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Living in an Older Home? Look Out for These Common Foundation Problems

High And Dry Foundation Repair With House

Identifying and repairing foundation issues can be tricky simply because this part of the house is hidden from view. If you own an older home, it's essential to know the warning signs of common foundation problems so you can address any issues before they cause extensive damage.

Why Do Older Homes Have Foundation Issues?

The longevity of a home depends on a wide range of factors, including quality of construction, location, climate and the era in which the home was built. In general, the older your home is, the more likely it is that foundation problems will develop at some point.

The craftsmanship of the time and the materials used to lay the foundation are important factors in determining how long it will last. Poor-quality work and materials just don't have staying power. For example, the earlier types of foundations aren't as stable as modern concrete slabs, which were not widely used until the 1940s.

Finally, there's just the simple fact that time passes. Over the years, erosion and other issues cause the soil beneath a home's foundation to move. And as trees grow, roots can potentially extend underneath the foundation, also causing movement.

Unfortunately, these are the kinds of problems that can't be detected by a modern homeowner until signs of foundation problems begin to appear.

Common Problems Caused by Foundations in Older Homes

Uneven Floors: How can you tell if a floor is uneven? The signs can be subtle, especially when the problem first develops. Common indications of an uneven floor are windows and doors that don't shut properly and cracks in drywall, especially near windows and doors. Determining an uneven foundation might also be as simple as dropping a pen on the ground and watching it roll under the fridge and out of sight.

Note that these issues aren't always an indication of a problem with the foundation; however, if your previously level floor starts to become uneven, that's a definite sign that something is going on.

Slab Leak: A slab leak is a pipe leak that occurs within or beneath the foundation of a home. The leak can develop in the home's incoming water line or in the outgoing sewer line. A number of different problems can cause a slab leak, including a foundation that shifts or settles significantly as it ages. The shifting puts stress on the pipes and makes them vulnerable to breakage.

An undetected slab leak can cause considerable harm as the water accumulates. Mildew, mold, rot and soil erosion can progressively lead to serious foundation damage and may eventually cause major structural damage to the home.

Cracks in Interior and Exterior Walls: Inside the home, cracks are most likely to show up near walls and windows. In addition, if the home has a chimney, cracks or settling may appear around the chimney flue.

Outside, large exterior cracks are a sure sign that there's an issue with the home's foundation. Stair-step cracks in brick siding, or vertical cracks that get wider over time, are almost always a sign of a deteriorating foundation.

Know the Signs of Foundation Problems

Most people don't notice right away when their home's foundation starts to deteriorate. Even when there are visible signs that something isn't right, they might not connect them with a serious issue. Foundation problems can cause extensive damage, so it's imperative to know what the signs are in case they ever show up in your home. And if you DO see any of the problems listed above, call us right away. The best thing you can do is address the issue as early as possible to minimize the damage, and we can help!

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