Weekly Series 1: Sinking or Settling Foundation

We’re kicking off our Weekly Series of “The 7 Most Painfully Expensive Home Repairs to Avoid.”

Today we cover “Sinking or Settling Foundation.”

Homelight | Jan 28, 2021

The average homeowner spent a total of $4,832 on routine and emergency home repairs in 2019. However, some of the most expensive home repairs have the ability to wipe out your entire yearly maintenance savings and then some.

On top of being pricey, major problems like pest infections and structural instability can make your home difficult to market and sell, not to mention tank your property value. With this guide, real estate experts identify the worst home repairs for your wallet and offer expert insights into preventive maintenance and early detection.


Sinking or settling foundation ($4,000-$10,000)

Your foundation serves as the base for your entire home. It needs to be in solid condition for the rest of your house to remain structurally sound. If it becomes damaged, the issue can spread and compromise almost any other part of the home in the form of jammed doors or sinking or uneven floors.

One of the most common foundation problems you can encounter is settling. Any foundation is going to settle gradually over time. However, trouble arises when there are drastic or sudden shifts in soil moisture levels, which can put pressure on the foundation and cause it to crack.

Here’s a summarized example provided by Family Waterproofing Solutions serving Illinois and Indiana for 25 years: Let’s say your house was built during the rainy season when the soil was damp and swollen. A few years later there’s a drought and the soil dramatically retracts. Because the soil wasn’t properly prepared at the time of the build, the house plunges five inches downward, damaging the foundation in the process.

Estimated cost to repair: 

  • Average foundation repair: $4,488
  • Minor cracks: $500
  • Major foundation repair (involving hydraulic piers): $10,000

(Source: HomeAdvisor, project costs reported by 3,102 HomeAdvisor members)

Key prevention tactics: You need to catch and fix foundation problems early on or they will only get more expensive to repair. “Check for cracks in brick or block foundations. If the crack is small and runs in a straight line, it could be settling,” advises Ray Kennamer, a general contractor of nearly 25 years in Albertville, Alabama.

If you suspect a foundation issue, a professional can help identify and diagnose it. Most likely, they will fill in any cracks with a cement mixture and install drainage solutions to halt the changes in moisture levels. Your foundation will thank you for it!

Warning signs:

  • Foundation cracks that grow longer and wider over time
  • Cracked or bowing walls
  • Fractures above windows or door frames
  • Doors or windows that stick
  • Uneven floors

Who to call for help:  Call CA Real Estate Group at (714) 476-4637 for our preferred foundation experts or search the Foundation Repair Network to find a local professional who can inspect and make recommendations for foundation repair.


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