Once you come to the realization that your home has foundation problems, the biggest fear is often associated with 'how much is this going to cost me?' It's easy to understand why homeowners would prefer not to have to spend money on a structural issue. But these foundation issues impact three important parts of your life. They impact the safety of your home, putting your quality of life at risk. They impact your home's value, putting one of your biggest investments at risk. Finally, symptoms that continue to get worse and worse put your peace of mind at risk.
Your home's actual value is directly affected by factors like square footage and the overall quality of the construction of your home's systems and finishing. Additionally, structural issues MUST be disclosed if you look to put your home up for sale. If the problem isn't already fixed and the symptoms alleviated or repaired, those potential buyers will likely walk away. If they do still want your home, it's very likely they'll want a steep discount on the price, which realtors report at 15-30%!
Your home rests on a foundation, which rests on the ground beneath it. That means, your home's foundation is only as stable as that ground. You might think that "solid" ground is just that - solid. But, the ground beneath your home is actually made up of many different layers of soil. Each layer has different properties, such as soil type and moisture content. Different soil types are affected by moisture in different ways.
Soil conditions that we typically see in Indiana and Kentucky are soils rich in clay. Clay absorbs water easily, expanding in volume as it becomes more saturated. "Expansive clays" can cause foundations to crack, heave and shift.
When clay soils dry out, they shrink and crack, leaving gaps around a house where water from the next storm can penetrate easily and deeply to repeat the expansion cycle. Clay-rich soils usually cause more foundation damage by expanding than by contracting.
The soil around your home can also put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls. The amount of pressure varies depending on the type of soil around your home, the amount of moisture in the soil, and how deep the foundation is underground. When you think about it, there is nothing on the inside of the basement walls pushing back.
Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid due to the force of gravity. Simply put, as water saturates the backfill soils around your foundation, the water exerts pressure against the wall.
Frost can put pressure on a wall and cause it to fail especially if the basement is unheated. Frost forces can be extremely powerful and can even lift shallow foundations up out of the ground, causing significant damage to the home.
If you know your foundation has a problem, whether you have plans to sell your home or not, it's always better to be proactive instead of reactive. Small problems now will lead to larger problems in the future. And you'll be able to work with a contractor without the pressure of having to make the repairs quickly and at your convenience. You'll feel good knowing your home has been permanently stabilized and you're protected against future problems. Your quality of life and property value will be protected. Your peace of mind will be restored.