You know that providing a strong foundation for your family is important, but what about the foundation of your home? Ignoring foundation, concrete and crawl space issues in your home can lead to health and safety issues for you and your family. Sydney Blake, co-owner of Vesta Foundation Solutions, said foundation and concrete issues can create tripping hazards and other safety concerns. For instance, if there is a lip on the pool deck, the concrete could cause you or your child to fall or a wall could even collapse. Symptoms to un-kept crawl spaces can include allergies and asthma.
“If your crawl space begins to rot, grow mold or experience structural problems, this will extend to every part of your home. Crawl space repair will help you avoid unnecessary repairs, create a healthier living space and save money on your utility bills,” Blake said. “Many homeowners don’t know if they have foundation problems, these all are things that can just be part of the background and are not always noticeable to someone that is in the home every day.”
How do you know if you might have a foundation or crawl space issue? Here is a checklist of clues to look for:
- Cracks on exterior of the home: near corners, around entry doors or windows.
- Interior cracks in the sheetrock.
- Patio, pool decks, driveways and sidewalks where the concrete is not level.
- Ledges or trip hazards in the slab patios, sidewalks, driveways or pool decks around your home exceeding one inch.
- Relative humidity in the crawl space above 60 percent.
- Any outside cracks exceeding the thickness of a credit card (cracks in mortar or bricks).
- Musty odors if you have a crawl space.
- Mold growing in closets.
Blake suggests homeowners walk the property at least once a month looking at every component of the home, checking doors and windows, looking at the siding and noting any cracks or loose bricks. Taking notes and pictures helps assess how things are progressing.
“These are great ways to spot small problems before they become larger,” Blake said.
What will happen if you don’t repair your foundation right away?
“Foundation repair is in that category of problems that do not simply go away by ignoring it,” she explained. “Problems will be minor at first like the binding doors and windows, however over time entire walls can fail and collapse.”
Selling a home with foundation issues can present problems, too. Blake explained homeowners may have to lower the price or have the foundation repaired before selling.
“Some potential buyers will not even make an offer for a home with foundation problems,” she said.
You may wonder if Oklahoma weather and earthquakes can be the blame of your foundation problems. The size of recent earthquakes can cause damage to every home in Oklahoma, but Blake said it is more likely that soil is the true culprit.
“Oklahoma soil is a type of red clay that is in many parts of the country and this clay absorbs water during rain then dries up during times of drought,” she said. “This constant expansion and contraction year after year can take its toll on every foundation in the state.”
If you suspect your home may have foundation, concrete or crawl space issues, it is important to contact a professional for help. Blake advised that you do not attempt repair on your own.
What should you look for when considering a contractor? Here are tips from Vesta Foundation Solutions:
- Find a contractor with a good reputation. If your friends or family are not able to refer anyone, check online reviews like Google. Even if there are unsavory reviews (we are all human and not perfect), check to see if the company responded to any complaints or mistakes.
- Make sure you use a company that is properly insured. Check warranties and proposals to see if you as the customer is protected in certain events. Also, check the proposals for hidden fees that will add to your entire project. Warranties are another item that are there to protect your investment as a customer. Warranties provide peace of mind for any future problems so be sure to understand the full warranty of any contractor you may use.
- It’s okay to ask questions! And be sure to get all answers in writing.
- Get several estimates. These types of projects are not like buying something at the local grocery store or department store. Get at least three estimates and then compare every finding and feeling you receive from the company. While going with the cheapest solution sometimes seems like the best choice, remember that you get what you pay for.
If you think your home is in need of repair, don’t wait. Vesta Foundation Solutions is an award-winning contractor and William and Sydney Blake have been helping customers for years. As their mission statement states, "Vesta Foundation Solutions believes in preserving the homes of Oklahoma in order to invest in the community and the future of the state." For more information on foundation, concrete and crawl space issues, feel free to contact Vesta Foundation Solutions at vestafoundationsolutions.com or call 405-698-1109.