Remodeling your home is exciting, there is no doubt about that. While we do our best to analyze the infrastructure before starting a remodel, sometimes unexpected issues arise, such as foundation issues. Finding out that your home is experiencing foundation issues once the remodeling process has started can be disheartening. That’s why it’s important to address foundation concerns and problems before remodeling your home.
We are happy to have foundation expert Jim Oursler from Granite Foundation Repair in Dallas share the following insight on foundation considerations before remodeling.
Why is repairing the foundation important prior to a home remodel?
A home’s foundation is as essential as it sounds. It’s the load-bearing portion of the structure. Without a proper foundation, a myriad of structural issues can plague your home. And left ignored, your precious home could end up crumbling down.
At a minimum, a proper foundation should be able to do the following things well:
- Act as a barrier to water and soil vapor;
- Keep out groundwater and above all,
- Support the structure.
Foundation Repair Tips Before Remodeling Your Home
1. Conduct a Home Foundation Inspection
This is the first thing to do before diving into your home renovation project. You don’t want to begin the project only for your contractor to discover a problem with your foundation. This will not only derail your project but will also end up costing you dearly.
Prior to starting your home remodel, have an excavation contractor check your foundation. The report from the foundation specialist will help you know whether any repairs to your foundation are necessary.
2. Look for Signs of Foundation Damage
Some signs of foundation problems are visible. You could check for these signs yourself even before hiring professional services. The following are the common signs of foundation damage to be on the lookout for:
- Exterior walls pulling away from the house. If you notice that walls are pulling away from your house, call a building contractor right away. Left unattended, your home could eventually collapse.
- Nails popping out of drywall. It’s perfectly normal for a few nails to pop out of the drywall. But, if the problem becomes widespread, have it checked by a professional foundation repair specialist.
- Floor tiles cracking. Many things can cause tile cracks. However, if tiles are breaking all over the house, it could signal foundation failure. Wall fissures and a broken chimney could also mean trouble.
- Bouncing floors. Water moisture can cause wood to rot. Over time, your floors will begin to feel like trampolines. If you notice this, schedule a foundation repair inspection immediately.
- Door frame/window frame separation from brick. A door or window separating from the brick wall is never a good sign. Have your foundation inspected as soon as possible.
- Sagging or uneven floors. Do your floors appear to be out of level or appear to be sagging, dipping or bowing? If they do, it’s a sign of trouble. Besides appearing unsightly, sagging or uneven floors are a safety risk especially to children, the elderly and the disabled.
To test whether your floors are sagging or uneven, you’ll need a golf or tennis ball. On an uneven floor, the ball will obviously roll. Otherwise, it should not.
- Sticky doors. If you’ve noticed your doors are sticking or don’t open or close properly, it could be a sign that your home is experiencing foundation failure. Exterior doors with foundation issues are more likely to hang down at the top or drag at the threshold.
In other cases, however, humidity could be the source of the problem. An assessment by a qualified foundation repair specialist will help identify the underlying issue.
- Foundation upheaval. If your slab foundation has moved in an upward direction, it’s experiencing foundation upheaval. Generally, heaving is caused by under-slab plumbing leaks, excessive moisture or expansive clay soil conditions.
Expansive clay soils, for example, absorb water during the wet season and expand. This expansion puts pressure on the foundation, causing it to fail.
- Foundation settling or sinking. This is the opposite of foundation upheaval. You’ll know your house is settling when it starts to sink. Foundation settlement doesn’t occur evenly. As such, over time, you’ll begin noticing that one part of your house is lower than the other.
In the vast majority of times, gaps resulting from foundation settlement are vertical. So, when inspecting your foundation remember to keep this in mind. Left unattended, the problem that started as a small 0.5” dip could end up being a 4” dip into the earth. This could cause a myriad of problems including causing damage to your roof.
3. Get Professional Foundation Repairs
Once foundation problems have been confirmed, the next step is to have them fixed by a professional repair specialist. Hiring a specialist who has extensive knowledge and experience in foundation matters is key.
Before embarking on a house remodeling project, have your foundation checked by a professional foundation repair company. In some cases, your foundation could be perfectly fine. But in other cases, it could need some repairs.