Taking a few minutes to make some minor, but critical, house checks every season can save you plenty!
Your home is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make. That’s why keeping it in good, working condition – inside and out — is critical to ensuring your family’s quality of life and, when and if the time comes to sell, allows you to sell for potentially a better price. But the biggest reason to be proactive with home repairs by fixing the problem when it’s just starting to show, is that, if ignored, a small issue can easily morph into a huge expense in very little real time.
Just some due diligence performed on a routine basis, such as twice a year or before the change of each season, can provide you with invaluable peace of mind and help you avoid any substantial, unplanned expenses. And the older your home, the more important are these seasonal spot checks.
Here is one of several places in your home you’ll certainly want to stay on top of and a snapshot of the potential expense if you don’t:
Home Foundation Maintenance
Water is one of the main causes of foundation damage. If your home is in an area where the ground tends to swell with rains or contract during droughts, your foundation can be damaged. The ground around the foundation should slope slightly away from the house to keep water away from it. Here are some in-home early warning signs that foundation changes are taking place:
- A door begins to jam or fails to latch;
- Cracks show up in walls, especially over doorways, windows or up where walls and ceilings meet;
- Cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor;
- Windows that could easily be opened or closed suddenly begin to stick or won’t close completely.
How to Prevent Foundation Problems
- Eyeball the length of your foundation wall from each corner; the walls should be basically straight – both up and down and from side to side. Use a level to check for leaning walls. A bulge or curve in either a block foundation or a poured concrete wall might be evidence that the foundation has shifted or that the walls are under pressure due to soil around the foundation expanding or contracting.
- Check for structural integrity in your basement or crawl space. Find the posts and concrete supports or piers. Posts should be standing straight and be firmly planted under the beams they support. Bottoms of posts should rest firmly on concrete piers. Wet in the crawl space is never a good sign. You shouldn’t find puddles, wet framing or other signs of moisture which may signal poor drainage around the foundation perimeter. Ensure that gutters are clear and that soil slopes away from the foundation. During droughts, use soaker hoses around your house perimeter to keep the soil moist.
- Foundation cracks may or may not be serious; most concrete and block foundations usually have at least a few cracks but recognizing which are benign and which are serious is key.
- Call in a professional: If you are worried enough, get the foundation checked by a structural engineer who can determine whether any of these warning signs point to normal settling or to structural damage.
Average Cost of Home Foundation Repairs
The cost for a home foundation inspection ranges from $500-$700 and up to $2,000 for a full set of drawings depicting an engineered solution. Even if your unique situation warrants only the inspection costs, the outlay of several hundred dollars sure beats the worst-case scenario of having to get a whole new foundation which can set you back up to $40,000.
This is the second of a five-part Freedom Mortgage Blog Series titled Avoid Costly Home Repairs. Catch up with FMC’s first blog entry, Roof Maintenance, and don’t forget to check back for the third in the home maintenance tips series, Hot Water Heaters, coming soon!