Foundation issues can be a nightmare for property owners. While some are harmless, others can be structural and financial disasters. Some foundation issues may even indicate serious construction defects—defects in the property that were caused by negligent construction techniques.
Part of what makes foundation issues so daunting is just how big they can seem. After all, they affect the fundamental structure of your property. There are a few key things that you should know when addressing foundation defects.
Beware the warning signs
If you suspect that your property’s foundation has serious flaws, the first step is to check for a few common warning signs. Some issues that may appear severe at first glance, like fine cracks in cement flooring, may be minimal. But others are serious red flags. Are the doors and windows misaligned for no apparent reason? Is it suddenly difficult to open and close them? Cracks in the floor and ceiling of the drywall as well as the exterior concrete could also be significant. Sloping floors and staircases may be indicators that there is a pitch in the foundation. If these issues are plaguing your building, its foundation may be in peril.
Buying and selling
Foundation issues do not necessarily need to scare you off from a house. Many buyers worry that if a building has foundation issues, it will become a messy money pit. And many sellers are concerned that no one will buy their property if its foundation has flaws. Foundation issues do not necessarily mean that a building is kaput. In many situations, it is possible to hire a reputable contractor or construction firm to correct the issues. As a seller, you must disclose any major foundation issues; as a buyer, you must perform due diligence alongside your attorney.
Detect the defect
In some cases, foundation issues may be the result of a construction defect. A construction defect occurs when one of the parties that was responsible for building or designing the house acted negligently, resulting in a costly defect. Foundational defects may be caused by shoddy design, inefficient materials, poor construction or even soil conditions. If you and your attorney can demonstrate to a court that another party is at fault for the defect, you may receive compensation for the damages.