Is your foundation shifting in Houston?
A guide to foundation problems
Your house is built on a patch of dirt, and like it or not, the dirt moves over time. That’s why homes in Texas often have foundation issues. A home’s foundation is the structural base that holds up the rest of the house, so fixing foundation problems can be tricky and expensive. If something like a door or a window breaks inside a house, only that one item will be impacted. However, if a house’s foundation is damaged, it can cause problems throughout the home. The issue is made even more complicated because it’s common in Texas for a foundation to change or shift over time.
How do you tell the difference between a foundation that’s shifting versus one that’s damaged?
In this post, we’ll examine the cause of foundation issues in Houston, common signs that indicate larger problems, and what to do if you plan to sell a home with foundation issues.
What causes foundation problems?
Some of the most common causes of foundation problems in Texas include:
- Improper concrete mix: All concrete mix isn’t created equally. Some mixes are designed to withstand extreme temperature changes, while others are better suited to handle different humidity levels. If a foundation uses the wrong mix, this can result in serious long-term issues.
- Excessive moisture: When soil absorbs water, it swells up then contracts as it dries. Your home’s foundation is built on top of this soil, so all this moving puts pressure on it that can lead to cracks, leaks, and other problems. The type of soil under your home plays a role. According to Allied Foundation Specialists, clay soils do not drain water as effectively as more sandy or rocky soil. Instead, clay is more absorbent, so after heavy rains, the ground under your home will soak up excessive amounts of water. There’s nothing you can do to stop rain from falling on your home, but a proper drainage and gutter system will help to keep water from pooling in the soil next to your foundation.
- Seepage: If your foundation cracks and loses integrity, it’s possible that water and other debris will seep inside. Once something worms its way into the cracks in your foundation, those cracks will keep getting bigger and bigger. What started as tiny cracks will turn into a series of problems that can eventually damage other parts of your house – windows, doorways, and walls.
- Natural causes: Houston foundation issues don’t just arise when mistakes are made in the home’s construction or extreme weather doles out serious damage.Even if your home’s foundation is built in the ideal environment, it could still suffer from natural settling. The sheer weight of your house could lead to it being pulled down deeper into the soil. It usually takes years for a home’s foundation to settle into the soil before it becomes a serious issue, says Mark Jacobs with Allied Foundation. The first step towards resolving Houston foundation issues is to identify the actual damage and the source of the problem. It’s easier said than done.
How to tell if your home is at risk:
Cracks are a common sign that you have foundation problems, but there’s also the possibility that the cracks are merely cosmetic. Other signs like sticking doors, pooling water, and uneven floors can help you identify whether your home likely has a foundation issue.
At the end of the day, though, the most surefire way to accurately diagnose the damage is to call a structural engineer and ask for a consultation. Bob Brown, a foundation expert, says in his book, Which Way is My Foundation Moving, that it can be easy to figure out a foundation is damaged but harder to determine what is causing the damage.
Brown says contractors who could repair the foundation aren’t best suited to diagnosing your problem. But engineers are more likely to follow industry standards to identify the source of foundation damage objectively.
Brown recommends asking anyone who tells you that you have foundation damage what standard they’re using to diagnose the problem. For example, the Foundation Performance Association and Texas Section of American Society of Civil Engineers have written standard evaluation procedures you can reference.
Don’t wait around and hope for the best if you see warning signs. Early detection can save you a lot of time and money. And like most problems, it’s best to fix foundation problems early.
Just sell your house.
One of the worst things about foundation issues is how expensive they are to fix. It’s not uncommon to get an estimate for over $10,000 in repairs to fix a broken foundation.
But foundation repair costs in Houston vary depending on the size of the problem. For example, fixing minor cracks in a foundation can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, according to HomeAdvisor.
The cost goes up with the severity of the damage. The home improvement site estimates a typical homeowner will pay between $2,000 and $7,500 to fix their foundation issues.
As you can imagine, many homeowners or homebuyers don’t want to deal with this hassle themselves. Unfortunately, this can make it very difficult to get your home sold without having to come out of pocket for repairs.
We buy houses in all sorts of conditions, including those with foundation issues. However, if you want to sell and don’t want to tackle it yourself, we can help you make it happen. Contact us today to schedule a home visit and a no-obligation cash offer for your home.