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Understanding the Common Indicators of Foundation Damage in Your Michigan Home

Does your Traverse City home have doors or windows that are hard to open or close? If you are a Michigan homeowner with sticking doors and windows, you may have a bigger problem on your hands than you know. As a home settles from the effects of time, soil conditions, and other factors, the home’s foundation can be damaged. To identify foundation damage in your own home, there are a few common warning signs for you to know. The most important thing to understand is that foundation damage can get worse over time and cause major problems throughout the entire home if not corrected. Understanding the warning signs and identifying and fixing foundation damage immediately is an important step in caring for the long-term health of your home.

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What is foundation settlement?

All buildings, including single-family homes, settle into the ground they are built on over time. What can change from place to place and home to home is the amount of settlement that occurs and how it affects the home’s foundation. From weather to changing soil conditions, many of the factors impacting the health of a home’s foundation are out of our control. What we can control is how early we identify and fix issues before they get worse. From mold to pests and water damage to sticking doors, foundation damage can impact the entire home.

How to identify foundation problems in your home

Whether you own your home or are looking to purchase one, understanding how to identify the common early warning signs of foundation damage can be helpful. When you buy a home, a professional inspection is part of the buying process. Inspecting the home’s foundation is an important part of understanding how much the home is worth. If you haven’t had your own home’s foundation inspected recently, here are a few ways to spot foundation issues on your own.

The eight indicators of foundation damage in a home are:

  1. Cracking along floors and up walls, especially near windows and doors
  2. Doors and windows that are hard to open and close
  3. Growing gaps between windows and doors that can attract moisture and pests
  4. Cracking, tilting, or leaning chimney
  5. Slanting or sagging floors and bowing basement walls
  6. Growing mold, mildew, or rot in the home’s basement or crawl space with a musty smell
  7. Damaged porch or stoop
  8. Unexplained water damage in the home

What causes foundation damage?

According to Realtor.com, the three main causes of foundation issues in a home are settlement, heave, and stem wall deterioration. We already outlined foundation settlement, or how a home shrinks into the soil underneath or around it over time. Foundation heave is just the opposite. As soil levels shrink in one place, they rise in others. Foundation heave is caused by rising soil levels under the home, which can cause cracking and other damages, attracting moisture and pests.

The stem walls of a home are built on top of its concrete foundation and provide the base for the rest of the structure. Damage to the foundation and the stem walls attached to it can cause cracks and other damage throughout the home because of this, from sloping floors to bowing walls and broken chimneys.

What does it cost to fix a foundation?

In Michigan and across the country, the amount of repair costs needed to fix a damaged foundation varies. How big the problem is and how long it has been occurring are two main indicators of the cost, as well as where the home is located. For example, the average cost across the country for small foundation repairs is $3,500 according to Inch Calculator. More advanced repairs cost an average of $10,000 nationwide. For those living in cities, the average cost can be greater. Averages per city vary from $14,000 in Virginia Beach, VA, to $11,000 in Raleigh, NC, and $14,500 in Denver, CO.

What to look for when purchasing a new home

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or purchasing a second home, identifying and fixing problems with the home’s foundation is an important part of homeownership. It’s important to know that foundation problems can occur in all types of homes in all areas of the country. The age of the home isn’t the only factor, either. Even new homes can be impacted by foundation heave or settlement if the soil conditions are wrong or other external events affect the home.

When purchasing a home, request any warranty or other information about repairs that occurred inside the home. This will help protect your investment, especially if costly repairs have already been done. If a home inspector identifies foundation damage, consider asking for a reduction in the price of the home to help pay for immediate repairs. Even a small crack in the foundation can lead to big problems later on, so fixing foundation issues quickly is always best.

For help identifying and fixing foundation problems in your Michigan home, trust the experts at FSM and schedule a free inspection and repair estimate today.

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