For homeowners in Richmond and Virginia Beach, VA, summers can bring hot, wet weather. These weather changes can affect homes, including causing sticking doors and windows. However, did you know this can also be a sign of a much larger problem?
Changes to a home’s foundation over time, as the home and the ground beneath it settles, can also cause doors and windows to stick. If you are having trouble opening your windows and doors this summer, it may be a sign of this much bigger issue. A damaged foundation can be expensive to fix and in most cases, must be reported when the home is sold. But if you can catch the problem when it begins, you can reduce the chance of more costly repairs in the future.
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For homeowners and home buyers in Baltimore, Roanoke, and throughout the Outer Banks, understanding how a home’s foundation is affected by issues outside of the owner’s control is important. As a home settles over time, the type of soil underneath the home, weather conditions in the area, the type of building materials used, and other factors all impact the health of the home’s foundation.
Home inspections can help identify foundation issues
Before you purchase a home, a professional inspector will review all parts of the home, including its foundation to identify areas of concern. A damaged foundation can be expensive to fix. That’s why it’s important as a responsible homeowner to identify and fix foundation issues when they start, before they have a chance to grow and affect your investment. Even a small crack or hole can lead to major structural issues with the home in the future. For places in the U.S. like North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, changing weather conditions, increased rainfall, and damp soil conditions can speed up the destructive process and reduce the home’s future purchase price.
If you are looking to sell your home now or in the future, or are considering a move to a new home, it’s important to understand how to identify foundation damage and what to do to fix it. The quicker you find and fix the problem, the less time the foundation damage will have to grow worse, which would cost even more time and money in the future if left unchecked. For all home buyers and sellers, a professional home inspection that includes the foundation is an important step in the process. Here are some common indicators of foundation problems in a home.
Eight common indicators of foundation damage
When a home is constructed, the walls are built on top of the home’s foundation. That’s why foundation problems, even small ones, can cause major issues throughout the home, affecting the windows and doors, chimneys, porches, walls, floors, and more. According to Realtor.com, foundation problems are caused by three common factors:
- Deterioration of stem walls
- Foundation settlement
- Foundation heave
Foundation settlement occurs when soil beneath the home becomes unstable because of shrinkage over time. Heaving is the opposite, caused when the soil expands over time. While time is the biggest factor in foundation issues, weather and soil conditions play important roles too. Just because a home is new or old doesn’t mean damage to its foundation can be predicted without a professional. Foundation damage can affect all different types of construction and homes built in different areas at different times.
Here are some of the common indicators of a damaged foundation:
- Cracks, not only in a home’s foundation but also in other areas, including walls, floors, and near windows and doors
- Slanting floors and/or walls
- Sticking doors and/or windows
- Gaps between walls and windows or doors
- Leaning or falling chimneys
- Water damage due to holes and cracks
- Sinking porches or stoops
- Mold or mildew in basements or crawl spaces, identified by a musty smell
What will it cost to fix my foundation in Maryland, Virginia, or North Carolina?
If you identify a problem with your home’s foundation or in a home you are looking to purchase, the price to fix the issue can vary depending on some common factors. Of course, the extent of the foundation damage is a main indicator of the cost. That’s why it’s so important to identify and fix foundation problems as early as possible.
In addition, where the home was built can impact the repair costs. For example, the average minimum foundation repair cost across the country is about $3,500, according to Inch Calculator. More advanced issues can cost upwards of $10,000 to fix.
More urban areas can come with a higher cost to restore the home’s foundation. For example, rates across the country range from $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA, to $50,595 in Washington, D.C., and $11,000 in Raleigh, NC, to $14,500 in Denver, CO.
What should home buyers know about foundation repairs?
Understanding the potential costs associated with a damaged foundation is an essential part of the home-buying process. No matter where your new home is located, the cost of fixing foundation damage will increase the cost of the investment. Before you make a major home buying decision, ensure you understand the results of your professional home inspection.
Most states require home sellers to disclose all information about foundation damages before the home is sold. In addition, if repairs have already been made, the homeowner may have a warranty that covers the repair work, which can help protect your asset in the future. Ensure you ask for warranty information and other paperwork during the home buying process.
If your home inspection uncovers foundation defects and you chose to move forward with the purchase, remember that the quicker you fix the problem, the less chance it has to grow into an even bigger and more expensive one. Consider asking the homeowner for a reduction in price to help with the needed foundation repairs. Cracks in a home’s foundation, no matter how small, can allow water inside the home, causing mold, mildew, and attracting pests. Fixing problems early on reduces the chance of more problems occurring in the future. In addition, a small crack in a home’s foundation can be an indicator of a larger problem that a foundation expert can identify and treat before it causes major structural problems in the home. If you are a homeowner looking to protect your investment, you can get a free home inspection from JES Foundation Repair and an estimate on repairs if issues are identified. As the area’s leading foundation repair company, the JES team can help you protect your most valuable asset now and in the future.