7 Ways Homeowners Cause Foundation Problems

foundation problems

Did you know foundation problems are regularly ranked as one of the most expensive problems for a homeowner to fix?

So much so that poor foundations can actually MAKE someone sell their house! And the icing on the cake? A lot of homeowners inadvertently contribute to their own foundation problems.

That’s why we’re sharing the seven common mistakes homeowners make that can cost them big when it comes to their foundation problems:

1. Ignoring plumbing leaks

Of all the powerful forces of nature, water is by far the most destructive. And your home is no exception.

Even a small plumbing leak can cause major foundation problems.

What happens is that the water will seep down from wherever it’s leaking in the bathroom or kitchen into the foundation. And water is like kryptonite for foundations. If you have a wooden foundation, the water running the same place all the time will cause the wood to rot. What’s more, it will cause the wood to attract life to grow there, which sounds nice until that life ends up eating your house from the bottom up.

And if you have a concrete slab foundation, the water will simply crack the concrete as it gets into all the tiny invisible cracks that make up the slab.

Fortunately, the solution is easy. If you notice a leaking tap or faucet, fix it.

2. Failing to check for termite or pest damage

Like we said earlier, life is the bane of the wooden foundation. And do you know the number one perp to look out for?

Termites.

Termites do, contrary to popular belief, live and thrive in Texas. This can cause all sorts of problems for Texas homeowners.

Fortunately, unlike an internal leaking pipe (which you might not notice until it’s too late) you can usually see termite damage quickly in your foundations if you check regularly.

We recommend checking regularly (a few times a year) to see if you have termite damage. A quick look at your foundations with a flashlight and a good crawl around will do the trick.

That way, you can catch the problem early and save yourself some major pain down the road.

3. Ignoring small foundation problems

If you have a concrete foundation, one of the best things you can do is look after it. When the concrete is poured and as it cures, it’s possible (and common) for small, tiny cracks to form in your foundation.

Over time and left unchecked, these tiny hairline cracks can widen into some truly scary foundation problems, which can cost you big to fix.

But before they do, you have an opportunity to act and fix these cracks before they get out of control.

There are plenty of inexpensive products out there to help you seal tiny cracks in your concrete foundation that will help prevent moisture getting in and REALLY causing problems.

An early, easy fix in is much better than a difficult and expensive one down the line.

4. Installing gutters that don’t extend far enough

Because of the type of soil so common in the Dallas-Fort Worth areas, there’s a real problem with drainage.

Basically, as the soil gets wet it will expand, putting pressure on your foundations. Then, when it dries out it will contract, leaving a space where moisture and small insects might pool and live.

This problem gets a lot worse if you don’t install gutter extenders away from your house. You need your gutters to deposit their water at least 10 feet away from your house. If not, you’ll likely intensify an already tricky soil problem inherent to building in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

But the solution is simple. Just get a gutter extender from your hardware store ($15-$40) and connect it your gutters! Easy as pie.

5. Planting big trees too close

While the shade from big trees is lovely, the roots that support them are not.

Large trees need an extensive root system and are not very good at taking “no” for an answer. So if you plant your tree too close your house, you’re likely going to end up with a lot of pressure and problems on the side of your house as those roots fan out.

Make sure you have enough space all around your trees before you plant.

6. Inappropriate interior remodeling

Your house is designed a specific way for a specific reason.

Yes, that plan you have for an open plan kitchen and dining space with the great indoor/outdoor flow is brilliant, but before you get started with the DIY, make sure you spare a thought for your foundations.

Oftentimes, foundational stress can be caused by remodeling that redistributes the weight distribution of your home. Doing things like altering load bearing walls, adding an extension, or removing entire sections of home can result in serious problems with your foundations.

Remember: if in doubt, call an expert for a free review of your foundational situation.

7. Ignoring early warning signs

Finally, the worst thing you can do is ignore the early warning signs.

Your home is a living thing that talks to you, and lets you know when there’s a problem you need to address.

For example, cracked walls, doors that don’t quite fit, uneven flooring, and cracked floor tiles are all potential signs that your foundation is not what it used to be.

The same goes for your home’s exterior. A cracked chimney, cracks or separation in your bricks, gaps around your trim, and any cracked concrete all suggest that your house is starting to move ever so slightly.

And like most homeowner problems, the sooner you deal with it, the better off you’re going to be.

Think you might have inadvertently damaged your foundations? Give us a call and we’ll get in touch about inspecting your foundations for you for FREE, so you can rest easy knowing your house isn’t about to fall down.

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