As homeowners, we assume that home is the safest place to be. And for many intents and purposes, it is. But as we grow older, and our homes settle into the earth, certain things that used to be minor inconveniences now become major struggles—or worse—safety hazards.
It’s important to know that these issues aren’t irreversible and that there are ways to protect a home and its inhabitants from harm. By repairing and optimizing your home’s foundation, crawl space, basement, or even gutters, you can make life a lot easier for you or your aging loved ones. And most importantly, everyone can enjoy the benefits of a secure, more accessible home.
In this article, we’ll go over some common accessibility issues that are caused by foundation problems, and how fixing them can make a huge difference for you or your senior family members.
Foundation Repair for Seniors to Alleviate Safety Hazards
Foundation repair may not come to mind when thinking about ways to make your home a safer place. But as you will learn, the structure of your home does play a major role in your overall safety.
1. Even Out Floors
Uneven Floors are a common problem sign of differential settlement in homes. Differential settlement is when the soil beneath your home shifts due to varying moisture levels. This can weaken soil, causing air pockets and a generally weak support system for your home. When this happens, some portions of your home will sink quicker than the others because of the uneven soil moisture composition below. This is how you get floors that are sloping or uneven.
This can make for a safety hazard for older adults, as the uneven floors can be a tripping hazard, and can throw off anyone’s equilibrium in the process. Foundation experts can fix this by applying helical or push piers below the foundation. Pier systems are galvanized steel rods, drilled into the ground, to be supported by bedrock. They provide a permanent support system for your home so that it won’t have to rely on finicky soil to keep it standing. Piers also even out your floors, creating a safer environment within the home. Explore all foundation solutions here.
2. Clean Mold Out of Crawl Space
From the 1950s to the 1990s (approximately), it was a common practice to install vents or openings on crawl spaces for aeration. The idea was that airflow in and out of the crawl space would avert moisture buildup, therefore preventing water intrusion, mold, and pests from building up. Over time, this thought process turned out to be a major design flaw, as the opening exposed the crawl space to all the things it was trying to prevent. If you or your loved one’s home was built around this time period, they likely are experiencing moisture issues within their crawl space.
If you notice nasty smells, extra insects, cold floors, or allergy and breathing problems, the source could be coming from the crawl space. Around 50% of the air in your home is sourced from the crawl space. This means that if you or your loved one’s crawl space is ridden with toxicity from mold, pests, and moisture, the whole house will breathe it in.
This can advance health issues for those with preexisting conditions, or even cause issues for many people when mold spores, nasty smells, and toxins from pests fill the air. If you suspect mold in your crawl space, do not inspect it yourself. Then, mold soda blasting or mold remediation is a must to protect the health of you or your senior loved one.
3. Lift Uneven or Cracked Concrete
Falling hazards are a major issue for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four older adults fall each year. Unfortunately, having one fall will double the chances of having another one. Concrete lifting can be an extremely helpful tool in this effort to make the home more accessible.
Large fissures in your driveway, patio, or sidewalk with protruding concrete slabs present easy tripping hazards. What’s worse is uneven concrete on pool decks where someone could trip and fall in. PolyRenewal™ concrete lifting is a lightweight solution injected into concrete slabs to even them out and do away with slab protrusion. Concrete experts drill penny-sized holes into the concrete and inject the polyurethane solution that takes about 15 minutes to cure before your concrete is walkable again. Concrete lifting is a quick and cost-effective safety measure with a big impact.
Home Repairs for Seniors to Improve Accessibility & Convenience
We all want to be able to do some things by ourselves, without having to rely on others. Safety hazards always take top priority—but there are some solutions that can take your home from being a safe one to a more accessible one. Here’s how certain foundation and home repairs can help make everyday life a little easier.
4. Fix Structure to Ease Sticking Doors and Windows
Sinking and crooked floors are a telltale sign that you have foundation issues, but that’s not all. Doors and windows that don’t seem to open or shut easily, getting caught on the top or bottom of the frame, can be a major inconvenience. For some, it could present an unnecessary challenge in everyday life—forcing homeowners to keep doors or windows slightly ajar to avoid the struggle of opening and shutting.
A reasonable instinct may be to replace the window or door frame all together. For some, this may be the right answer. But if this doesn’t work, the issue could be the deteriorating structure of the home. Differential settlement is typically the cause of uneven and sloping floors—and sticking windows and door frames tend to be a byproduct of this. You’re more likely to notice doors and windows not shutting properly before you can feel a slope in your floors. To fix this problem, experts might recommend a pier system, which can lift your home and provide permanent support from deep in the earth beneath your home.
5. Encapsulate Crawl Space
Encapsulating your crawl space can make life easier for you, not just by preventing mold and health issues, but by improving your home’s energy efficiency. Crawl space encapsulation involves insulating your crawl space to regulate its temperature, installing a vapor barrier and dehumidifier to regulate moisture levels, sealing off your crawl space vents and doors, and even installing a water drainage system. These things all work together to maintain a dry, cool space below your feet.
While this works in the background, problem signs like high energy bills, cold floors, and even uncomfortable temperatures may start to disappear. You no longer have to crank your thermostat—or dish out major dollars on an energy bill.
6. Waterproof Basement
Basements may not be an easily accessible part of the home for certain older adults. And when your basement is dealing with cracking, bowing walls, leaks, and even mold, these issues festering below can create an inhabitable space. Heavy rainstorms can also exaggerate these issues, and older homeowners may risk having valuables in the basement destroyed.
That’s where basement waterproofing can come in. With vapor barriers, interior drainage systems, sump pumps, and more, basement waterproofing can do the maintenance work for you. With these systems working around the clock to maintain a strong structure and reasonable moisture levels, you or your loved one won’t have to worry about trekking downstairs to deal with the next flood or leak.
Home Repair for Senior Citizens: Free Inspections by Groundworks
At Groundworks, we believe that every homeowner should be empowered with the knowledge of what’s negatively affecting their homes. That’s why we don’t charge for foundation, crawl space, basement, or concrete inspections. Our experts are from your community and know how to properly diagnose the true source of the problem signs you’re facing.
The Groundworks Experience
At Groundworks, we’re not just a foundation company. We prioritize your comfort and want to empower you to make the best decision for your home. Before an inspection, you can expect to hear from us through phone or email with information on who exactly is coming to you. Our team of professionals treats your home as their own and cleans up their workspace after inspections or installations. Hear from other Groundworks customers happy with our service.
It’s our ultimate philosophy to do the job the right way, once, so you can enjoy your home in peace. Our flexible financing plans and long-term warranties also ensure that your investment keeps on giving. Start your journey to a safer home with Groundworks today.