Everything around your home is centered around the foundation. And a shoddy foundation can cause major problems down the line if it’s not addressed immediately. The state of your foundation can also affect the cost of your insurance and determine if you’ll receive a payout if your home were to experience damage due to a natural disaster.
Step 1: Act Quickly Before Minor Issues Worsen
Whenever possible act to prevent problems before they arise. Make it a habit to check for foundational stress at least once a year by taking a walk through your basement and around the outside of your home. Signs of a problem include cracks in the foundation itself (particularly horizontal ones larger than a hairline), uneven or sloping floors, doors or windows that won’t open or close properly anymore, and water damage (puddles or moisture in the wood) which signals improper drainage.
Step 2: Confirm That You’ve Got A Problem
If you find a crack that has you worried, but isn’t an insurmountable gap, take the time to coat it with concrete waterproofing paint. Then keep an eye on it. If the crack reappears after the paint has dried, it means the gap that produced the crack is growing and should be addressed. If you suspect water drainage problems, try shutting down all water-using appliances in your home. Then watch the water meter for 6 to 12 hours. If the levels change in that time, your water is finding another way out of the house. Finally, if you suspect a sloping floor, rest a tennis ball on it and look for rolling.
Step 3: Try Fixing The Problem Yourself
DIY methods can be used if the problem is small. Like little cracks in the walls or floors. Fill these with a vinyl concrete patch, or a similar product. Be sure the material you use is flexible and can move a because concrete expands and contracts to keep stable. If the crack is larger than a couple millimeters, especially if it is horizontal (vertical are less worrisome), call an expert.
Step 4: Get Expert Help If The Problem Persists
When all is said and done and the issues persist it’s definitely time to call for backup. DIY solutions are temporary and even though it will cost more to get a professional in the money is worth it to prevent your house from collapsing! Reach out to a foundation specialist or a structural engineer if there are any signs that have you worried about a shifting or crumbling foundation.
If you have more in-depth questions, or want advice on a foundation specialist, talk to your trusted local real estate agent to get a great referral.