the differential movement causes cracks or other damages.
Problems resulting from foundation settlement:
- Damage to the structure
- Loss of real estate value
- Tripping hazards
- Unsightly cracks
- Equipment malfunctions
Whatever the cause, settlement can destroy the value of your home and even render it unsafe. If you see signs of foundation failure, don't delay in getting the problem solved. The longer you wait, the more your foundation will sink, causing further costly damage.
Are you wondering if you have foundation issues? All foundations will settle with time, but problems arise when this settlement is uneven or extreme.
Here are the common signs of foundation problems:
Exterior Warning Signs
- Wall rotation
- Separation around garage door, windows and/or walls
- Cracked bricks
- Broken and/or cracked foundation
- Displaced moldings
Interior Warning Signs
- Misaligned doors and windows
- Cracked sheetrock
- Cracks in floor
- Uneven floors
Bulging floors, cracked walls, and doors that won't close are all signs of foundation distress. Sixty percent of all homes built on expansive soils suffer from foundation distress. The problems occur when only part of the foundation heaves or settles, causing cracks and other damage.
This differential movement is largely caused by differences in soil moisture. Loss or gain of soil moisture can cause serious shrinkage or swelling.
If the frame of a house does not begin to distort until after three or more years of satisfactory performance, it is doubtful that the distortion is caused by full-depth foundation settlement, which is always evidenced by matching cracks. Cracks occur at each side of a portion of the foundation wall that is undergoing downward movement caused by soil bearing failure.
Settlement cracks are nearly always vertical, and they should not be confused with cracks that occur when a wall is subjected to lateral movement from soil pressure.
Hairline cracks are a common result of normal foundation settlement. However, you should be concerned if large cracks appear suddenly. If a crack is wider than an eighth of an inch you could have a possible foundation issue.
According to a Realtor.com article about foundation problems:
“Horizontal or jagged 45-degree cracks are the most serious and usually indicate you will need professional help.”
If unsure, monitor the cracks in your foundation, if they continue to expand, call a foundation repair company out to inspect the cracking.
WHAT REGIONS ARE MOST AFFECTED BY FOUNDATION FAILURE?
The soil type in certain areas of the country leads to a higher rate of foundation trouble. Areas with high clay content and coastal areas with lots of sand tend to see the most problems. Homes in these regions are at greater risk for foundation damage.
Call the Concrete Foundation Repair experts at Nick Gress Foundations at 636-219-1967 or 314-409-1497 to learn more or get a free estimate.