When hunting for a new home, there are a million little details to consider, and each one can feel equally important as the last, leading to some burnout in an already overwhelming process. While by no means a dealbreaker for a purchasing decision, a damaged foundation can be a significant consideration for price and repair. You can live in a home with a shaky foundation, but safety, repair costs and future damage are all things you need to consider before making the ultimate purchasing decision.
What To Look Out For In Terms of Common Foundation Issues
When looking at a home’s foundation, there are a few things to keep an eye out for, and when in doubt, it may behoove you to search out the opinion of a foundation expert like our team at Tom’s Basement Waterproofing.
Cracked interior drywall and the exterior facade of a home are most commonly caused by a damaged or sinking foundation. However, not all cracks spell doom; some can be repaired relatively quickly and do not indicate damage beyond natural age.
Look out for horizontal cracks that run in a straight line, as they can mean a shifting foundation and anything a professional should inspect longer than two inches. Vertical cracking, on the other hand, can be less harmful, and a one-off crack can be caused by something as simple as summer heat expanding the material and require little more than a minor repair you can do on your own. But, if you see a pattern of vertical cracks that come in clusters or are spaced out relatively equally, it may be a cause for concern. Finally, if a gap is wider on the top or bottom rather than having a uniform shape, it is likely caused by a sinking foundation.
While a 100% accurate level is next to impossible in home building, bowing and unlevel floors or walls should not be noticeable to the naked eye. If you have one, keep an eye out for bow-shaped bends in the walls, floors, and support beams in the basement. An easy test is to close the doors and check for significant gaps between the door and the frame or if the door is difficult to shut due to an off-center opening.
The last thing to look out for is the presence of water damage. Water should ideally be kept out of the foundation if it is well sealed and can be the leading cause of slow but irreparable damage. If you smell humidity, notice rust-colored discoloration on beams or the foundation, or note the presence of mold, there is likely a leak somewhere, allowing water from outside or the plumbing to pool and slowly erode the structure of your foundation.
Foundation Repair Costs to Consider
As we stated at the start, not all damage in a potential home can end a deal right then and there. If the foundation damage is minor, you may request a repair before moving in or take the estimated cost of the fix off of the home’s final price. The most common maintenance procedures for a roughly 2000 sqft home can range from about $400-$1000 for cracks, and an average foundation repair can be difficult to estimate. However, for significant repairs and extensive water damage, you can expect to pay upwards of $15,000 for the most critical projects, dewatering, and resealing of the foundation.
For All Your Foundation Inspection And Repairs, Call Tom’s Basement Waterproofing Today At (586) 776-7270.