Some cracks in the foundation are minor and easy to fix. Cracks larger than 1/8 of an inch cause concern, and fine cracks should be repaired to prevent water damage. If you discover large cracks, consult a structural engineer about your options. Basic problems are no small thing; however, in most cases, the problem can be solved (although the cost will vary).
One of the biggest dangers of buying a home with foundation problems is discovering that, while the foundations were built perfectly, the ground beneath them moved. Most builders perform a soil test, especially when building on unlevel ground, to ensure that the foundations remain in place; however, this test may fail or contractors may not test. If this is the case, more extensive foundation repairs are needed, including lifting the house to install new foundation pillars to level it and reinforce existing foundations. In extreme cases where the damage is extensive, you also run the risk of having to replace the entire base.
If you discover foundation problems after you already own the home, make repairs your top priority and worry about who should pay for them later. If foundation repair is delayed, additional problems can arise, such as mold, insects, and plumbing issues. In addition, the problem could worsen, aggravating the amount of work and expense needed to fix it. False Signs of Foundation Problems Still Cause Homeowners Concern.
You might also be seeing some signs that are more indicative of foundation problems and some that are falling into this category of “not worrying so much”. It's also important to note that regular preventive maintenance of your home can help preserve your foundation, said Craig Russell, founder and CEO of The English Contractor, a Cincinnati contracting firm. Fortunately, there are ways to repair a concrete base without having to tear it off and start from scratch. When a buyer orders a home inspection, the inspector will look for key indicators of foundation problems.
The problem occurs when only part of the base is lifted or seated, causing cracks and other damage. You might think that signs of the foundation problem will appear on floors, ceilings, or other horizontal surfaces. Variations in moisture cause soil components to swell or shrink, causing movement below the base. When water leaving the roof is not controlled through downspouts or gutters, it can seriously undermine the base.
However, you should understand that a problem with the foundation will likely cause at least a delay with closing and could jeopardize your mortgage application, because lenders worry about homes with foundation problems. Whether you buy a home, sell one, or just live in one with no future plans to go anywhere, a strong foundation is essential to the integrity of a home. If they are happening along with some of the other definitive signs, then it contributes to the overall story of the foundation settlement in your home. Watch for potential foundation issues at every stage of your home buying process for the best chance of resolving issues quickly.
It is usually desirable that the settlement of building slabs and monolithic foundations be corrected in residential areas without having to move all furniture, appliances and possibly the whole family, or in commercial areas, without disrupting business. While sand doesn't expand or contract like clay soils, it can be washed away, creating voids under the foundation. Your first call after learning of a foundation problem should be to your real estate agent, for advice on how to proceed. Anchor Foundation Repair has been the trusted voice in Brazos Valley foundation repair since 1985.