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Buying a Home with Foundation Issues

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Foundation problems aren’t necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to purchasing a home. Still, that doesn’t mean you should rush into it. In this article, we’ll review the various types of foundation damage, what causes foundation trouble, common repair solutions, and more.

Do Homes with Foundation Issues Have a Lower Value?

Although foundation problems are widespread, they should lower the overall value of the home you are looking at. The degree to which the foundation problems lower the asking price varies depending on the extent of the damage, the home’s overall price, and other essential considerations.

How Severe is the Foundation Damage?

The total severity of foundation damage can also play a role in your purchase decision. For example, some foundation issues only need a quick fix. After purchasing a home with these problems and repairing them, you may not need to worry about them again.

By contrast, some foundation damage is extensive, requires significant repair costs, and affects the structural integrity of your entire home. In these cases, it’s likely you should not proceed with buying a house that has foundation issues.

Considering buying a home with foundation issues? Learn how to assess the risks and make an informed decision. Discover crucial factors to weigh before you buy.

Common Types of Foundation Damage

The list below shows some of the most prevalent types of foundation issues:

  1. Foundation cracks: The direction and cause of a foundation crack indicate how much you should worry about it. In some cases, a foundation crack indicates a severe problem with your foundation and the stability of your home.
  2. Excessive moisture: High relative humidity levels in your basement are a problem. They also reveal that a deeper foundation issue may be present.
  3. Mold and mildew: When moisture is present, it encourages the growth of mold and mildew. These substances can negatively affect the structures in your foundation. They are also a hazard to human health.
  4. Drainage issues: If you find water in a foundation, there is an excellent chance that a drainage issue is present. Have an expert evaluate the drainage system of a home’s foundation before you decide to buy it.
  5. Deformed walls: Bowing or misshapen foundation walls almost always indicate a structural concern. They can also reveal an issue with hydrostatic pressure.
  6. Structural damage: All structures that comprise a home’s foundation should be intact and stable. Despite that, structural damage is a common form of foundation problem.
  7. Sloping floors: Foundation damage often leads to sloping floors. Depending on the cause, these pitched floors may appear above the foundation or anywhere in your house.

What Causes Foundation Damage?

Now that you know some of the signs of foundation damage, let’s consider what the underlying causes are:

  1. Grading issues: If the landscape around your home is flat or slopes toward the house, it encourages water to enter your foundation. The presence of rainwater leads to many foundation-related issues.
  2. Inadequate drainage: Some home foundations lack a drainage system. Meanwhile, other systems are clogged or broken. Either instance leads to foundation damage.
  3. Improper gutters and downspouts: Gutters and downspouts are responsible for moving rainwater from a home’s roof away from the house. If the gutters are clogged or the downspouts are too short, they encourage water to puddle near the foundation. Cleaning gutters and installing downspout extensions helps prevent this issue.
  4. Hydrostatic pressure: When water below the soil’s surface contacts your foundation, it creates hydrostatic pressure. This pressure can cause your foundation walls to crack, bow, and deform.
  5. Differential foundation settlement: A small amount of uniform settlement is expected, especially following the initial construction of a house. However, differential foundation settlement results in uneven shifts that can cause problems for your foundation and home.

Typical Ways to Fix Foundation Damage

Fortunately, a foundation professional can resolve most foundation damage. Below is a quick summary of some of the best foundation repair options:

  1. Re-grade the land: Alter the slope surrounding your home to ensure it has a distinct pitch away from the foundation.
  2. Enhance foundation drainage: Installing a new drainage system or repairing the one present can eliminate many water-related foundation problems.
  3. Remove hydrostatic pressure: To resolve hydrostatic pressure, a foundation team must excavate around a home and improve drainage. That team will also reinforce the foundation wall to ensure it remains sturdy.
  4. Resolve differential foundation settlement: The best way to fix a home that has experienced differential settlement is to install foundation piers. These piers extend into the earth until they reach firm strata. By connecting to the foundation, the piers allow a foundation team to level a home and keep it in place.
  5. Clean gutters and install downspout extensions: As previously mentioned, gutters and downspouts collect water from your roof and must remain clean. One of the easiest ways to eliminate foundation moisture is by removing clogs and installing downspout extensions.
  6. Repair structural elements: Regardless of the cause, repairing any damaged structural elements in your foundation is essential. These structures provide support and stability to your home and must remain intact.

Don’t Buy a Home with Foundation Problems before Consulting an Expert

Buying a home with foundation issues is a monumental decision for most people. Rather than facing this decision alone, you should seek the advice of a foundation professional in your area. This pro can help determine if purchasing this home is viable.

If you live in Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada and you are considering buying a home with foundation problems, reach out to Dalinghaus Construction first. Not only can we help you make the correct purchasing decisions, but we can also provide a wide range of comprehensive construction services.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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