After looking at homes, for what probably feels like an eternity, you have found something that is just the right size and in the perfect location. What’s more is that you are so surprised at the steal of a price that you are getting it for! While you may feel like the luckiest person on earth, you may want to look a bit further at the home’s foundation to make sure it isn’t too good to be true.
Is your home at risk for foundation issues?
Foundation problems can be very serious and cost thousands of dollars in repairs. Take a look at these five signs of foundation problems to compare against your dream home before making a purchase:
Cracks of notable concern will appear on the first or second level of your home. Look at the walls over doorways, windows, or where the ceiling meets the wall. Bulging walls and diagonal cracks off doors and windows should be a serious red flag. Don’t forget to look in closets – these areas are often overlooked but there may be some signs of foundation damage hiding in here. Furthermore, remember to check for drywall repairs and ask why they were done.
On the exterior of your home, look for any brick cracks along the mortar line or fireplace façade. The weight of the bricks can exacerbate any type of damage.
2. Doors and Windows
It’s normal for an older home to settle a bit over time, but with homes that have serious foundation shifting, you’ll notice that doors and windows will stick, drag, jam, or just not close at all. Or, the door may swing closed even though you opened it completely, and this may signal the foundation had shifted.
3. Bulging or Leaning
Check the outside foundation walls by looking down the length from each corner. Any type of leaning walls or inconsistencies will be a sign that the foundation has shifted.
4. Chips and Flaking
Look at the state of the concrete in your potential home. If you are able to chip off a piece of concrete or poke a screwdriver into the wall, then the concrete may have been poorly mixed and disintegrating. Homes built in the early 1900s often have concrete problems and they may require a new foundation.
5. Foundation Cracks
You may not realize it, but concrete has a high water content when poured, which means, when it cures, the water evaporates and shrinks. Cracks will usually appear in areas that haven’t shrunk evenly. There are certain types, such as stair-step cracks and horizontal cracks, which require immediate repair, and can be a serious home waterproofing concern. Hairline cracks and large vertical cracks are easier to repair, and usually just require filling.
If you notice any of these signs of foundation problems, you should look to remedy the immediate cause. You may not realize it, but clogged gutters are the number one cause of foundation damage. As your gutter become clogged, water will overflow, accumulating around the base of your house, causing these types of foundation issues. Along with fixing your foundation issues, you’ll want to install a gutter protection system, which will prevent leaves and debris from entering and clogging your gutters.