Does your Indiana home have cracks around its doors or windows? What about a cracking or leaning chimney or a damaged front or back porch? These issues, while they may not seem major, may be highlighting a much bigger problem affecting your home. To understand how to identify foundation damage in your home from common indicators like these, check out the list below. From sticking windows to uneven floors, these tips will help you identify and fix foundation problems in your home before they can grow and cause major structural damage to the home.
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For both homeowners and those looking to buy a new home, foundation issues can be an expensive home maintenance problem to fix. That’s why a home inspection that includes a foundation review is required by law in the home buying process. It’s also why we recommend regular professional foundation inspections from an expert to ensure you find and fix foundation damage as soon as possible. By protecting your home’s foundation, you can reduce costly home repairs in the future and protect the long-term value of your home.
What causes foundation problems?
Over time, buildings in Indiana settle into the ground underneath where the structure was built. That’s why it’s important to inspect the change in your home’s foundation and fix any problems, including cracks, as soon as possible. As a home ages, the soil beneath its foundation can become unstable. When the soil levels shrink under a home, foundation settlement can occur. The opposite happens when soil levels rise under a foundation, leading to foundation heave.
In addition, foundation damage can be caused by water leaks and flooding. Even a small leak can cause major issues when left unfixed. One way to protect your home’s foundation is to ensure the drains are cleaned often, the gutters are clear, and downspouts are pointed away from the home. Water that pools near a home’s foundation and exterior walls due to poor drainage can damage the foundation of the home.
Indiana foundations are also impacted by:
- Time/age of home
- Changing soil conditions
- Weather conditions
- Major events like earthquakes and floods
- Water damage
Because a home’s foundation can be impacted by many different factors, it’s important to note that new homes can have foundation damage as well as older ones. The age of a home is not the only indicator of whether foundation damage has occurred.
What is a stem wall?
The three main things that cause foundation damage, according to Realtor.com, are:
- stem wall deterioration
- foundation settlement
- foundation heave
When a home is built in Indiana, a concrete foundation acts as the base for the structure. On top of the foundation, stem walls are built, with other walls and floors attached to them. Because the home’s stem walls lock in the structure of the home, even a small issue with the foundation can impact the entire home. That’s why these common indicators can help you identify and fix foundation damage before it gets any worse.
Identify foundation damage with these common indicators
Forces beyond our control, including time and weather, may impact the health of our home’s foundation. But catching and fixing those problems when they are small is in your hands. To help identify foundation damage in your home, consider these eight common things to look for:
- Cracks in the floors or walls
- Sticking doors and windows
- Openings between doors, windows, and the outdoors
- Sagging or slanting floors
- Cracking, fallen, or leaning chimney
- Bowing basement walls
- Musty smell due to mold or mildew growth in the basement or crawl space
- Dampness or water intrusion and leaks
What will it cost to fix foundation damage in my Indiana home?
According to Inch Calculator, average foundation repair costs in South Bend, IN, can start at $2,500 and grow to $9,800, depending on the severity of the issue. In Gary, IN, the cost averages from $2,700 to $10,800. That’s a bit higher than the national average for advanced repairs at $10,000. The average cost of minor repairs nationwide is $3,500.
The cost to fix foundation damage in a home varies across the country and depends on how serious the problem is, what method is used to fix it, and how long the problem has been growing. On average, it costs less for repairs in rural areas than it does in larger cities. For example, the average cost for major repairs is $50,595 in Washington, D.C., and $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA.
What home buyers should know about foundation repairs
According to Trulia, most states require sellers to tell home buyers about foundation damage in the home. To protect your future investment, a home inspection is also required, which includes a close look at the home’s foundation by a professional. It’s important to understand just how much a home’s health and future worth can be impacted by foundation damage. Even a small crack can grow if it’s not identified and fixed right away. Foundation damage can also open the home up to water damage, mold and mildew growth, and pests.
If foundation repairs have been made to the home recently, the work may be protected under a warranty. Ask the homeowners for warranty information for all repairs done to the home to protect the investment. In addition, if foundation damage is uncovered by the home inspector during the buying process, consider asking the homeowners to reduce the price of the home to cover immediate repairs. From water leaks to cracks and faulty windows, even small damages to a home’s foundation can impact the entire structure of the building. Leaving a small crack to grow will only cost more to fix in the future.
Invest in expert repairs for a healthy home
If you identify one of the common indicators of foundation damage in your home, your next step should be contacting a professional foundation expert. At Indiana Foundation Service, our knowledgeable local team will provide a free inspection and repair estimate to help you understand the issue and the steps to fix it before it grows.