Your home’s stability is directly tied to its foundation, yet many homeowners don’t prioritize preventative maintenance until it’s too late. We understand that navigating foundation repairs can be overwhelming, so we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide on repairing foundation problems.
Don’t let a damaged foundation jeopardize your home’s safety – get informed and take action today.
Causes of Foundations Problems
Foundation problems can be caused by various things, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Expansive soil – One of the most common causes of foundation trouble is something called “expansive soil.” This is clay-rich soil that swells as it absorbs moisture and shrinks when it dries out. This back and forth, shrinking and swelling, creates movement in the ground under the foundation and can, over time, cause structural problems.
- Erosion-prone soil – Another culprit is erosion-prone soil, which groundwater can easily wash away. When this occurs, voids can form under the foundation leading to destabilization.
- Seismic events – It will probably come as no surprise that earthquakes can cause foundation problems. The shaking and vibrational forces associated with such events can lead to cracking, shifting, and other forms of damage.
- Inadequate soil preparation – Soil must be adequately compacted or tamped down before construction begins. The foundation can become unstable and prone to settling over time if this isn’t done.
- Your neighbor digs a big hole next to your home – Excavation work too close to a foundation can undermine its stability, leading to structural damage.
In addition to these factors, other causes of foundation problems may include:
- Poorly designed or executed construction practices.
- Inadequate drainage systems.
- Changes in moisture levels.
- Poor maintenance.
Signs Of Foundation Problems
There are plenty of clues that your foundation may have a problem. These include the following:
- Doors and windows are misaligned and don’t open and close properly.
- Cracks in walls, floors, or ceilings.
- Torn wallpaper. (The wall behind the wallpaper might be cracked.)
- Gaps between wall seams and/or gaps between the walls and the ceiling.
- A bowed and/or cracked basement wall.
- There’s standing water in the basement.
- Stair step cracks in brick or masonry.
- Uneven floors.
Foundation Repair Options When Selling a Home
If you’re trying to sell a home with a foundation problem, you must be upfront and transparent with potential buyers. Foundation issues can be a serious concern for buyers and may scare them away from purchasing your property if not addressed properly.
Before listing your home, have a professional inspect the foundation. This can help you identify any issues that need to be addressed and allow you to provide buyers with accurate information about the property.
You can either sell the property as-is or fix the foundation problem before selling it.
If you’re planning to repair the foundation first, work with a reputable contractor and ensure the repair warranty is transferable to the new owner. This will give buyers peace of mind and make the home more desirable.
If you’re going to sell the property as-is, you’ll need to disclose the problem to potential buyers. This can include providing documentation about the issue and any previous repairs that have been made, as well as discussing possible solutions with buyers.
What Happens If You Don't Resolve Foundation Problems?
If you neglect a foundation problem, it can escalate into a much larger issue. For instance, cracks on your walls, ceilings, and floors are common signs of a foundation problem. These cracks will expand and grow wider if left unresolved, making your house structurally unstable and unsafe.
Unresolved foundation problems can also cause water to leak into your house, seeping through the walls, floors, and ceilings. This can result in costly repairs, as well as mold and mildew growth, which can pose serious health hazards for you and your family.
Foundation problems can also have a significant impact on your property value. When a potential buyer discovers that your house has foundation issues, they may either walk away from the deal or offer a lower price.
To sum up, ignoring foundation problems puts the structural integrity of your home at risk, creates health hazards for anyone living in the house, and reduces your property value. Therefore, it’s crucial to address foundation problems promptly by contacting a foundation repair professional as soon as you notice anything suspicious.
Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Foundation Problems
Believe it or not, most foundation problems are caused by excess water in the ground around the foundation. Therefore, controlling groundwater is a step toward preventing trouble. Here are some ways to help get groundwater under control around your home:
- Re-grade your yard, if necessary– The yard around your house should slope away from your foundation at a rate of six inches for every 10 feet. This will ensure water flows away from the home.
- Keep trees away from the house – Trees next to the foundation are an issue. The larger the tree, the larger the root system. This root system can push against foundation walls, enter through cracks, and even undermine the soil of the foundation, causing settlement. Trees should be at least 15 feet away from the house.
- Install downspout extensions – Downspout extensions are inexpensive and easy to install. Make sure they release water at least 15 feet from the foundation.
- Clean your gutters regularly – Gutters full of dead leaves and other debris can cause water to spill over the side of the house and soak the ground around the foundation.
- Repair cracks in foundation walls as soon as you see them – Even tiny cracks can allow water to enter through a foundation wall.
- Install a drain tile system – When it comes to foundation waterproofing, nothing beats a drain tile system.
Invest in a sump pump
Sump pumps can be an excellent investment if you have a deep basement that tends to flood with a lot of rain. These little machines take all the water entering the home and propel it away from the home.
We prefer cast-iron submerged sump pumps. They can last 7-10 years, and possibly longer, depending on usage. We recommend switching sump pumps every 5-7 years.
If you suspect your Chicagoland home might need foundation repair, contact The Real Seal today. We specialize in everything from repairing cracks in foundation walls to installing sump pumps and water wells. Don’t let your problems get out of hand. Call us today!