A strong and durable foundation is key to a long lasting house. However, this is not usually the case with some buildings. Once in awhile, homeowners face basement foundation problems. Foundation issues can show up in the form of cracks and gaps on the concrete structure. These cracks and gaps can be quite intimidating. The truth of the matter is that not all foundation problems should be a cause for alarm. Some cracks may be due the settling of the house. Also, basement foundation problems can be fixed, after a thorough diagnosis by a structural engineer and a home inspector.
How To Spot A Foundation Problem
Foundation problems appear in the form of gaps and cracks on the concrete structures. Large cracks in the exterior concrete and cracked drywall are signs of a basement foundation problem. Also, misalignment of doors and windows and cracked glass are signs that your basement foundation needs to be repaired. The misalignment will usually cause difficulty in opening or closing of the doors and windows. Other signs of a basement foundation problem are pooling of water around the perimeter of the house, in the basement and within the crawl spaces. Finally, if you see gaps between the ceiling and the wall or between wall seams, you need to hire a home inspector to access your building's foundation for a possible weakness.
How To Fix Basement Foundation Problems
When you notice any of the issues stated above, it is time for you to hire a home inspector and a structural engineer. These professionals will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the magnitude, severity, and cost of rectifying the problem. Getting the services of a Structural Engineer, will cost you between $500-$1,000.
After an analysis and recommendations of the structural engineer and home inspector, you may decide to hire the services of a professional concrete floor and repair contractor. Small cracks (less than ¼ inch) can be fixed by filling in order to prevent water intrusions. These cracks are due to normal settling and have probably been around for the most of the house's life. Wider cracks are an indication of a more serious underlying problem. The wider cracks need to be addressed urgently. The earlier the symptoms are addressed, the better for you as a homeowner. Over time, these problems worsen and fixing them become more expensive. Also, the building may collapse leading to loss of life and property.
To fix a lowered concrete foundation, two methods are used, slab jacking and piercing. The slab jacking technique entails floating the foundation back to its original position by filling the space under the slab with a grout mixture. On the other hand, Piering fixes concrete foundation problems by introducing underground supports that lift and support the concrete slab. The techniques above are effective for fixing a few inches or nearly a foot of sunken foundations. The cost of fixing basement foundation problem costs about $10,000.
When you are buying or selling a house with foundation issues, there are important issues that you need to consider. As a buyer, you can be persuaded to purchase a house with foundation issues owing to its prime location. Such a house may be located in a competitive real estate market or in a prime business location. If you are such a buyer, you can go for this deal. Foundation issues can be corrected. However, before signing a purchase agreement, you need to consider the costs of repairing the damages and fixing the foundation.
If the house that you are selling has foundation problems, you can either choose to fix the problem before selling it or sell opt to sell the house before fixing the problem. Each of these sales options has its merits and challenges. When you choose to fix the foundation problem beforehand, the repairs will be documented under your house's history. Potential buyers may not be willing to purchase the house when they see that it has a history of foundation problems. On the other hand, the option of fixing the foundation problem before selling it offers a strong selling point and warranty to the potential buyers. Should you choose to sell the house without fixing the foundation, it is advisable, to be frank, and disclose all material facts to your buyers. They might just find buying the house a good and irresistible deal, in its present condition.