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The Indiana Guide to Foundation Repair

Are you a homeowner in Indiana looking for trustworthy information about foundation repair? If so, don’t hit that “back” button because you’re in the right place! In this blog post, we’ll discuss warning signs of foundation problems, foundation repair options, best practices for preventing damage to your home, and more.  

What Is a Foundation?

A foundation is the base that supports a building or structure. It is the very first thing built when constructing a building you want to last. Without a solid foundation, a building can easily collapse or suffer serious damage. 

Foundations are usually made of poured concrete or masonry. They distribute the weight of the building or structure evenly across the ground, ensuring it remains stable and secure. The depth and size of the foundation will depend on the size and weight of the structure that is being built. High-rise buildings require much deeper foundations than residential homes.

In addition to providing support, foundations prevent moisture from seeping into the building and insulate it from the cold. They can also provide protection from earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters.

Most Foundation Problems Are Caused by One of Two Things

When it comes to foundation problems, there are usually two key culprits: differential settlement and hydrostatic pressure. 

Differential settlement occurs when different parts of the foundation settle into the ground at different rates. This can cause all sorts of issues, such as wall cracks, sticking windows and doors, and uneven floors.

Hydrostatic pressure happens when there’s excess moisture in the ground around the foundation that cannot drain off. The pressure pushes against foundation walls, and if it isn’t relieved, the walls can eventually bow inward and even crack. 

Both differential settlement and foundation damage caused by hydrostatic pressure are serious and require attention from a foundation repair professional. However, the vast majority of foundation problems can be fixed. Rarely does a foundation need to be replaced. So, if your home has a foundation problem, it’s not the end of the world.

Common Signs That Your Home Might Have a Foundation Issue

  • Cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors  
  • Uneven floors 
  • Doors and windows that don’t open and close properly
  • Stairstep cracks in brick or masonry
  • A chimney or porch that’s leaning away from the house
  • Walls that aren’t in contact with the ceiling or floor

If you see any of the above – or anything else that strikes you as suspicious – don’t hesitate to have a professional take a look. 

How Are Foundations Repaired?

The chosen foundation repair option will depend on the type of problem. Repair options to correct differential settlement are not the same as those used to repair a basement wall crack caused by hydrostatic pressure. So, the key is figuring out what caused the problem in the first place. 

Repair Options for Differential Settlement

If it’s a case of differential settlement, the answer is usually underpinning. This is where a set of piers is placed beneath the foundation and then driven deep down into the earth to support your home’s weight. Depending on the specific situation, a few different types of piers might be used, including push piers, helical piers, or slab piers.

On the other hand, if the problem is due to hydrostatic pressure, where water is putting excessive force on the walls of your foundation, then the solution might be something like carbon fiber straps or wall anchors. For more information, see Fixing Cracks in Basement Walls.

What Will Happen if I Don’t Fix the Foundation Problem?

If you notice a foundation problem, your best bet is to fix it immediately. Foundation issues tend to get worse over time if they’re ignored, meaning that if you wait, you’ll likely end up paying more for the repair. 

Tips on Buying and Selling a House With a Foundation Issue

Buying a Home With a Foundation Problem

If you’re considering buying a home with a foundation problem, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind to ensure you’re making a smart investment.

First of all, it’s important to understand the severity of the foundation issue. Some problems may be relatively easy and affordable to fix. However, if differential settlement has caused significant damage, repairing it could cost tens of thousands of dollars. So, make sure you have a foundation repair professional inspect the house to get a clear idea of the problem’s scope. If there’s a foundation issue, get a repair estimate and figure that into your offer. 

Never sign on the dotted line before getting the property inspected by a licensed foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer. 

Selling a Home With a Foundation Problem

Before putting your house on the market, have a professional foundation inspection done to determine the extent of the foundation problem. This will give you a better understanding of what kinds of repairs are needed and how much they might cost.

If there is a foundation issue, disclose the problem upfront. It’s important to be upfront and honest about the foundation problem with potential buyers. In fact, it’s the law. Disclose the problem in the listing and be prepared to discuss it openly with interested parties.

Once you know which repairs are needed, get a few different quotes from reputable contractors. This will give you an idea of the costs involved and help you negotiate with buyers.

How You Can Help Prevent Foundation Damage to Your Home

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent foundation issues from occurring. These include the following:

  • Regrade your yard – This means ensuring the ground around your house slopes away from the foundation. This makes it easier for groundwater to drain away from your home rather than seeping into the foundation and causing damage.
  • Install downspout extensions – Downspouts are the pipes that help redirect water from your roof to the ground. By adding extensions to them, you can ensure water is dumped a safe distance away from your foundation.
  • Clean gutters regularly – Cleaning gutters is also crucial to maintaining a strong foundation. Gutters help direct water away from your home’s foundation, but they can get clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris. Make sure to clean them regularly to prevent water from spilling over, running down the side of your house, and soaking the ground around the foundation. 
  • Install a drain tile system – This involves digging a trench around the perimeter of your home’s foundation at the footing level and adding drainage pipes that will help move excess groundwater away from your foundation and prevent damage from occurring.
  • Keep trees away from the foundation – Some trees have root systems as wide as their canopies. If their roots invade the ground under the foundation, it can cause a lot of trouble. It’s best to keep trees at least 50 feet away from the foundation. 

If you suspect your Indiana home might have a foundation problem, contact us today to schedule a free inspection and receive a repair estimate. 

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