Foundation Damage And Repairs: What You Need To Know

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Home repairs can seem to nickel and dime you to death, but a foundation repair can feel like the end of the world. Potentially costing you tens of thousands of dollars, foundation damage can be a scary thing, but being educated about foundation problems can ease your mind. In this article you'll learn how to know if you are in need of foundation repairs, what types of repairs are available and some common misconceptions about foundation damage.

How to Tell if You Have Significant Damage to Your Foundation

Your home probably didn't come with an owner's guide, so you have to be vigilant about what goes on around the house. When parts of your home aren't working properly or feeling right, you need to investigate or hire a professional to check things out for you.

Foundation damage can have several symptoms, including:

  • Cracks in the brick veneer on the exterior of your house
  • Gaps between your window and door frames and the siding
  • Slopes in the roofline
  • Stress cracks in the drywall in your house, typically above doors and under windows
  • Problems with opening or closing doors and windows, which can change seasonally
  • Slopes in the flooring

Some of these symptoms can be caused by other issues. If you can see cracks in the brick veneer outside and stress cracks in your drywall inside, there is little doubt that a repair to your foundation is required and a professional should be called immediately to assess the damage.

Foundation care is important not only for the structural integrity of your home, but also if you plan to sell it. Real Estate agents typically suggest a significant discount on the asking price of homes with foundation issues and conventional loans can be denied. Often, a repair can cost half of the discounted asking price and also expand the group of potential buyers.

Types of Foundation Repairs

There are two basic outcomes of foundation movement that results in damage, an uneven house and a foundation that is washed out.

An uneven foundation can be repaired by the following methods:

  • Wood or steel braces. This repair involves using wood or steel braces to reinforce foundation walls that are tipped, bowed or severely cracked. Braces, which cost approximately $500 to $700 each, are spaced about 6 feet apart on the entire length of the wall.
  • Carbon-fiber mesh. This is a newer method of repair and can cost less than half as much. Epoxy is spread in vertical strips and a carbon-fiber mesh is pressed into the epoxy to lock the wall into place. This can also be a preferred choice because it uses less space on interior walls than the braces use.
  • Wall anchors. The wall anchor method begins with excavating to install metal plates in your yard around the foundation. More metal plates are then affixed to the inside of your foundation walls and the two are connected by steel rods that are buried horizontally. The foundation walls are stabilized and straightened as the connectors are gradually tightened. Wall anchors compare in cost to wood and steel braces and are spaced in roughly the same way.

These methods can be very effective and less costly than other options. However, if a foundation wall is too bowed, interior corrections are not likely to work.

If your only option is to dig out and rebuild the foundation, you may be looking at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

A foundation that has been washed out can be repaired using these methods:

  • Reinforcing the affected area with additional concrete or using shims at the sill plate to level the area.
  • Tearing out and re-pouring an area and affixing it to the existing wall using rebar and epoxy.

These methods can be relatively expensive, costing as little as $500. More severe damage may cost thousands.

The most important part of any foundation repair is to address the cause of the damage and prevent it from further damaging the area.

Common Misconceptions About Foundation Damage

Discovering damage to your home's foundation may put you in a state of panic. Horror stories about faulty foundations cause a lot of misconceptions about foundation repairs.

The following are some of the biggest misconceptions about foundation damage and repair:

  • A damaged foundation is the builders fault. When foundation damage occurs, it is caused by water in the soil and soil movement. It has nothing to do with the foundation itself.
  • Cracks show where the problem is. When your foundation moves, the pressure will cause cracks. Those cracks are actually a relief point in the structure and not actually where the movement took place.
  • If any portion of a foundation is damaged, the whole things needs to go. This is rarely the case. Repairs are always preferable to rebuilding an entire foundation and can save you thousands of dollars.

These misconceptions can cost you vast amounts of money and are the reason that homeowners should always call in a professional to evaluate the situation and make recommendations about the necessary repairs.

Foundation damage can cause you to have nightmares about your house folding like a house of cards. Being educated and relying on a professional can help ease those fears. Use the information in this article to prepare yourself for possible foundation problems and call a foundation contractor the moment you suspect a problem. Click here for more information.