A strong, sturdy foundation is, well, foundational for the well-being and stability of a home, so it’s important to understand what changes might signal a potential problem.
First, watch out for these warning signs.
An easy way to keep an eye on your foundation is to look for these indoor warning signs.
- Doors and windows that used to open and close easily start to sick.
- Cracks open in ceramic tiles laid over concrete floors.
- Cracks appear in walls, especially where walls and ceilings meet, above doorways, or over windows.
If you have concerns, move on to these outdoor tests.
- Check the walls. Sight down the length of your foundation walls from each corner, and check for leaning walls with a level. If a wall is starting to curve could signal that the foundation has shifted.
- Check the concrete. If your house has a poured concrete perimeter, try to chip at it with somethings sturdy. If pieces break off, it’s likely that the concrete is deteriorating.
- Check for moisture. If you start finding puddles in your basement or wet framing in your crawl spaces, water might not be properly draining away from your foundation.
- Keep in mind: wide, horizontal cracks in foundation walls are the most serious.
If your foundation is holding up, great! But here’s what to do if it’s got some problems.
- If you’re selling, be honest. Choosing not to fix a cracked foundation, make sure the buyer knows about the problem even if it means renegotiating the price. Doing the repairs before selling, though costly, can inspire buyers’ trust and maybe raise the property’s value.
- If you’re buying, be cautious but optimistic. A cracked foundation could work in your favor during price negotiations, or create a less costly opportunity to do other maintenance or remodeling you’re dreaming about. It might also drive others buyers away from an otherwise excellent property, increasing your chances in competitive markets.