Your home’s foundation probably isn’t something you think about on a daily basis. Out of sight, out of mind- and a foundation is about as “out of sight” as you can get. Its job is to silently support your home and keep everything level as it should be.
However, nothing lasts forever- and that includes your foundation. It’s important to keep your home in good shape for as long as possible, and part of that process is knowing the signs of disrepair around the house. Here are 6 signs that you should start thinking about calling a local company for foundation repair services. This information is presented by our company for foundation repair in Baton Rouge.
A dip here and there on the floor, especially during the winter, is normal. There may even be a few creaky or low spots when you move in. However, what’s not normal is a dip in the floor that appears suddenly, worsens over time, or feels weaker than the rest of the floor when you step on it.
Floors may sag due to foundation problems. If the walls of the foundation are being pressed inwards by an external force, such as soil expansion, then the floors won’t have as much support and may develop dips or sags. Waiting too long to fix these issues can result in further damage to the floor joists and then foundation in general.
Perhaps the biggest sign of foundation problems is cracks developing in your walls. Over time, your foundation can sink or weaken, especially in the middle. When this happens, the walls lose their support and start to weaken as well, leading to cracks.
Cracks in your basement walls can be caused by soil expansion as well. Especially in areas that have large amounts of clay, spring rains cause the soil to expand and press inwards on the foundation walls, breaking them down and forming cracks. If they are smaller than ⅛ of an inch, or small enough that you can’t slip a dime into them, you may not need to worry about them just yet. However, any bigger than that and you’ll need to start thinking about calling a Baton Rouge foundation repair company.
Cracks in your foundation are, unfortunately, a way for all sorts of things to make their way into your home. This includes water! Water damage is particularly likely if you have cracks in a basement foundation, since these allow groundwater to seep in from the soil around it. Heavy rains in the spring can contribute to this problem, flooding a basement in no time. Now you have two problems to deal with: cleaning up the water damage and fixing the foundation.
If you suffer water damage in the basement, don’t panic. You may need to contact a flood cleanup company along with the foundation repair company, or one company may do both. Either way, get it addressed as quickly as possible to avoid further damage. Even if it’s just a tiny puddle, the damage may be worse after the next rainfall if you don’t repair it promptly and properly.
Water damage can cause other issues with your home, even if you dry the initial leak or flooding. Mold grows faster than you might think- as quickly as 24 hours after initial water damage! Given that water damage from foundation cracks can happen in places you might not notice it at first, by the time you find it, you could already have mold growing.
There are different types of mold, coming in different colors and growing in slightly different conditions, but most types of mold thrive in dark, damp conditions like the basement. The bottom line is that none of them should be hanging out in your home. The most dangerous type of mold is one of the most well-known- Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to as black mold. It releases toxins into the air that you and your family can then breathe in, and it can make humans and pets very sick.
If you spot any mold in your home, first call a mold remediation company to have it taken care of, then be sure to have any foundation cracks sealed so that more water doesn’t leak in and grow more mold.
We’ve already talked about sagging floors, but uneven floors are a different issue with the same cause. You may not even notice the floors becoming uneven at first; sometimes it can be a subtle process. However, if your foundation is sinking back into the ground, one side will likely go first, leading to sloping or uneven floors.
The angle may even be too subtle to notice at first. If you suspect that your floors are becoming uneven, stand at one end of the room and place a ball on the floor. If it starts rolling, it may be time to call a foundation repair company and have the foundation looked at.
If you have a pier foundation, you’ll want those piers to stay as strong and sturdy as possible, so it’s important to address any damage you see ASAP. Check your piers regularly and if you notice any wood rot or insect damage, call a foundation repair company right away. Even if the wood is just starting to show some signs of minor water damage, it’s best to have repairs done early. Once wood begins to rot, it will keep rotting until it’s no longer able to support your house.
If you’ve figured out that you need Baton Rouge foundation repair, you may be worried about the cost. Major home repairs can be intimidating, but the cost will depend on the type of foundation you have and the level of damage it has suffered. Simple crack repair can be as low as $500, while using steel piers to reinforce a weakened foundation can cost up to $10,000 or more.
If you suspect that your foundation is damaged and in need of repair, call a local foundation company for an inspection. The structural engineer that comes to perform the inspection will be able to tell you what’s going on and what needs to be done to fix it.