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Your Older Houston Home Needs TLC

June 10, 2013

Your Older Home Needs TLC

As a house ages, it will eventually need repairs and maintenance. One of the most important parts of an old house in which you need to pay extra attention to is the foundation. If damage develops on this part of the home it can turn into a very expensive repair job.

Everything Ages

As a house ages, so does the materials they are created from. These will get weaker with age, causing them to be more susceptible to damage. These damages can be caused by many different factors, all exacerbated by the age of the house. Routine maintenance to this part of the house is essential in order to save you from the aggravation of going through with the repairs of the foundation.

Another factor that might cause damage to an old home is water damage. If you have any leaks from your pipes or sewage lines, they might cause harm to your foundation. Sadly, water damage can sometimes be difficult to detect until it is already too late. As soon as you suspect any damage within your foundation, your first step should be to have your pipes and sewage lines looked at by a professional. This will help the contractors you hire to repair your foundation find a way to fix your home.

Plumbing Problems

Though usually covered by homeowner’s insurance, pipe failure in a home can be a giant problem. Pipe failure can cause damage to flooring, your walls, and even your home's foundation. Replacing the pipes may seem like a herculean task - but if they break you will need to replace them anyway, and then you will have to replace anything that received water damage. If pipes fail it can also cause mold and mildew issues as well. Needless to say, old piping in a house can create many other problems - so it’s important to ask the seller which kind of plumbing the house has, PVC, copper, or PEX.

Bug and Termite Issues

Water and moisture play a big role in pest activity. Gutters, drainage, and leaks can all have an impact on pest population. Water can lead to mold and fungus, which many bugs feed on. We have already established that older plumbing systems can contribute to that and since older homes weren’t put through stringent inspection like they are today, they can potentially be a perfect home for many pests. 

It's important to check for symptoms of bug infestation before purchasing or when living in an older home. 

Foundation Issues

Foundation issues sound overwhelming and scary. Some people will shy away from an older house with a foundation issue. But if you love the house otherwise, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. The trick is to see how bad the problem is, and make sure whatever caused the problem is fixed as well so you don’t have a repeat.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for signs of foundation distress. These include:

  • Doors that don’t close well or look uneven
  • Cracks in brick or stucco
  • Drywall cracks
  • Cracked tile or concrete
  • Floors visibly uneven underfoot

Older homes are prone to a variety of foundation and structural problems, such as major cracks or unevenness in the slab or perimeter foundation wall; corrosion, dry rot, or moisture damage in pilings or concrete foundation supports; damaged piers (support footings); and dry rot or moisture damage in above-ground studs.

Foundation issues can come from many places. The environment plays a large part. If the home is in an area that is prone to hot, dry summers, like those of Houston, then the damage could be from soil shrinkage as the soil moisture evaporates.

Tree roots can be the culprit as well, as many older Houston homes have large, old trees in the yard. Their roots can run deep underground and can grow into the foundation of the home or even reach your home’s plumbing, causing leaks or failure. When the pipes fail, water seeps into the foundation causing major issues.

A lot of the times, these problems are caught before the house becomes uninhabitable. Therefore, many homeowners can tackle the problem before it becomes too overwhelming.

Cost:

The cost to repair foundation damage could be very expensive depending on the extent of the damage and the size of your home. In Houston, we see a variety of damage and the best way to determine the cost is calling a professional, and receiving a free estimate. The cost will include labor costs, and materials used in the repair.

Even though the cost to repair is very high it is a cost you cannot get away from. If you ignore structural damage in the foundation you are only asking for a potential disaster. The cost to rebuild a home will be significantly more than to repair an existing one.

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Mark Jacobs

Written by Mark Jacobs

Customer Service Manager Mark developed a passion for foundation repair in his formative years. Growing up in the family business has shaped the way he looks at homes and his ability to solve problems - from the ground up! He loves to read and keep up with the new technology that is constantly developing in the foundation repair industry. Outside of work, he loves adventuring with his family, spending time by the water, and has a passion for cooking.

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