In general, cosmetic upgrades, such as painting interior walls or replacing existing flooring, can be kicked down the road a little bit without worrying about potential structural damage—that’s because cosmetic issues typically don’t have any impact on the structural integrity of a home. On the other hand, foundation problems should be addressed right away. Here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t postpone foundation repairs.
1. Foundation Problems Could Lead to Major Structural Damage
Regardless of their underlying causes, most foundation troubles get worse over time, causing more damage throughout your home. For example, a small crack in your foundation could get large and deep enough to let moisture, water, and pests into your home in just a few months. Left unattended, the crack will eventually lead to different structural problems as well as mold and pest infestations.
Additionally, the foundation is one of the most important load-bearing elements in a home. As a result, even a crack that may seem insignificant at first could have a ripple effect throughout your home, affecting different components. For instance, the hairline cracks that may appear as a result of the stresses exerted by a shifting or sinking foundation could widen, deepen, and propagate through different structural elements in your home, eventually affecting your slab, walls, floors, and ceilings. It is, for this reason, specific issues, such as cracks appearing in the foundation, floors, walls, and ceilings, along with sagging floors, windows and doors no longer opening and closing properly, walls leaning inward or outward, compromised insulation, roof issues, attached structures (e.g. chimney, garage, etc.) pulling away from your home, and door/window frames separating from walls, are typically considered some common signs of foundation problems.
2. Foundation Damage Could Result in Higher Repair Costs
When it comes to foundation issues, the longer you wait, the higher the repair costs will be. That’s because the cost of foundation repairs depends not only on the type of foundation and size of the home, but also on the extent, severity, and location of the problem. As initial foundation problems cause additional damage in the form of structural failure, mold growth, wood rot, and pest infestations, the repair costs tend to increase over time. What’s more, waiting too long to repair your foundation may require you to complete an emergency repair at some point, which could cost much more than doing timely foundation repairs.
To avoid costly repairs, it’s important to act as quickly as you observe the aforementioned signs of foundation distress. For instance, if you call in a professional to repair a small crack right after you observe it, the damage stops as soon as the technician fixes that crack. But if you postpone the repair, the crack will eventually allow moisture and water to enter your wall system. In just a few weeks, mold will start to develop. As the crack widens, deepens, and spreads over time, it won’t only let more water in; it may also start to affect other components within your home, including your floors and ceilings. Before you know it, you’ll have to pay not only to repair foundation issues but also to fix different structural problems and get rid of mold.
3. Foundation Problems Could Affect Your Plumbing and Sewer Lines
In new Houston homes or older homes that have had their plumbing systems replaced, the water pipes and sewer lines are typically made from rigid plastic materials, such as thermoset plastics or thermoplastics, which are characterized by great strength and limited flexibility. While these pipes are typically very durable, they could break due to the tensile, compressive, and/or bending stresses generated by sinking and/or shifting foundations. Because a foundation that’s sinking and/or shifting could cause structural displacement throughout your entire home, plastic pipe fittings may also burst inside your walls. If leaks go undetected for weeks or months, they could lead to serious water damage in your home.
4. Foundation Problems Could Increase Your Energy Bills
Besides indicating serious foundation problems and potentially leading to water damage and pest infestations, cracks in the foundation, slab, floors, walls, and/or ceilings of your home could be sources of air leaks. Air leaks and drafts can increase your energy bills and make your home uncomfortable in the summer and winter. By fixing all the cracks and properly sealing and insulating your home, you can save as much as 15% on heating and cooling costs.
5. Foundation Issues Could Reduce Your Home’s Value
A neglected foundation is very easy to spot. Conversely, a well-maintained or professionally repaired foundation is a desirable feature in the eyes of a potential homebuyer, especially in Houston, where many homes develop foundation issues due to the soil type that dominates this area. If you plan to sell your Houston home someday, keeping your foundation in tip-top shape could help you sell your home faster and for a higher price than the price of comparable properties that haven’t been properly maintained.
Taking care of your Houston home and foundation can be one of the most difficult parts of being a homeowner. Because deciding what to do when something goes wrong with your foundation can be confusing sometimes, feel free to contact Allied Foundation whenever you need expert advice from a foundation repair specialist!