It’s hard to stay on top of the weather in Missouri. As the seasons change, the weather grows more unpredictable. But what should you do when Missouri’s indomitable weather damages your foundation?
Dealing with a foundation leak is always stressful. Before you panic, though, take your time to determine whether or not your foundation is actually leaking. Once you have an idea of what’s going on underneath your home, you’ll be able to take action to retain your home’s value.
Why Foundations Leak
You might think that cracks form in your foundation after one significant event. Sometimes, that is the case. More often than not, though, your foundation will develop cracks due to frequent stress.
Put another way, there are dozens of reasons your foundation may leak. You can break these reasons down into four categories:
- Internal – If you’re having trouble with leaking pipes inside your home, you may be setting yourself up for a foundation leak. The longer you expose your basement and foundation to the water coming out of your pipes, the more stress your structure is going to come under. When your foundation can’t take the stress anymore, it’ll crack open.
- External – That said, your landscaping can have an equally significant effect on your foundation’s structural integrity. If you plant trees too close to your home’s perimeter, the growing root systems could begin to break your foundation into pieces.
- Structural – It’s also possible that, when your home was first built, the contractors used green wood for your supports. Green wood, when exposed to rainwater or dampness, will bow and cause cracks inside your home. Likewise, foundations made out of brick and concrete are more prone to cracks than any other type of foundation.
- Environmental – Finally, natural disasters like floods or earthquakes can break your foundation open. The good news is that you probably won’t have to deal with too many earthquakes in Missouri – however, when spring rolls around, make sure you’ve waterproofed your foundation, or else you’ll be ankle-deep in water in no time at all.
Is Your Foundation Leaking? Signs to Look For
While the causes are many, the symptoms of a foundation leak are even more diverse. Unfortunately, there’s some significant overlap between the symptoms of a basement leak and the symptoms of a foundation leak. If you’re not sure which of these leaks you’re dealing with, you’ll want to reach out to a professional before the leak has time to grow.
Some of the interior signs of a leaking foundation include:
- Uneven floors
- Pest infestations
- Increased dampness
- Sticking doors or stuck windows
- Fogging windows
- Dropping temperatures
The exterior signs of a leaking foundation include:
- A cracked chimney
- Vertical cracks along the sides of your walls
- Horizontal cracks along the foundation of your home
- Visible sinkage
Most of the time, a basement leak won’t be visible from the outside of your home. As such, if you’re noticing cracks along your home’s exterior, you can more confidently diagnose your leak as one stemming from your foundation.
The Impact of a Leaking Foundation on Your Home’s Value
There are a lot of myths surrounding foundation repair and its costs. On one hand, you will need to budget carefully if you think you’re going to have to repair your foundation. On the other hand, the costs aren’t nearly as severe as you may think they are. Likewise, it’s much more expensive to repair a crack that you’ve let fester than it is to nip the problem in the bud.
Foundation cracks are more than just momentary expenses, though. Should you go to sell your home, you’re going to need to disclose your house’s history with foundation problems. If you choose to sell your home without fixing these problems yourself, you risk losing up to 30 percent of your home’s market value.
Comparatively, you can spend money to fix and waterproof your foundation before listing your home on the market. While these repairs will cost you, you’ll be able to list your home for its full value.
All in all, then, it’s less expensive to fix and waterproof your foundation than it is to hope that the crack a professional found during an inspection disappears over time.
Waterproofing Your Home
If you want to get ahead of any foundation problems, you can always waterproof your home when you first purchase it. Some of the waterproofing solutions that’ll help you protect your foundation include:
- Pumps – French drains and sump pumps alike work together to collect and direct water away from your foundation.
- Physical barriers – Vapor barriers are so opaque that they keep moisture out of your crawl space and basement, whether the moisture is a gas or a liquid.
- Temporary solutions – Temporary sealants and dehumidifiers aren’t the solutions to use when you’ve got several inches of water in your basement, but they’ll help keep humidity and dampness away from your foundation.
Don’t let the myths about foundation repair keep you from fixing a crack in your foundation. The faster you act on a contractor’s free quote, the sooner you can take back your home for yourself.