A Homeowner's Guide to Foundation Damage

Posted by Shawn Clayton on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at 12:07pm.

When to Be Concerned About Foundation DamageHow large of an issue is foundation damage for homeowners? Problems with the foundation may show up initially as cracks above windows, an easily observable change. Cracks in the foundation can later become wider systemic problems for homeowners, especially if they are not addressed quickly. The foundation is an important structural aspect of a home, especially waterfront properties, and issues can make for extra expenses when it comes time to sell a property.

When Should Homeowners Worry?

Is a crack the end of the world? Not all cracks indicate serious damage. Some cracks may form as a result of natural settling. In such cases, home inspector Kelvin Liriano suggests sealing thin cracks in order to protect the home from water intrusion. However, this is one of the most comforting and least expensive repairs to make for homeowners.

A homeowner can live years in a home with a damaged foundation and be oblivious of a problem. This is not recommended. Homeowners want to investigate the source when they see one or multiple cracks that develop above windows, in addition to doors or windows that have started to jam. Homeowners that do not address cracks or damage in the foundation may have a home that is more susceptible to mold growth, water seepage and pest infestations. These issues, individually and in combination, can make it challenging to sell a home.

What Are Some Signs of a Problem?

Most homeowners do not often check the integrity of the foundation. However, this is a useful practice. A foundation that easily breaks or chips may need to be replaced as the material's composition was inadequate. This can be a costly repair. Other signs of foundation damage are:

  • Problems latching or closing doors or windows;
  • Cracks developing in tiles (ceramic) placed over concrete; and
  • Cracks forming at the intersection of the ceiling and walls or above doorways or windows.

Homeowners may want to then look into the possibility of a foundation issue. It is useful to get a professional inspection to pinpoint the cause. A homeowner can then learn more about their remediation options. Very large cracks may indicate a more expensive repair. There may be more than one issue causing the formation of cracks, such as natural settlement, lateral pressure on walls and concrete shrinkage.

How Much Money Will It Take to Fix the Problem?

This is where professional guidance comes in handy. A structural engineer may also be able to assist, but the inspection may run up to $700, with up to $2,000 for a potential solution. However, this may be worth the initial outlay in order to protect the value of a Seaside Park home and prevent further problems. Solutions may include:

  • Up to $40,000 to replace the foundation;
  • $70 to $500 for a single steel brace; and
  • $1,200 or more for each pier necessary to underpin the foundation.

Fixing serous foundation damage requires professional help. Homeowners that ignore foundation damage may have to lower their asking price on a home when going to sell. Potential buyers will have a home inspection performed that will reveal such an issue, however sellers should disclose known foundation damage when listing. A potential buyer who find out of the issue may no longer be inclined to make an offer or attempt to get a discount of as much as 25 percent. Homeowners who want to protect the equity in their home and get optimal value should be proactive in maintaining their home and addressing foundation damage and structural issues early on.

Shawn Clayton, Owner/Broker, REALTORĀ®

Jersey Shores Luxury Home Expert
732-295-2222

Contact Shawn

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