One of the biggest nightmares that all homeowners and buyers face is in regards to foundation repair problems. If left untended, these can cause major structural damages to the property. However, if you identify them soon enough, a little foundation inspection and repair can take care of the issue before it gets out of hand.
You might also be tempted to get into the DIY spirit and seal cracks in blocks or bricks by injecting store-bought epoxy into it. While this can temporarily solve the issue, it’s really just a band-aid solution. The cracks may actually be appearing as a result of water accumulation in the soil. As such, you need to invest in thorough foundation inspection and repair.
A lot of people suffer from the misconception that foundation repair entails ripping out all the concrete and foundation and starting from scratch. However, there are plenty of foundation repair solutions that are minimally invasive as well.
In this article, we’ll explore all the aspects of foundation repair so you know what to expect and how to go about it.
What are signs of structural damage to the house?
Most people don’t realize they might have some structural problems with the house until it’s too late. As such, you should always be vigilant for any signs that raise red flags. The following are some of the major signs to look out for:
- Termite infestations that cause massive structural damages over time.
- Cracks and bulges appearing on the surface of the walls.
- Roof cladding is meant to last for up to 30 years without needing any replacement. As such, if your roof starts leaking, or if you notice stains on the ceiling, it may be indicative of timber-frame movement, weather damages, or other similar issues.
- Not all cracks are indicative of structural damage, but they can be. For example, cracks along with sagging ceilings generally don’t bode well. In this case, foundation inspection and repair may be necessary.
- Uneven floors may also be caused by a variety of factors — termite infestation, improper construction, lack of sub-floor support, etc — some of them may indicate structural damage. Again, you’ll have to get it professionally inspected.
- Sometimes, gaps appear between internal and external walls. These can either be caused by the support pillars being far apart, by termites or simply because the foundation is settling. Either way, it should raise some alarm.
- You may notice that the sub-floor has developed signs of rotting or deterioration. This may be caused due to insufficient ventilation which prevents evaporation. This leads to humidity, which in turn leads to mold growth. Over time, as the sub-floor becomes damper, the floor timbers also start rotting, causing considerable foundation damages.
- Crumbling concrete is usually indicative of the presence of moisture or deteriorating chemicals. Concrete tends to absorb salt and chlorine, which reacts internally and deteriorates it. The absorbed salts also react with steel, thus causing further damage. As such, if you notice crumbling concrete, it may be time for an inspection.
How do you fix the foundation on a house?
If you’ve noticed some or any of the warning signs mentioned earlier, you need to first contact a professional foundation repair contractor. They’ll be able to assess all the damages and let you know whether you’re actually dealing with foundation damages. As such, you can determine a course of action that’s ideal for your property.
You’ll be presented with two prominent foundation repair solutions — piering and slabjacking. Piering is a method whereby concrete foundations are placed underground, adding support to the concrete. Slabjacking, meanwhile, is a process wherein the space under the slab is filled with a mixture of grout which helps the foundation float back up to its original position.
You should let your foundation repair contractor determine which solution is best suited for your property.
How long does it take to fix the foundation of a house?
It’s almost impossible to give a conclusive timeframe for a foundation repair job without assessing the work that needs to be done. Each foundation repair project is unique. Some require minor leveling whereas others may even require a complete reconstruction.
As such, the timeframe of the job is entirely subjective and you should ask your contractor about it after they’re done inspecting your property.
The following are a few factors that may determine the complexity — and thus the timeframe — of a foundation repair job:
- The extent of structural damages to the property.
- How much leveling and raising of the foundation is necessary.
- Any complications that may arise due to the property’s plumbing system.
- The natural terrain in which the property is situated.
- Weather conditions such as rainfall and wind.
- Size of the property.
Depending on all of the aforementioned factors, a foundation repair job may take anything from a few hours to several weeks. You’ll have to ask your contractor for specifics on the timeframe.
How much does foundation repair cost?
Major foundation repairs involving piers can cost around $10,000. However, if you don’t have any major structural problems, you can even fix the issues for as low as $250.
If you have major damages, as you can see, it may cost you a pretty penny. As such, you might be wondering whether you can get insurance for foundation damages.
Is foundation repair covered by insurance?
Homeowner insurance policies generally cover natural disasters and freak accidents. However, very few homeowner insurances give coverage to foundation damages, especially if they’re caused by natural factors such as soil expansion and contraction.
As such, you should specifically look for foundation related issues in your insurance policy. Generally speaking, you might be able to find insurances that cover earth movement, floods, or ground cover collapse. These covers could insure you in case of damage to foundation due to the movement of soil, water, or due to sinkholes.
However, even if you don’t get an insurance coverage, you can work with the foundation repair company to determine a payment plan.