The foundation is the most important component of any single family residential home. If the foundation is compromised, the rest of the house isn’t far behind. But what causes foundation damage? And if you have signs of foundation damage, what are you supposed to do?
The Dangers of Foundation Damage
Before delving into the common causes of foundation damage, let’s explore why foundation damage matters. In other words, why is it such a big deal?
- Structural integrity. Foundation damage can compromise the structural integrity of the entire home – all the way up to the roof! Even the smallest fractures and cracks can lead to serious issues that cost thousands of dollars to fix.
- Water damage. Large cracks in the foundation of a home can lead to water damage in a home’s crawlspace or basement. In homes with basements, cracks that are left for years at a time could eventually lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
- Pests. As cracks become larger, they open a home up to the possibility of pest infestations. From ants and cockroaches to spiders and termites, pests are never something you want to bring inside.
- Insurance. Try increasing your property insurance coverage amount when you have existing foundation damage. Most insurers will deny you coverage, while others will charge you massive premiums for minimal coverage.
- Home value. Finally, foundation damage will directly impact the value of your home. It’s something that must be disclosed during the sale process, and any uncorrected issues will make it hard to sell at a good price.
As you can see, your home’s foundation impacts just about every aspect of your home. If you notice damage, it’s important that you correct the underlying problems as quickly as possible.
The 5 Common Causes of Foundation Damage
Foundation damage can be caused by any number of factors, but these five issues account for the majority of problems:
In many climates around the country, soil shrinkage is the most common cause of foundation damage for single-family homes.
“Soil shrinkage occurs when the water is removed from the ground. This can be caused by a drought, heat wave, or just an extended dry period,” Dependable Home Services explains. “As the moisture is removed from the ground, it begins to shrink, pulling away from your foundation. This leaves room for movement and settlement, which can cause cracks in your home’s brick, concrete or block foundation.”
If you have poor drainage around your home’s foundation, you could actually be creating your own foundation problems. It’s absolutely imperative that water is channeled away from the home to preserve the natural state of the soil and avoid creating pockets of moisture.
When a plumbing leak occurs in water lines or sewer lines and the moisture collects around or underneath your home’s foundation, cracking may occur. The trickiest part about this is that most homeowners don’t catch leaks underneath the house until they’ve been there for months or years. At this point, the foundation may already be compromised.
It’s entirely possible that a home’s foundation wasn’t constructed appropriately from the beginning. In this case, the foundation may settle after a few years and create cracking. The most common engineering problem is an improperly sized foundation for the type of soil and load.
Finally, and most unpredictably, foundation damage can be caused by geotechnical issues that are outside of human control or influence. Examples include earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes, and flooding. In these cases, foundation damage can be extensive and may require significant reengineering.
How to Correct Foundation Damage
If you find that your home has foundation damage, it’s important that you don’t delay in getting a professional opinion. The sooner you deal with cracks and damage, the less costly and extensive the repairs will be.
Foundation repair companies use a variety of methods to fix foundation damage. Which method is used depends on the type of damage, the extent of the damage, the construction of the home, the age of the home, and other related factors.
Do your research, get multiple opinions, and choose the option that you’re most comfortable with.
Article Submitted By Community Writer