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Foundation Challenges in Older Homes

Foundation Repair

09/26/2023

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Older homes have a unique charm that many homeowners find irresistible. However, they also come with their own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to the foundation. Aging foundations can result in a range of structural problems, including cracks, sagging floors, and water damage. Here at Regional Foundation, we’ve seen all kinds of foundation problems in older properties over the past nearly 40 years in the industry. Let’s explore some of the common foundation challenges in older homes and discuss their potential solutions.

1. Settling

One of the most common foundation challenges in older homes is settling. This occurs when the soil beneath the foundation compresses or shifts, which can cause the foundation to sink or settle unevenly. As a result, cracks may appear in the walls or floors, and doors and windows may become difficult to open or close. If left unaddressed, settling can cause serious structural damage that can compromise the safety and integrity of the entire home.

If you suspect the foundation of your home is settling, it’s essential to address the issue as soon as possible. Our Raleigh foundation repair team can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action. In some cases, the foundation may need to be stabilized with piers or other support structures. 

2. Water intrusion

Water is one of the biggest enemies of any foundation, and older homes are particularly vulnerable. Over time, water can seep into the foundation and cause it to crack or weaken. This can result in serious structural problems, including mold growth, wood rot, and even foundation collapse. Preventing water damage to your home’s foundation starts with proper drainage. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and that they direct water away from the foundation. Additionally, consider installing a sump pump or other waterproofing system to keep your basement dry. We may also recommend installing a drainage system to prevent future settling.

3. Sagging floors

If you’ve noticed that your floors are uneven or sagging, it could be a sign of foundation problems. As the foundation settles or shifts, it can cause the floors to slope or dip. This can make it difficult to walk or move furniture and can even create safety hazards in severe cases. To address sagging floors, our Raleigh foundation repair contractors may recommend installing additional support beams or jacks. In some cases, the floor joists may need to be reinforced or replaced. It’s essential to address sagging floors as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the foundation or other structural components.

4. Wall cracks

Another common sign of foundation problems in older homes is cracked walls. These cracks can appear both inside and outside the home, and can range from small hairline cracks to larger, more severe cracks. In some cases, the cracks may be accompanied by bowing or bulging walls. To repair cracked walls, we may need to install reinforcement beams or wall anchors. They may also need to fill the cracks with an epoxy or other sealant to prevent further water damage. It’s important to address cracked walls promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your home’s occupants.

5. Termite damage

Termites are a common pest that can cause serious damage to the foundation of your home. These insects feed on wood, and over time can weaken the structural components of the foundation. This can cause damage like cracked walls, sagging floors, and possible foundation collapse. Preventing termite damage starts with regular inspections and treatments. A pest control professional can inspect your home for signs of termite activity and recommend the best course of action. Additionally, consider replacing any wood components of your foundation with concrete or other termite-resistant materials.

6. Plumbing failures

In addition to the challenges discussed above, older homes may have other foundation issues that require additional attention. For example, homes built before the 1970’s may have clay sewer pipes that are prone to cracking and collapsing. This can lead to backups and flooding, which can damage the foundation and other parts of the home. If you suspect that your home has clay sewer pipes, it’s essential to have them inspected and, if necessary, replaced with more durable PVC pipes.

7. Soil erosion

Another issue that may affect older homes is soil erosion. Over time, the soil around the foundation can erode, leaving the foundation exposed and vulnerable to damage. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including heavy rainfall, poor drainage, and landscaping practices. To prevent soil erosion, make sure that your yard is properly graded and that water is directed away from the foundation. Additionally, consider planting ground cover or other erosion-resistant plants to help hold the soil in place.

8. Poor construction

Finally, it’s important to note that not all foundation problems are caused by age or wear and tear. In some cases, foundation issues may be the result of poor construction or design. For example, a foundation that was built on unstable soil or without proper drainage may be prone to settling and other problems. If you suspect that your issues are the result of poor construction or design, it’s essential to work with a qualified Raleigh foundation professional to determine the best course of action.

Older homes may be charming, but they come with their own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to the foundation. If you’re a homeowner of an older home, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to prevent and address foundation problems. 

By working with a professional foundation repair contractor like those at Regional Foundation & Crawl Space Repair, and taking proactive measures to protect your home, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your property for years to come! Get in touch with our Raleigh foundation repair team today and ask for your free inspection.