What Happens if You Don’t Fix Your Foundation (The Cost of Inaction)

Have you asked yourself if foundation repair is really worth it? Or, what happens if you choose to do nothing?  We’ve all heard Newton’s Third Law of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction; however, there are also consequences of inaction when it comes to foundation settlement (and, sometimes, they’re quite serious).

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has over 100 years of combined foundation repair experience. We’ve seen our fair share of homeowners choose to pass on foundation repair to simply come back later, with even bigger problems that translate into more expensive repairs.  

This article covers what will happen if you choose not to fix your foundation. By the end of this article, you will be able to explain the basic mechanics of foundation settlement and why inaction may cause further signs and symptoms and ultimately incur a greater repair expense. 

If You Don’t Fix Your Foundation, Your Home will Continue to Settle

The simple fact of the matter is if you choose not to address the foundation settlement of your home, it will continue to sink/settle. And, just like with cavities, foundation settlement does not correct itself but continues to deteriorate with the ticking of time. Burying your head in the clay and loam does not make foundation settlement go away.

This is because foundation settlement is caused by incompetent, non-load-bearing soils, such as clays and loams, referred to as expansive soils. The expansive soils expand and contract in direct correlation with the water table.

Expansive soil is simply not strong enough to sustain the load of your home. As the home sinks, it settles unevenly, exerting thousands of pounds of pressure on your foundation.

Energy is always transferred. The pressure exerted on your foundation zips up and through the framing of your home – cracking drywall, sloping floors, and torquing door/window frames out of alignment. To alleviate the pressure, the home needs to be returned to maximum practical recovery and leveled.

Underpinning a settled foundation with steel pier systems involves driving push or helical piers to competent, load-bearing soil/bedrock. These galvanized steel pier systems act as underground stilts that secure your home against the expansive soil. It’s like your home is sinking and needs a “flotation device” ASAP.

In short, if you choose to forgo foundation repair, you are choosing to allow the continuation of settlement and further deterioration.  

If You Don’t Fix Your Foundation, You Will Continue to Live with the Signs and Symptoms of Foundation Settlement

If you choose not to fix your foundation, you will continue to live with the signs and symptoms of foundation settlement (even if you try to patch-and-paint or self-level a floor). The truth is foundation settlement can wreak complete and total havoc on the entirety of your home:

  •   Drywall cracks
  •  Stucco cracks
  •   Ceiling cracks
  •   Slab cracks
  •   Sloping floors
  •   Doors/windows that are difficult to open/close
  •   Leaning chimneys

Remember, cracks are always a sign of a deeper issue. So, even if you did putty-and-paint your drywall or stucco cracks, the primary issue of foundation settlement has not been addressed.

The cracks will return as the foundation continues to sink. The self-leveled floor will need to be repoured in the future (and will prove quite the headache if you do choose to repair later on).

You can try to think to yourself that the drywall cracks are cute and lend the home a bit of character. The sloping floors and corresponding vertigo remind you of Disneyland. And the doors/windows that are difficult to open/close provide a great workout, forget P90X.  

In short, by choosing to forgo foundation repair, you are resigning yourself to live with the ugly signs and symptoms of foundation settlement.

If You Don’t Fix Your Foundation, the Signs and Symptoms of Foundation Settlement Will Get Worse

If you choose not to address your foundation settlement, the signs and symptoms won’t only continue to linger but will deteriorate. Cracks will widen and deepen. The incline in your sloped floor will get noticeably sharper. The windows in their crooked frames may even fracture.  

Again, think of untreated foundation settlement like an untreated cavity. The cavity will rot, will deepen, will seep sugar into the root canal – requiring an extraction or cavity cap. In this case, prolonged pain will turn into a deeper, often more expensive pain. The same can be said for foundation repair.

The longer you put it off, the more expensive it becomes due to the invariable rise in steel prices and worsening conditions.   

For example, common complications of waiting to fix a foundation include:

  •   Busted water pipes – broken water lines/sewer mains can result in severe water damage/spalling.
  •   Busted gas pipes – broken gas lines can result in a higher gas bill, carbon monoxide poisoning, and, in rare cases, explosions.   

So, by choosing to immediately address your foundation settlement, you run the risk of further, more expensive complications in the future.   

If You Don’t Fix Your Foundation, Your Home Will Continue to Lose Value

Your property value will continue to decrease (by as much as 30%) if you choose not to fix your foundation. This can prove especially critical when you’re trying to sell or refinance your home.

Here at Dalinghaus Construction, we’ve witnessed homeowners lose thousands of dollars by not addressing their foundation issues prior to selling their homes.

Banks don’t lend money to people who want to buy a home with a busted foundation. Money gurus are not in the business of buying or financing lemons. Foundation repair, especially with our lifetime warranty on all steel pier systems, returns your home to its original value.  

To learn the best way to sell a home suffering from foundation settlement, read our article Sell Your Home with Foundation Issues (2 Options).

Foundation Failure: What are You Willing to Put Up With?

In this article, you learned that expansive soil is not self-correcting – your home will not fix itself. You also learned that without foundation repair, the signs and symptoms of foundation settlement will absolutely continue and deteriorate further. Finally, you learned that foundation settlement detracts from the equity of your home and renders your home virtually unsellable.

The question is: how much are you willing to put up with? Do you really want to coexist with recurring drywall cracks, sloped floors, and doors that are difficult to open and close? We believe you deserve better. We never settle and neither should you.

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has serviced thousands of foundations and holds over 100 years of collective experience. We’re here to guide you every step of the way in this monumental decision.  

If you’re reading this article and you already received a foundation inspection (or several), it’s time to pull the trigger. You have all the information you need to make an educated decision.

The only two answers are yes – fix my foundation. And, no – you’re willing to live with your home as is (understanding your foundation failure may deteriorate further, sinking the equity and property value of your home). The choice is yours. 

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and have yet to receive a free foundation inspection, click on the link below.


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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