Keeping a home's foundation in good repair is necessary for the overall structural integrity of the house itself, as a shifting foundation can cause damage to the walls, ceilings, floors, and exterior structures, meaning porches or steps. A home's plumbing pipes typically run through or under the foundation, so these can also be damaged if the foundation should settle or shift. If you're a homeowner and have never had to address needed repairs to your home's foundation, note a few considerations about this work so that you know when it needs to be done, and what to discuss with a contractor.
What are the signs of needed foundation repair?
You may notice cracks in the slab that runs along the base of your home's exterior, but this isn't the only sign of needed foundation repair for your home. Doors that don't close properly can also signal that a home's structure has shifted because of a softened or cracked foundation, and you may notice cracks in the home's chimney, or along the area of the porch where it connects to its steps. These are very common signs of a foundation that needs repairs, as a home's doorframes, chimney, and outer edges of the porch are weaker areas of a home's structure, and some of the first to show damage when the foundation needs repair work.
Are heavier homes more likely to have cracks in the foundation?
A home that is too heavy for the foundation itself may damage that foundation prematurely, but water is actually one of the worst culprits when it comes to foundation damage. Any home with poor drainage on the property will soon see cracks in the foundation; excess humidity trapped in a home can also cause damage. Don't assume that your small, single-story home will never need to be inspected for potential damage to the foundation, but ensure the property is graded properly and that the foundation is inspected as needed, to note signs of damage.
Can damage be fixed by a homeowner?
Tiny cracks in a foundation might get filled in with foundation repair kits, but if your home is showing signs of a sinking foundation, including the problems mentioned above, it's good to have this work done by a professional. The home's foundation may need actual underpinning, meaning another layer of concrete or pins added for strength. Deep cracks should also be filled with heavy-duty concrete, not a simple filler, and the foundation itself may need a fresh coat of sealant to help prevent future damage.