Problems with your home’s foundation can be caused by a number of things, including climate, plumbing leaks, poor soil compaction and inadequate drainage. Years of being exposed to these issues can cause basements, concrete slabs and pier and beam foundations to develop severe issues requiring house foundation repair. Your home is likely your largest investment, so it definitely pays to be on the lookout for these common foundation warning signs.
- Spreading cracks in the foundation, especially cracks that appear to have a stair-step shape.
- Large cracks in your home’s interior walls, especially those that appear above doors, windows and at the tops of walls near the ceiling.
- Doors that once closed well no longer close easily, or even worse, do not completely close at all.
- Areas of cracking or crumbling in your home’s foundation.
- Windows that once opened and closed easily are starting to become jammed or hard to close.
- Bulging or curving visible in your home’s exterior walls.
Keep in mind, it’s normal for a foundation to sink and develop tiny cracks in the first 2-3 years following construction, but horizontal cracks in brick exteriors or the concrete block walls of your basement should cause you to be concerned. Cracks that run in a vertical direction aren’t generally a sign of trouble. Also, make sure you do not have a humidity issue that could be affecting doors and windows before you assume that foundation trouble is the cause, especially if this is the only sign of trouble you are experiencing. This is often the case during the 2-3 day period immediately following a heavy rain.
What Should You Do?
If you observe any of the signs listed above, you need to act fast to prevent further settling and possible damage to your home. The first thing you should do is to contact a qualified foundation repair contractor to conduct a thorough inspection of your home. These initial evaluations are generally provided for free, and in many instances, property owners discover that they have nothing to worry about. If repairs are needed, ask for a written estimate from the initial inspector and 1-2 other contractors in your area, and make sure any repairs come with a transferable lifetime warranty. These repairs will need to be disclosed should you sell your home, and the ability to transfer the warranty should put your buyers’ minds at ease.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
The amount you can expect to pay to fix foundation issues depends on the type and extent of the repairs needed. Major repairs can cost as much as $10,000 or more, while fixing minor cracks could cost you as little as $500. On average, the typical homeowner spends around $5,000 for basic foundation repairs. Don’t shy away from repairs due to cost – the longer you wait to get started, the more damage can occur, resulting in a higher price tag later.