If your shoe moulding is broken and needs replacing, that’s not a terribly expensive repair. If you have a broken section of granite counter top, that can be more pricy to be sure. There is one part of your house, however, that is much more expensive (and imperative) to repair. Yes, I’m talking about your foundation.
That said, there’s not a very large ratio of homeowners with foundation issues to homeowners in general. Yet issues with one’s foundation is a bigger problem than you would probably think. Hence it is very important to recognize the signs that your foundation may have structural issues. As you’re going through this list, it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to start mixing concrete at the sight of one of the indicators listed below. Every case is different, so it is recommended that you call an engineer or contractor and get an expert opinion on things if you have any questions or concerns about your home.
Your Main Indicator: Settling
The main indicator you’ll come across when determining the presence of foundational issues is settling. That said, there are many ways to determine whether settling has occurred.
Uneven Mortar Joints
If you notice that the mortar joints in your home are slanted, this could be due to settling.
Mason workers are very particular about how bricks are laid. They’ll usually use levels, lasers, and other tools to make sure that every layer of bricks is perfectly level. So if you see slanted mortar joints, chances are that’s due to settling and not the contractor (assuming the house is not brand-spanking-new).
This one makes a lot of sense. If your floor is uneven, that could be an indicator of settling. As settling occurs, things start to shift below the home. As the floor is the closest thing to the foundation (typically), it would make sense that uneven floors would be a good indicator.
This is another straightforward indicator of settling. As shift happens (ha ha!), cracks will likely begin to form in masonry, wood, and other structural materials. The reasoning behind this is that everything is built on the foundation and everything is dependant on the foundation being stable. If it’s not, things can begin to fall apart–literally in some cases!
An Unstable Chimney
Again, mason workers are very meticulous. Chimneys in particular are painstakingly built to be level and therefore stable. If you see a chimney leaning or heavily damaged, it could be due to settling in that house.
When Buying, Be Wary!
As a buyer, you’ll want to be on the lookout for suspicious patch repairs. If you see the texture in a section of drywall is somewhat odd (for example, a noticeable line of smooth paint over an otherwise textured section of drywall), then be wary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! “Why does this part of the wall look strange?” “Has this window always been difficult to shut?” “Why won’t this door shut all the way (or easily)?” From there, depending on the situation, you can take a course of action. You can ask for the foundation to be inspected or you can leave and take your business elsewhere.
If Your House Has Foundation Issues
If you think your home might have foundation issues, you need to call a professional right away. The sooner you catch the problem, the easier and cheaper it can be to fix it. With that said, repairing a foundation can easily run into the thousands, yet it’s not really something you can put off for very long.
Remember, if you can’t access the funds or would rather not take out a second mortgage on your home to fix it, it may be a good idea to sell your home for cash. That way you can cut your losses, get the value you can out of your home, and move to a safe home with a stable foundation. Besides, if you have owned your home for awhile, you can make a killer down payment on a new home! If you have any questions about selling your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us.