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Foundation Problems in Old Homes

While historical homes hold an individual charm and a handcrafted nature, that same nature can lead to many foundation problems in the future. As a home grows older, structural issues become more imminent.

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Homes often hold sentimental value for their owners and families, especially when a home has been around for many decades. At Groundworks, we know the importance of an older home can’t be overstated. However, older homes are highly susceptible to foundation damage due to their age.  

In this article, we will highlight common foundation problems that older homes experience and offer our solutions to each problem. With modern techniques, you can preserve the historical beauty of your home! 

What Constitutes an “Old Home”? 

In real estate terms, any home that is more than 50 years old can be considered an old home. Homes built before 1920 are sometimes referred to as antiques. Many factors can affect the status of an older home’s foundation including building materials, weather patterns, and foundation type.  

No matter the age of your home, our team of foundation specialists is equipped with any of the tools necessary for foundation repair. Groundworks has been providing quality service for thousands of homeowners across the United States since 2016, and our business only continues to grow – as well as our capacity to help people preserve their homes.  

Foundation Problems to Look Out For 

All homes, no matter their age, can be affected by foundation issues. However, older homes are always at greater risk of experiencing foundation damage. Here’s what to look out for if you or a loved one is living in a home over 50 years old.  

Uneven Floors 

Over time, foundations settle into the soil for a variety of reasons. Settlement almost always leads to uneven floors in your home. Uneven floors can affect ease-of-access for older adults, especially those with restrains to their mobility. Depending on the craftsmanship of your home’s floor, it may begin to become uneven sooner rather than later.  

Be aware of overly creaky floors, or doors that don’t shut as easily. You may even notice sections of your floor becoming saggy or bending under your weight if your home is resting atop a damaged crawl space. While uneven floors are not exclusive to foundation damage, it’s always wise to call a foundation specialist to determine whether or not your foundation is causing the issue.  

Cracked Walls 

Wall cracks are more often than not a sign of foundation damage. Cracks can occur on both interior and exterior walls. Since walls rely on the foundation for much of their support, and settlement is going to cause cracks to form.  

Regarding interior cracks, be on the lookout for cracks above doorways and windows, as these sections of the wall tend to be weaker. Exterior wall cracks usually take the form of a stair-step pattern, especially if your home is made of stone or brick. As the mortar separates between individual blocks, it creates a stair-like pattern.  

Even if wall cracks appear small at first, they will only grow bigger as the foundation continues to settle. We want to keep your home safe and intact, so we recommend you call a foundation specialist immediately if you notice wall cracks of any kind.  

Cracks in Concrete 

While concrete is an extremely tough building material, time and natural processes can cause damage to it. Concrete slabs and driveways are no exception. Rain, snow, wind, and heat can all contribute to concrete’s longevity.  

As weather affects the soil and causes erosion, your concrete eventually suffers. When soil becomes weakened, it can no longer support the weight of concrete. Even a home built with the best craftsmanship of the era cannot defend against the effects of time. More exposure to weather means your concrete is bound to crack at some point. 

Cracked slabs lead to uneven floors and cracked driveways can become a tripping hazard for grandchildren and other members of your family. Plus, a cracked driveway has a chance of damaging vehicles as they pull into and away from your home.  

Leaks 

Perhaps the number one enemy to any foundation type is water. While rain can certainly act as a major source of water, leaks around an older home can also contribute to foundation damage. As pipes grow older, they become weaker.  

Look for water stains on your basement walls or floor. Concrete slabs may crack as water penetrates the soil below them, and crawl spaces may experience wood rot if a pipe is leaking below your home. Another indication of a leaky pipe is a musty smell throughout the home since increased moisture can lead to mold growth.  

Furthermore, since pipe are often installed close to foundations, anything that causes foundation damage can potentially lead to leaky pipes (which only leads to more of the problems listed above). Even if you’ve fixed a leaky pipe with a plumber, it’s good practice to contact a foundation repair specialist to make sure your foundation has not been affected by water.  

Keeping Your Home Safe 

While all of these issues may sound unavoidable, there are plenty of solutions to protect your aging home from damage. Groundworks uses modern foundation repair techniques that provide permanent solutions to virtually any foundation problem. Options include: 

These are just some of the tools our team of experts uses to keep your foundation functioning like new. Plus, our team always has a representative ready to take your call and answer any concerns or questions you may have about or products or process.  

  • Polyurethane injection 
  • Wall anchors 
  • Support piers 
  • Encapsulation 

When our team is on-site, we treat your home like it’s our own, taking care to clean up completely after the job is finished and make sure your landscaping stays undisturbed. To learn more about Groundworks or to schedule a FREE inspection, contact us today! 

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