What to Do with a Damaged Foundation

A Short Guide to Damaged FoundationsMost people know that homes aren't as static as they look. While they appear to stay in one place, homes are always making small adjustments and settling back into the ground. So even if a home hasn't undergone an Earthquake or other destructive force, that doesn't mean it won't endure a damaged foundation. See when the problem calls for professional attention and what criteria to use when choosing a solution for your Palisades home.

Bad Signs

Settling doesn't always mean that there's a problem with the foundation, so homeowners don't necessarily need to worry if their home is creaking more than it used to. What they should be aware of is when they can no longer smoothly close doors or open windows anymore or if there seem to be a lot of cracks forming on the walls as of late.

Homeowners should also look below them if they have concrete floors that seem to be splitting apart. Puddling under the supports or poles in a basement may also indicate that there's foundation damage, as can crumbling concrete anywhere within or along the home. Soft concrete is usually an indicator of foundation problems. Homeowners should take a moment to observe the outside of the home for bulges, sagging, or leaning in any of the sides.

Next Steps

Catching foundation damage early is usually the best way to prevent a costly repair, but it's also the right move for the safety of the inhabitants of the home. Large cracks in the foundation not only make the home less structurally sound, they can also invite insects or animals to come and stay a while. When it comes to the actual type of cracking, it's the horizontal cracks in the wall that indicate the most severe form of damage, followed by cracks shaped like a staircase, and finally L-shaped cracks.

These situations may call for a professional's opinion, which can range in price depending on the area and skill level of the contractor. A hairline crack is usually nothing to be concerned about (although hairline cracks don't always stay tiny forever.) One DIY option available to homeowners is to treat any crack less than 1/16" with a concrete waterproof paint. If after a few weeks (or months) the concrete has cracked, it may be a sign that the home is under too much pressure.

Calling in a Pro

Foundation damage is generally not going to be a DIY project for most homeowners which is unfortunate because the repairs can be expensive. Major damage especially requires a contractor that may charge up to $2,000 just to draw-up plans to treat it! However, the amount a homeowner pays is dependent on how much damage there actually is. Small cracks may be fixed for under $500, but a significant repair generally costs about $10,000.

Brand new foundations may cost up to $40,000. There are two common methods when it comes to foundation repair. A team may either fill in gaps to the foundation or use supports to prop it up instead. The method chosen will largely depend on the problems as well as the structural components of the home.

Structural problems in a home are inevitable over time, but catching them early gives homeowners a way to address them without having to dip into their retirement funds. Small damage doesn't necessarily need anything more than a small fix by the homeowner, but larger damage will call for a professional.

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