Buying a home is a big investment. Not only that but after the ink is dry, returning the home, if you find out later that its not all that you had hoped for, isn’t an option. It is for this reason you hire home inspectors. However, sometimes home inspectors don’t catch small red flags when it comes to foundation issues. While you are home shopping, especially if you have found one that you think you may want to buy, you should be aware of red flags when it comes to foundation issues. Below are some common things that one should look for before buying a home.
A damp crawl space in a pier and beam house
Drainage for pier and beam houses can turn into a costly repair if not dealt with properly. It is certainly not something you want to deal with after you have bought your “new to you” home. The key to keeping a safe home in a pier and beam house is preventing the moisture from accumulating around or under the home’s foundation. Look for pools of water in the crawl space of the pier and beam foundation. This water has potential of rotting out the beams. Additionally, this can cause upheaval (lifting) or sinking of the piers. Preventative maintenance and proper drainage are necessary to prevent these negative effects of water.
Counters and cabinets separating from the wall
The most common reason for counters or cabinets separating from the wall is improper installation. Another reason that could cause this separation is movement in the floor or wall framing. While some settling and movement is expected, it shouldn’t be such that it creates this separation under normal circumstances. To see such can be a sign of foundation issues.
Doors that stick or don’t open and close properly
There are several reasons why doors might stick or not close properly. Some of the common reasons include worn hinges or hardware, loose hinges, warped wood, or expansion from high humidity. However, another reason for this phenomenon is that the home could have foundation issues.
Foundation cracks in the wall, ceiling, or floor
Homes are constantly settling as different construction materials expand and contract at different rates. Fluctuating humidity levels, soil movement and shallow foundations are typically responsible for settling, which may result in cracks in the ceiling or walls. Not all cracks are a sign of serious structural damage, but they can be.
Foundation settling or sinking
Over time, you may notice that one side of your house is lower than the other, or you may see that the center of your building is sinking. If so, your foundation may need to be lifted, which will mostly likely require the installation of interior or exterior foundation piers. These are placed around the perimeter of your foundation to raise it, or else installed in the interior of your structure. Note that installing interior foundation piers involves cracking the concrete slab and creating a bit of a mess.
Foundation upheaval occurs when the slab foundation has moved upward. Several things can cause upheaval from soil that expands and contracts to heavy rains or plumbing leaks under the slab. Heaving usually affects the perimeter area of a concrete foundation, as well as outside garage walls. It can on some occasions affect your home’s interior including doorways and hallways, too.
Gaps around window frames or exterior doors
Gaps around window frames and exterior doors is a sign of foundation issues. Doorframes may become crooked or not work properly. You may find windows and doors hard to latch. If you are experiencing this, do some investigating around the interior and exterior of your house for other signs of foundation damage. While there are other things that can cause this, you may want to call in a foundation expert for a professional opinion on the matter.
Sagging or uneven floors
Have you noticed floors that appear to be sagging, bowing, or dipping? This certainly could be a sign of foundation trouble. If you notice such, certainly beware of buying this home, as it could become a costly repair. If you are the person who owns the home, this is cause for alarm and you should contact a foundation repair specialist. Such persons will be able to better assess what will be necessary to solve the problem.
Just because a home has potential foundation repair issues doesn’t mean you should not still consider buying the home. It simply means you should use more caution and get solid answers first. Oklahoma Foundation Repair offers free inspections and estimates. Whether purchasing a home, selling your home, or living in your home, if you see any of these potential foundation issues give us a call. We will gladly come out and look it over.