Does Your House Have a Good Foundation?
It’s an easy enough question. However, many homeowners are unaware of the warning signs attributed to a house foundation in need of repair. Before you sell your house, make sure none of these telltale signs are staring you right in the face or even sneaking around in the background.
Why should I check the foundation?
When homes are built, the first step in the process is setting the foundation. This can be a concrete slab, or, if there is a crawl space under the house, it is most likely composed of post and concrete supports, or piers. If there is a basement, you’ll be looking at the perimeter foundation wall. These are all critical parts of the structure of the home. If something happens to the foundation, it can have a major impact on the home. Not just the structure of the property, but the value as well.
If the foundation is bad, the costs to repair can be severe. It’s a complicated process and a headache. So, if you’re looking to sell, and you want to sell your home fast, checking the foundation should be one of the first things you check.
How do you check the foundation?
We aren’t suggesting to skip having a foundation inspector check the property, but we realize that such a process will likely cost time and money you don’t have. In fact, you can actually check it yourself. Here are a few tips to do a simple foundation check yourself. If you see anything that is out of the norm, you can then place the call to a foundation inspector to further investigate, so you don’t have to hire an expensive team to come out and inspect your foundation right off the bat.
One of the most common foundation types is a concrete slab. If your home is settled on a slab, here are some of the things you want to look for.
If you take a look around the perimeter of the home, stand at a corner and look down the wall. The walls should be basically straight, both up and down and from side to side. Check for leaning or bulging of the walls with a level. If anything seems out of place, it may be wise to make a call.
Look for Cracks
Cracks inside or outside of the home in the brick or walls can be a sign that the soil around your foundation may be expanding and contracting, putting pressure on the walls. This could also cause the perimeter walls to bulge. Keep in mind, your looking for large, out-of-place, cracks. Don’t bother wasting time on hairline cracks, as these are usually a normal process of the house settling.
Probe the Slab
To check and see if the foundation is built to last, grab a screwdriver and probe the foundation around the entire perimeter. If you manage to chip it or break off a piece the concrete could be deteriorating because the mix contained dirty, salty sand or too much water. This problem is most common in homes from the early 1900’s and has no remedy short of a new foundation.
These are spaces built under your home revealing the post and concrete supports as well as piers. These are what you’ll be checking. Don’t forget to check the perimeter walls as well. In fact, it may be a good idea to make that your first stop. That way you can check for any visible signs on the outside before you cross the threshold into the underbelly of the home.
Probe the Wood
Just as you are supposed to probe a concrete slab, use a screwdriver to check everywhere, not just the post or piers, but everything. You’re checking for rot; grab that screwdriver and get to work. While you’re down there check for standing water or microbial growth, as these can lead to some major issues down the road.
Puddles can mean there is a drainage issue. Be sure gutters aren’t plugged, and the soil slopes away from the foundation about 6 inches every 10 horizontal feet.
Sometimes, we forget that the most effective of tools can just be our eyes. Take time to visually inspect areas such as the walls of the slab foundation, where the post and piers should be basically straight up and down. Look for any sagging of the subflooring as well.
Basements are somewhat similar to a concrete slab and crawlspace. The posts are really the only additional factor to checking the foundation of a property with a basement. While in the basement, remember that the posts in the basement are the support to the home. Check these with a level. They should be straight and show no signs of rot. How sturdy are they? You shouldn’t be able to easily shake the posts.
Indoor Warning Signs
Like we have covered, houses settle over time, so a little unevenness shouldn’t be cause for panic. At the same time, you’ll want to be aware of these warning signs that more dramatic changes could be taking place:
- A door begins to jam or fails to latch.
- Cracks appear in walls, over doorways, windows, or where walls meet ceilings.
- Cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor
- Windows that have become difficult to close or open.
Is your foundation no good?
All of these signs could indicate you have damage to your foundation, but there are other indicators that a foundation inspection could identify. If your home is in need of serious foundation repair, we don’t blame you for dreading the bill. You may not have the time or resources to make the needed repairs.
Don’t stress just yet. There’s an option to avoid making repairs altogether.
HomeGo will buy your house no matter the condition, so even with a bad foundation, you can sell your home fast. We make it easy to sidestep costly foundation repair and maintenance and find yourself in a new house, problem-free. You don’t even have to make any repairs before you sell your house even if it is old or has damage. We are here and are ready to provide help to sell your house.