Becoming a homeowner is a huge and happy milestone. Homeownership gives you the freedom to create your own domestic comfort. From renovating a bathroom or kitchen to keeping pets – you don’t need the blessings of the landlord.
Owning a home comes with a number of responsibilities though. Key among this list of responsibilities is maintenance and upkeep. Routine maintenance and upkeep help preserve the property’s value. It also helps prevent costly repairs.
Foundation repairs certainly fall into the costly-to-repair category. In this article, we’ll look at the top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t put off foundation repair. But first, let’s look at:
Causes of Foundation Failure
Typically, soil conditions are the root of foundation issues. Your home’s foundation can shift, settle and even crack if there are continuous changes in the soil under and/or around your home.
The following are a few telltale signs that your home’s foundation is under duress:
- Chimneys begin to crack.
Expanding soil and poor exterior drainage can cause foundation cracking and settling. This has the potential to cause the chimney to crack or tilt.
- Doors begin to stick.
When cracking, settling, or shifting occurs in the foundation, problems with doors can occur.
- Walls start bowing and cracking.
This can be caused by three common culprits: poor water drainage, hydrostatic pressure, and soil movement beneath the foundation.
- Floors begin to sag or get uneven.
A floor that is warping or uneven can be related directly to foundation problems. Inadequate foundation waterproofing, humidity from water seepage and shifting soil can contribute to flooring issues.
- Bugs begin invading your home.
Bugs such as roaches, carpenter ants, earwigs, silverfish, pill bugs, and centipedes are drawn to environments that are wet and often enter through cracks in the foundation.
All these are signs of structural damage. Fix them as soon as you spot them. However, one mistake that many homeowners make is procrastinating on fixing these issues.
This not only worsens the problem but also makes repairing the problem unnecessarily expensive.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Foundation Repair
Here’s what you can expect if you ignore an emerging foundation problem:
1. Expensive Foundation Repair Costs
If your vacuum cleaner or refrigerator isn’t functioning properly, you can have it fixed anytime you want without extra costs. This is not the case when it comes to foundation issues.
The longer you wait, the more expensive the repair becomes. With foundations, you need to act as quickly as possible once you spot any of the signs.
According to HomeAdvisor, most homeowners will pay around $4,004 to have foundation issues fixed. Minor cracks can cost you as low as $500, while major repairs can cost around $10,000.
2. Additional Structural Damage
By definition, a home’s foundation is the load-bearing portion of the structure. What does this mean? It means that a home’s foundation is as essential as it sounds – it’s foundational!
A weakened foundation can cause a domino effect. The effect can make the structure it was meant to support become strained and stressed.
A foundation that is unsteady can affect many parts of the house. From ceilings and walls to window frames and attached garages. And the more the damage spreads, the more expensive it becomes to repair it.
3. Water Damage
Wood is especially susceptible to damage from water. This almost becomes certain once crevices and cracks start appearing in foundation slabs.
Foundation damage from water may proceed silently and may become serious before being discovered. The moment you notice signs of water damage, call a foundation repair specialist as soon as possible.
4. Postponing Repairs
Foundation experts always recommend fixing foundation damage early. Early-stage repairs will not only cost you a reasonable amount but will also prevent the problem from escalating.
Often, foundation repair companies get booked out for several weeks during periods of drought. This will make you wait unnecessarily longer to get your foundation problem fixed.
5. Lost DIY Opportunity
One cause of foundation damage is water damage, particularly that surrounding your home. If this issue is detected early, you may not need professional assistance.
For instance, you can address drainage problems by rearranging downspouts to empty in different locations. You can also solve this issue by adding length to existing gutters. The goal here would be to make sure water doesn’t drain around your home’s foundation.
Another popular DIY water diversion project is installing your own French drain. A French drain is a perforated tube that is buried in the ground to collect excess rainwater and groundwater.
However, before proceeding with the project, you’ll need to know a problem exists, to begin with. This is what a professional foundation repair evaluation will help you uncover.
6. Mold and Mildew Invasion
Both mold and mildew grow in moist and warm places. Similar to insects, mold, and mildew have the potential to cause serious physical damage to your foundation, but that’s only the start.
As household contaminants, some mold and mildew spores can set off asthma and allergy attacks, says EPA. These attacks can leave you and your loves ones coughing, sneezing, scratching, wheezing and feeling sick.
7. Plumbing Issues
Ignoring foundation issues can also lead to a variety of plumbing issues. Water pipes, in particular, are susceptible to breaking. This occurs when the concrete foundation slab gets dislocated or dropped by the contraction or experiences expansion of the subsoil.
Because of the difficulty in accessing under-slab pipes, fixing them is oftentimes expensive. Also, a professional evaluation is required in order for the problems to be correctly diagnosed.
Water pipes above the ground can get damaged too. When foundation shifts, the pipes that run through walls and beneath floors can be affected as well. This is because structural displacement throughout the house can be caused by movement down below.
8. Insect Infestation
If you put off foundation repair, you also risk insect infestations. Insects look for environments that are humid and sheltered.
Examples of these creepy-crawlies include spiders, silverfish, mosquitoes, carpenter ants, and termites. So, if the infestation does occur, you’ll not only pay for your foundation repair costs but will also have to pay for extermination fees as well.
Once these creepy-crawlies are inside cracks, they build mud tunnels. Through extensive use, the tunnels get widened. This exerts pressure on the foundation cracks, causing the structure to weaken further.
In the case of concrete foundations, the more immediate risk is to the components that are adjacent to the foundation itself. These components include structural supports like floor joists. Floor joists are generally made of wood.
The pier-and-beam foundation can also suffer more immediate and dramatic problems. This is because such foundations are mostly wooden and wood is a source of food for termites.
9. Increase in Utility Bills
Foundation problems can also affect your utility bills. When conversations about energy efficiency come up, most people think about the things inside the home.
For example, the heating unit that’s been hanging around for ages. Or, the washer and dryer that could stand to use a little less energy.
Yes, replacing these inefficient appliances could help a homeowner save on heating and cooling costs. But the truth of the matter is that the structure of your home also plays a significant part in energy consumption.
Home developers have grown wise to this fact insomuch that many are using better insulation, air sealing, and thermal envelopes in new projects.
But oftentimes what goes unmentioned is how heating and cooling costs get impacted by a house’s foundation. A damaged foundation can slowly inch up your cooling and heating bills due to air leakage.
10. Reduced Property Value
Damaged foundation can negatively affect a house’s value. This is because foundation problems can be costly to fix. Therefore, selling a home with a damaged foundation can be rather difficult.
Usually, before your sales transaction, buyers will insist to get a third party inspection. It’s during this time that structural issues can get detected. If the buyer is still interested in your home even after a foundation issue is discovered, they will likely seek an evaluation.
A report will show the severity of the problem. At this point, the buyer might decide whether or not to walk away.
How to Prevent Foundation Problems
Well, the answer is a no-brainer – conduct preventative maintenance! Prevention is always better than cure. Don’t put off foundation repair, act on it immediately.
That means hiring a professional foundation repair company to assess the problem. A free foundation assessment will be offered so you only get charged if a problem is found.
Generally speaking, most foundation problems can be repaired at a reasonable cost so long as the issue is detected early.
The foundation of your home is its backbone, holding and securing the structure in place. As such, when it’s compromised, act quickly and have the issue fixed immediately.
Putting off foundation repair not only exacerbates the issue, it also makes the repair unnecessary costly. Act now!