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A house is only as good as its foundation, so when you notice a problem, be prompt in seeking foundation repair.
Common Foundation Problems
Foundations are supposed to be built atop firm ground or bedrock, with the intent that the foundations of a home will never move. Unfortunately, weather and geology do not always follow our plans. Here are the top foundation problems according to foundation repair experts:
- Cracks and fractures — These will appear in your home's interior walls, in the foundations themselves, or in exterior brick veneer
- Broken chimney — Masonry around your chimney will telegraph foundation problems by breaking in stair-steps along mortar lines
- Settling or sinking — One side of your home may seem to be sinking, floors can become uneven or sloped, and vertical cracks will appear in joints, as between a wall and a floor
- Foundation upheaval — Slab foundations are essentially a plate of concrete floating on dirt, so moisture, under-slab plumbing problems, or frost heaves can force a foundation up
- Stuck doors; doors that will not close — A shifting foundation can put your entire house out of plumb, leading to problems with interior and exterior doors
- Separations — As with slab foundation problems, shifting footings and foundation walls can lead to separations between counters and kitchen wall, and widening gaps appearing around window and door frames
How Foundations Fail
Foundations are not supposed to have moving parts. Yet they can fail, due to movement, in several ways:
- The earth around a foundation can subside (drop), leaving the foundation unsupported
- Underground water levels can drop, weakening the soil
- The foundation can move if impacted by a sufficiently large blow (a vehicle hitting your cement block foundation, for example)
- Freeze and thaw cycles can cause a foundation to rise, then drop, leading to cracks
How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?
Small cracks may be mostly cosmetic, costing around $500. The average cost of a large-scale foundation repair is $5,838.
Solutions for foundation repair can range widely in costs, depending on the severity of the problem. More substantial issues require serious hardware:
- Hydraulic piers to counter settling and sinking can cost $10,000 or more
- Slabjacking pumps slurry under the slab to level it, at a slightly lower cost than hydraulic piering
While many home repairs are do-it-yourself projects, foundation repair is never safe to leave to amateurs.