Over the years, construction of new Houston homes has improved drastically thanks to new products, techniques, and equipment. We also have more building codes and inspections designed to protect homeowners against poor quality construction. Nevertheless, the demand for vintage homes continues to increase as many people hope to get a good deal on a home that they can renovate to their tastes. If you're in the market for such a home, here are a few tips to help you weed out the most common problems and make sure you are getting a great home.
Interior and exterior walls begin to show signs of damage when a house's foundation settles. Most commonly, you will see large cracks that appear at the exterior corners of the home, and in severe cases, the cracks will work their way inside to the drywall as well. This happens when the foundation cracks and the walls are no longer fully supported. If you see cracked walls, make sure to have an inspection done to determine the depth of the problem and how it can be repaired.
Another common sign of trouble is crumbling around the foundation. This can happen when water has collected against the foundation over time, softening the concrete. At first, it may look like just a few loose flakes of concrete on the outside, but a quick inspection with a screwdriver or other hard tool will tell you how far the damage goes. If the underlying concrete is still hard and stable, there may not be a problem at all, but if the concrete continues to flake and break off, it may be too soft to support the house, and repairing it can be very difficult or even impossible.
Signs of Seepage
Even if the walls themselves appear solid, you will also want to look for signs of seepage occurring on the ground floor. This can best be identified by a musty smell that permeates the lower levels of the house. However, if water is seeping through, there will also be visual signs of damage such as discoloration of the stone, tiny fractures, and mineral deposits where lime and other minerals have built up in the cracks.
If your initial inspection of the house's foundation passes the test, you will still want to conduct a thorough assessment of the home's plumbing. Much of a home's plumbing runs beneath or through the foundation. As a result, even minor shifts and settling can apply pressure to the pipes and cause hidden leaks. If a leak is left unaddressed over a period of time, it will eventually erode the soil from beneath the slab and cause a bigger foundation problem. However, it can also cause water to seep up through the slab and ruin carpet, drywall, and furniture.
Doors and Windows
Another simple sign of trouble is windows and doors that stick. You can test windows and doors without any special tools to determine whether or not they open properly. Doors that stick are usually a sign of uneven settling of the foundation, which has caused the door frame to move out of square. This causes the door to bind in some places and can make it difficult to open or close.
As you walk through the house, make note of any uneven floors you come across. Some floors may be uneven due to damaged joists, while others are a sign of deeper damage. If you suspect that the floor is sinking or soft, make sure to have an inspector look at the root cause.
These are just some of the common problems you will come across in older homes as you search for your very own vintage gem. Make sure to look closely at any home you are considering purchasing for signs of major foundation damage which might cost thousands of dollars to repair in the future. If you are looking for more information about repair options, contact Allied Foundation today.