Problems Down Under? Dealing with a Foundation Problem

Friday, February 14th, 2020


Dealing with a leak inside your home is never fun. To really stop a leak, you need to know where it’s coming from. Unfortunately, the untrained eye can’t always tell. Foundation leaks, in particular, are difficult to identify because they look so much like basement leaks. How, then, can you determine whether it’s your basement or foundation that’s leaking? Once you’ve figured it out, what can you do to keep your home stable and healthy?

Damp basement can lead to foundation problems

Why is Your Foundation Leaking?

Sometimes, malfunctions inside your home can trigger a foundation leak. Your foundation is likely to develop a crack if your interior pipes are leaking, for example.

Other times, it’s external events or influences that allow water into your home. Did you plant a tree too close to the perimeter of your home? Is the weather changing at an unusually fast pace? Tree roots will move your foundation around, whereas abrupt changes in the weather will place an excessive amount of stress on the material making up your foundation.

Unfortunately, there are times when leaks are more severe and yet aren’t the fault of anything inside or outside of your home. In these situations, the structure of your home may be the source of your problems. If a contractor used green wood for your home supports, you may quickly notice your walls bowing due to a foundation leak. Likewise, foundations made out of brick and concrete often fall victim to extreme stress when they haven’t been waterproofed.

Finally, note that extreme weather conditions can cause even the sturdiest of foundations to leak. While North Carolina isn’t a hot spot for earthquakes, excessive flooding can still force cracks to appear in your foundation.

What Are the Symptoms of a Foundation Leak?

Basement leaks and foundation leaks look similar at first. More often than not, you’ll need to bring in a contractor to help you determine the origin of your leak. If you do suspect it’s your foundation that may be leaking, inspect the inside of your home first. Some of the most common signs of a foundation leak include:

  • Gaps between the walls and your foundation
  • Vertical interior cracks
  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Cooler temperatures
  • Infestations

If you can’t spot any symptoms inside your home, head outdoors and inspect your perimeter. You’ll be able to tell if your foundation is leaking if you can spot:

  • Cracks in your chimney
  • Cracks along your foundation
  • Visible porch or home sinkage

A foundation leak can compromise the structural integrity of your entire home, so don’t wait to reach out to a professional if you spot these symptoms. The faster you act, the more money you’ll save on repairs and the better off your home will be.

Can You Sell a Home with a Foundation Leak?

What happens if you discover a foundation leak right before you put your house on the market? The good news is that you can sell a home with a history of foundation leaks. There are, however, two ways you can approach the situation.

If you’re not interested in spending money to waterproof your foundation, you can always sell your home as-is, noting its history in your pitch. However, in doing so you risk losing upwards of 30 percent of your home’s value.

Alternatively, you can fix and waterproof your foundation, then list your home for its full value. This way, you’ll be able to break even on your sale, even though you’ll have spent some extra money up front.

The choice is yours when it comes to selling a home with foundation issues. If you’re wondering which path will serve you best, you can always reach out to a local North Carolina contractor for an inspection of your foundation and quote for possible repairs.

How Can You Waterproof Your Foundation?

If you want to waterproof your foundation, you can easily reach out to a local contractor to rid your home of water.

  • Waterproof insulation – If you’re only dealing with a minor leak, you can insulate your basement with waterproof insulation. While a temporary solution, the insulation will drive water away from any belongings you have stored and keep your basement dry.
  • French drains – For more severe leaks, consider installing a French drain. These drains collect and redirect water away from your home.
  • Sump pumps – Like French drains, sump pumps actively move water away from your home. Any water collected by the interior French drainage system is directed to the sump pump system and then pumped out of and away from the home.
  • Sealants – You can also take advantage of temporary sealants while looking for ways to waterproof your foundation. These sealants are not permanent solutions and will need to be applied on a yearly basis, but they’ll serve as chemical barriers designed to keep water out of your house.
  • Dehumidifiers – Dehumidifiers actively draw dampness out of the air and convert that moisture back into its liquid form. While not great for excessive flooding, installing a dehumidifier will help you stay on top of any dampness that might evolve into a more substantial leak later down the line. They also improve the overall air quality of your home and help curb mold growth.

Ready to reclaim your home? If you think your foundation may be leaking, reach out to a North Carolina contractor for a free inspection and repair quote.