Extreme weather and its impact on residents is something all Floridians have come to understand recently. From hurricanes to extreme thunderstorms and rising temperatures to rising sea levels, the threat of extreme weather impacts residents throughout the state, including here in Orlando. Did you know that weather and soil conditions can also impact your home’s foundation?
If the doors and windows in your home are sticking, hard to open or close, and are getting worse over time, you may have foundation issues affecting your home. This is just one of the common indicators of foundation damage that can help you identify and fix the problem before it grows.
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Your home’s structure is built on top of a concrete foundation and that foundation settles over time. The amount of settlement and how it affects the rest of the home can be impacted by many different factors that are out of our control, including water damage, weather, and soil conditions. Even a small crack or hole in a home’s foundation can grow over time and cause major damage throughout the entire home. That’s why it’s important to understand what to look for and identify foundation damage early.
Discovering Foundation Damage in Your Florida Home
Pests, cracks, and unexplained water damage are also common indicators of foundation damage. Here’s a list of several other important things to look for to identify and stop foundation damage in its tracks:
- Cracking walls or floors
- Sticking windows or doors
- Gaps between windows and doors that leave openings for pests
- Sagging or slanting floors
- A leaning chimney
- Musty odors from mold, mildew, or rot in the crawl space
- Unexplained water damage or dampness in the home
What Causes Foundation Damage in Florida Homes?
There are three main reasons for major foundation issues in Florida homes, according to Realtor.com:
- deterioration of stem walls
- foundation settlement
- foundation heave
Foundation settlement is caused by the change in soil levels over time, instability, and shrinkage underneath the home. The opposite is called foundation heave, which is when soil levels rise over time. This happens when soil levels shrink in other areas nearby.
Foundation heave, settlement, and stem wall deterioration can be caused by time, weather, and soil conditions, and even water damage. From flooding to leaky pipes and poor water drainage, water is a major contributor to foundation issues. That’s why the age of a home isn’t the only indicator of foundation issues affecting a home. Even new homes can have foundation damage if impacted by other conditions that are often out of our control.
Because your home’s walls, floors, and other structures are connected to its stem walls and foundation, any damage or deterioration of the foundation can impact areas throughout the home. That’s why sticking windows and doors, slanted floors, and falling chimneys can all be indicators of something more important-underlying foundation damage.
Varying Costs for Fixing Foundation Issues from Coast to Coast
The national average cost for major repairs, according to Inch Calculator, is $10,000, and the average cost for smaller repairs is $3,500. In larger cities, the average cost is often greater than in rural areas. For example, the average cost is $50,595 in Washington, D.C., versus $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA.
The average cost to make foundation repairs varies from state to state and city to city. The final cost to fix your home’s foundation, however, is also impacted by how big the issue is, how long the damages have gone unrepaired, and what method of repair is used to fix the damage.
Buying a Home in Florida?
According to Trulia, most states in the U.S. require the disclosure of foundation damage during the homebuying process to the buyers. That’s because foundation repairs can be costly to make and impact the structural integrity of the entire building. Before you make this major investment, it’s important to understand the long-term health of the home’s foundation.
When you purchase a home in Florida, a professional home inspection will be part of that process. The inspection includes a close look at the home’s foundation. If damages are uncovered, remember that it is important to fix the issue as soon as possible. Even a small crack can lead to major pest or water damages. And a small problem can grow into a larger one, impacting the entire home.
If foundation repairs or other work has been done to the home, a warranty covering the repairs may be available. Make sure to ask the homeowner for essential paperwork like repair warranty information during the homebuying process. If major repairs are needed to fix the home’s foundation, consider asking the homeowner to lower the asking price to help pay for immediate repairs.
Identifying and fixing foundation damage
If any of the common indicators for home foundation damage sound familiar, it’s time to get your own home inspected. To help identify and fix foundation damage before it grows, contact the repair experts at Alpha Foundations today for a free inspection and repair estimate.