Older homes have lots of character, but they can also be prone to foundation issues. If your home is between 20 and 100 years old, or if you’re considering buying an older home, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your home’s foundation isn’t in great condition. Here’s what to look for and how to repair old foundation.
House Foundation Types
There are three main types of home foundations: basement, slab, and crawl spaces.
A basement foundation can be either partially or fully underground. These are typically built using concrete foundation walls or masonry walls, concrete footings and cement slabs, that offer structural support to the floors above. Basement foundations are often found in cold climates as they can provide an additional level of living space which helps to insulate the building.
A concrete slab foundation, or slab on grade foundation, is created by pouring concrete onto the soil to form a foundation for the home. Reinforcements are added for extra support. This type of foundation is typically used in areas where the ground does not freeze, or where there are not usually any freeze-thaw cycles.
Crawl Space Foundations
A crawl space foundation is similar to a basement, but much smaller. It is an area under the home’s main level that offers space to store miscellaneous items and to allow for maintenance and repairs and access to wiring and plumbing. Concrete slab foundations are typically used where a full basement is not desired or cannot be supported by the soil, or when the building site is too small to support a slab or full basement foundation. This type of foundation has shorter foundation walls, accessible from the outside of the building.
What Causes Problems in Older Home Foundations
Older homes can face a variety of foundation issues, including uneven floors, slab leaks, and cracks in the walls.
As the foundation settles over time, the house’s floors can shift and become uneven. Floors that are uneven can be a sign of foundation settling issues, such as support posts settling.
When a basement slab has leaks, water from rain, leaky pipes, and ground moisture can seep in, causing existing cracks to grow larger. This can lead to more serious damage to the foundation and allow significant moisture problems and potentially pet infestations. Slab leaks can be difficult to detect and are often caused by corrosion or poor installation of pipes, or even shifting soil conditions.
Cracks in Interior or Exterior Walls
The home’s foundation helps support walls, so when the foundation settles, it can cause cracks to form on interior or exterior walls. Cracks on exterior walls typically have a stair-step pattern, and cracks on interior walls often occur above windows and doorways.
Steps to Take to Maintain and Prevent Foundation Problems in Older Homes
Older home foundation repair and maintenance can help prevent intense damage to your aging home’s foundation. Paying attention to foundation cracks and repairing old concrete foundation as soon as possible can help prevent damage from getting worse. Waterproofing your basement can help prevent mold, mildew, and water damage. Be sure your property slopes away from your house, and consider installing weeping tiles to move water away from your home to prevent damage.
Performing regular maintenance can also help you prevent foundation issues. Check for cracks, leaks, and creaking or slanted floors on a regular basis and schedule old foundation repair if needed. Don’t plant trees or bushes too close to the house, as roots can cause problems for plumbing and foundations. If you suspect foundation problems, contact a foundation repair expert for old home foundation repair.
Contact K. Kuypers Construction
Maintaining your home’s foundation can help your older home last for years to come. Need foundation repair for your old house? Contact K. Kuypers Construction. Visit our services page to learn more, view our testimonials, or contact us to schedule an appointment.