Buying a New Home: Check the Foundation for Signs of Breakdown

Overtime, every house moves. The house moves as the earth moves, and the unbendable structures that support the house (concrete foundation) begin to buckle under the pressure of the movement. Overtime, the amount the foundation moves will cause damage; the severity of foundation damage can range from the simple and cosmetic to the drastic and structurally catastrophic. But when you check a home’s foundation for damage what type of damage is acceptable wear and tear—look at any home built more than sixty-to-seventy years ago and you will see some type of damage—and when should you consider hiring a structural engineer to determine the foundation’s integrity? Here’s a few tips of what to look for.

Begin by checking the home’s basement—or crawlspace. First, check for any signs of apparent cracking or heaving. Sometimes the walls will be without a crack but there will be a subtle bulge in the wall or floor. Bulging oftentimes means that there’s a pressure point and the integrity of the structure is affected, and possibly getting worse. Check the corners, where the walls meet: Do the walls look square? If the home has a finished basement, check the slope to the floors. Remember that all homes will have some slope to the floors, some unevenness from settling. But this is within reason; if the floor drops sharply, it’s a sign that there’s some settling problems. Remember that oftentimes a finished basement can camouflage structural issues.

Remember that there are other signs that a home has settled incorrectly. First, crooked doors could be a sign of poor settling. The smell of mildew and water is a glaring sign that the home has structural settling/drainage problems.

There are options, however, to fixing up the foundation. Shotcrete can be applied in a layer to give support to and shore up the movement of foundation walls. And if you have any questions as to how the Shotcrete experts at Shotcrete Montana can fix up a potential problem foundation, then call today.

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