When you're shopping for a home, you have to be careful that you don't inadvertently end up buying someone else's problems. Few home construction problems are as serious as a weak or damaged foundation. Missing a foundation problem in a home that you're considering could end up costing you thousands of dollars. And sometimes these problems are easy to miss. Your natural instinct may be to look at the foundation, where you may or may not be able to see evidence of a problem. However, there are other clues that can give you a better idea of whether or not you need to worry about the foundation.
As you're touring the house, take the time to open and shut every door. Does the door move smoothly, or does the bottom of it scrape across the floor? Does the door line up properly with the door frame? Does it shut and open with ease, or do you have to apply force?
A door that doesn't hang properly could be the result of poor door hanging by the homeowner, but it could also be a sign that the foundation is in trouble. The problem may be present in all the doors, but it also may show up only in some, or one. Either way, door trouble merits closer foundation investigation.
Make sure that when you're touring the house, you take the time to look up. It's common to spend too much time looking down at things like carpet or flooring, cabinets, pipes, and molding, and not enough time looking up at the walls and ceilings. But it's above your head where you're most likely to see worrisome cracks, or signs of recent crack repair.
Cracks in the ceiling, in the drywall, and above the walls and doors tell a story. Most often, it's a story about a foundation that's settling or sinking. The homeowner may tell you that these are merely cosmetic issues – and they may believe that – but you shouldn't accept that explanation without proof that the cracks are not caused by the foundation shifting.
That Sinking Feeling
Do you know that feeling that you get when you walk through a carnival fun house? It's a little like butterflies in your stomach, and can leave you somewhat unbalanced. You may have that same feeling when walking through a house with a slanted foundation, even if you don't detect any visible problems.
This happens because your body is used to walking on a flat foundation, and it can tell when you're walking on a slope instead. If you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, pay attention!
Whether it's doors that don't close properly, cracks in the ceiling, or just a funny feeling, it's worth having a foundation expert check out the home before you buy it. Even if you're mistaken, the opinion of a contractor will cost you a lot less than finding out later that you're stuck with a sinking house. It's worth the expense to ensure that you aren't buying a lemon. For more information, call in a professional like Spiers Construction.Share