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Signs of Foundation Issues

If you’re looking to buy a new property either for investing or living in, one of the most costly and at times irreparable issues is anything to do with the foundation.  The base on which your house is built – it’s almost impossible to get to and if it’s mid house, near impossible to repair.  So, we’re going to tell you what to look for when you’re on the hunt for a new home.



Any type of cracks in the house is a good indicator of either foundation moving a lot or that something is wrong with the walls themselves.  Pay particular attention to cracks throughout the foundation as these can widen over time and open up cracks all over your house.  If there is substantial cracking throughout the foundation it might pay to have a building inspector come and take a look to make sure they’re just from the foundation settling, or a much more sinister issue like water undermining or the soil is shifting.



Foundations generally will sink a little bit initially but if the foundation has continued to sink, over time you could experience major issues, particularly if it’s on one side of the house.  Cracks opening up in the floors and walls can be strong indicators but also if there’s a noticeable drop in part of the house that would obviously be a strong indication that it will continue to do so and be an absolute pain to repair.



The opposite of sinking which can occur if the soil moves around a lot during the winter months. Clay type soils tend to do this.  Or there is a leak under the slab which has caused excessive moisture to build in the soil.  A good indicator of this is doors sticking or columns and fireplaces looking either off kilter or lifted.  Cold areas, particularly areas that freeze overnight are a strong candidate for foundation upheaval as the frost can expand any moisture even further.


Sticky Doors

If you’re walking around a newish home and you notice that any of the doors are sticky or hard to latch it’s generally from foundation movement and not shoddy workmanship.  Particularly pay attention to exterior doors as they would be the ones able to tell you a thing or two, rather than interior doors that are generally looser fitting.


Gaps around portals

If there are gaps around any exterior door or window frames this is a strong indicator that there is something wrong with the foundation, excessive movement of the foundation tends to knock plaster loose around the exterior doors and windows and will show gaps, if there’s any breeze coming through I would strongly suggest to have an inspector go over the property.



If you are looking at an older home with a pier and beam construction, the wooden floors will generally sag and bow a little over time but if the sagging seems excessive and is noticeable underfoot, it could be due to poor timber or the foundations could be shifting.



Another indicator in older homes is to have a look at the crawl space if possible, any dampness under the floors could lead to greater issues down the track as dampness can damage any foundation areas.


Cupboards and Cabinets

If you notice the fitted cupboards and cabinets are coming away from the wall, this is another example of the foundation shifting excessively over time and that can cause huge issues down the track.



If you notice any salt around the edges of the foundation or the concrete paths around the house, this is a strong indicator that there’s too much moisture in the ground around the foundation and if left, will become a major issue and could potentially erode the foundation and work its way in to the brick work, it’s like concrete cancer.  Salt damp is a massive issue and will potentially cost thousands to have repaired down the track.


If you’re buying your first home, or an investment property you want it to hold up and be as structurally sound for as long as possible. These are just a few of the major things that are could be immediately visible to you as you’re inspecting a prospective property.  But as always you should do your own research on a property, some of these things might not be as bad as you think, some could be much worse.

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