The health of your foundation is of the utmost importance to the integrity and safety of your home. Fortunately, most foundation damage happens slowly, over many years, and can be corrected before any serious failures happen. As a homeowner, you should be prepared to make repairs at the first sign that your foundation has cracked or begun sinking. That’s because the longer you wait, the worse the damage will become. Consequently, you may end up paying more for the repairs needed to restore your foundation and home to its original condition.
When it’s time to make foundation repairs, you may be thinking that your homeowner’s insurance will kick in to save the day. But there are some important caveats to your coverage that you need to know about before you schedule your repair.
Signs You Need Foundation Repair
Aside from seeing cracks in the concrete slab itself, there are a few more indicators of potential foundation failure. For instance, doors and windows that won’t open or close properly may be a sign that your house frame is no longer straight. While different factors could contribute to this issue, house framing problems could be caused by deep cracks in the concrete slab, gaps underneath the foundation, excess moisture or standing water near your home, and/or differential settlement.
Another example is the stair-step cracks that sometimes occur in the brick exterior of Houston homes. These types of cracks tend to form when a section of the slab gets detached and moves or shifts in relation to the rest of the structure. Finally, when the exterior trim begins to separate and pull away at the corners, you should take note, as this is yet another sign that your foundation might have cracked, shifted, or moved in a way that is putting a strain on your home.
Causes of Your Home’s Foundation Cracking
The reasons for foundation damage are as varied as the weather. Indeed, many of them are tied directly to Houston weather events and climate change. When your city goes through a rainy season, the clay soil around your home becomes saturated, which causes it to expand and apply pressure to your foundation. Once the dry weather returns, the soil will begin to dry out and contract gradually.
If you let the clay soil around your home dry out completely, it may retract from the concrete structures it’s in direct contact with. This may allow gaps to form underneath your foundation, meaning your home will no longer be supported properly. In that case, foundation sinking and cracking could happen over time. Other events, such as flash floods and earthquakes, could cause gaps underneath the slab to develop suddenly, which may leave your home without the support it needs in an instant.
Where Does Homeowner’s Insurance Kick In?
If your home has started to exhibit signs of foundation damage, you may need to pay for any repairs required out of your own pocket. That’s because homeowner’s insurance usually doesn’t cover foundation damage that can be prevented. That includes damage resulting from the natural and gradual deterioration of the structure over time.
In fact, if you pull out your policy right now, you will likely find language that expressly excludes coverage for foundation repairs unless the damage is caused by an unexpected event that is normally covered. This means that your policy may cover foundation damage resulting from an unexpected flood caused by a pipe that has burst suddenly, but excludes damage arising from gradual leaks, seepage, or regular seasonal rains. In addition, damage caused by earthquakes, floods, mold, pests, and high-risk items, like swimming pools, may not be covered at all unless you have paid extra for insurance add-ons that cover those specific perils.
Most insurance companies are doing everything in their power to avoid paying claims. So, if you suspect that your house has foundation problems, you should be prepared to fork over some cash. However, it is still worth informing your insurer about any foundation issue you have, even if you don’t think your policy covers that type of damage. Because foundation damage can have many possible causes, the initial event that might have caused the problem in the first place could make your claim eligible for reimbursement. If you’re completely out of luck with your homeowner’s insurance, you may qualify for one of the financing options we make available for foundation repairs.
What to Expect When Your Foundation Is Being Repaired
For the most part, foundation repairs are a simple matter these days. In general, repairing a foundation involves the use of a series of jacks and concrete piers to lift the foundation and stabilize the home back into place. The cost of this service varies across the country and will depend on the type of foundation, the size of the home, and the type of equipment used to lift and secure the foundation. For more information about the foundation repair process, feel free to contact Allied Foundation today! Our experts will be glad to schedule your complimentary foundation inspection and also provide all the information you might need for a successful foundation repair that will stand the test of time!