Keeping your home’s foundation properly waterproofed will help protect your investment and reduce water damage. It also helps prevent health hazards like mold growth and mildew.
Even a tiny amount of water can cause extensive damage to your home’s foundation, flooring, and walls. These damages can be expensive and difficult to repair.
Structural issues often arise during the construction of a home. Sloppy soil preparation, poor design choices, and inferior materials lay the groundwork for foundation problems that can be difficult to spot.
A home inspector can point out various red flags indicating structural damage.
A house that moves when you walk or stand in it might indicate settlement.
Doors or windows that don’t swing or close properly, counters and cabinets that separate from the wall, or nails popping out of drywall are all signs of foundation problems.
These cracks are usually more concerning than others and can be a sign of serious foundation issues.
If you see any of these issues, you must hire a professional like foundation crack repair in NJ for a thorough inspection. They will diagnose any damage, including hidden issues you might miss, recommend repairs, and give you a report on whether the house is safe in its present condition.
The cost of foundation waterproofing repair is minimal when you address these concerns promptly.
In addition, homeowners insurance typically covers a foundation compromised by an earthquake or other geological phenomenon. Check your policy before you purchase a home.
A home inspector can determine if the foundation is covered, but you’ll need to check with your lender before deciding. If your lender agrees to cover the problem, you should be able to get a mortgage preapproval and move on with your home search.
The first step in repairing foundation issues is to seal the cracks and holes with an elastomeric caulk. This will prevent water from entering and causing mold growth or other damage.
Cracked Walls or Floors
A cracked wall or floor can be a severe problem that should not be ignored. Several things, including structural damage, house settling, and earth movement, can cause them.
Some cracks in your walls or floors can be easily fixed, but others are more serious. For example, a vertical crack that starts at the top of your wall and then goes down to the floor or ceiling signifies significant foundation damage.
These kinds of cracks usually require professional repair. Alternatively, if you find a hairline crack that isn’t more than 1/8-inch wide, you can spackle the area and paint it.
But if you have a crack larger than 3/8-inch wide, it’s time to call in an expert. Then, they’ll be able to properly evaluate the cracks and determine whether they’re a symptom of an underlying foundation problem.
Older homes often have vertical cracks in their drywall due to natural settling over time. These aren’t necessarily a cause for concern, but you should check the wall and door frames regularly to ensure these cracks don’t worsen.
Another type of crack that you should watch for in older houses is nail pops. These can be caused by the wood shrinking as it dries, but if you have many nail pops in your home, it could indicate that your foundation is settling.
Similarly, small settling cracks around the edges of your windows and doors are common in old houses. They can be caused by the drywall or plaster getting weaker with age and natural settlement.
In addition to these cracks, you might also notice a gap between your walls or floors and the foundation. These gaps are not usually a cause for concern, but if you find one in your home, it’s worth checking with an experienced contractor to ensure it’s not a symptom of a more significant issue.
Uneven floors, especially in older homes, can be a significant problem for homeowners. While some may embrace them as a decorative feature, they should be considered an indicator of severe issues and promptly addressed by a professional.
The most common cause of uneven floors is excess moisture from a leaky pipe or underground water and poor drainage. This causes wooden beams and sub-flooring to warp and can eventually damage the foundation of the building.
Sometimes, the floor is sloppy or has dips and cracks that can imbalance the entire flooring structure.
Another possible reason for uneven floors is damaged joists. If your beams are too large or placed in a way that is not supporting your floor, they can begin to buckle, warp, or break from the pressure of the weight of your home.
Alternatively, your floors might be sloping because your home’s foundation has shifted due to soil movement. Soil expands and contracts depending on how much moisture it’s got.
Soil is typically weaker when wet and firm when dry, which can cause your foundation to shift. This can lead to uneven floors and problems like wall cracks or framing.
This type of foundation problem, differential settlement, can be corrected via a foundation repair process known as underpinning. During this process, piers are installed beneath the foundation to lift and stabilize it from any future settlement.
Finally, uneven floors can be a sign that your foundation is too weak to support the weight of your house. This can happen due to age, poor structural design, or faulty construction.
It’s best to address any uneven floors before they become severe and cause costly repairs or property damage.
Mold or Mildew Growth
Mold or mildew is a fungus that causes health problems and degrades building materials. It can be prevented by addressing the sources of moisture.
The most important thing to do is keep your house dry, especially during humid weather. Humidity can cause mold to grow, so checking for leaks in bathrooms and other wet areas is crucial to fix any water damage and ensure that humidity levels are controlled.
Also, have your heating and cooling systems inspected and maintained regularly. They should be checked, repaired, or replaced as necessary and properly insulated to reduce condensation.
You can also help prevent mold or mildew by keeping items in storage clean and dry. For instance, washing clothing and other household textiles before storing them is best, as a filthy garment is more likely to mildew than a clean one.
Moreover, it’s helpful to inspect the fabrics you store, such as cotton, wool, linen, silk, and rayon, regularly for signs of mildew. You can do this by lightly sponging them with thick suds, wiping them down with a damp cloth, or using a mildew-resistant spray on the surface.
Mildew can be a nuisance, but it is not as harmful as mold, which can be dangerous and insidious. As long as it is removed and treated correctly, it won’t cause serious health issues.
Molds reproduce through the release of tiny spores, which are similar to seeds in plants. These spores can be dispersed by wind or water, and they can travel long distances to reach the right environment for growth.
When mold spores land on a surface, they form colonies or “mycelium.” These mycelia have many hyphae. Hyphae are the basic units that give mold its shape and ability to produce spores and reproductive tissue.
When these fungi are left untreated, they can eat the surface they grow on and break it down bit by bit. This process eventually ruins the material, causing cosmetic and structural damage. If you have a mold problem, it’s time to contact a professional to have the growth removed, and the affected area cleaned up.