Should I do foundation repairs now or later? What is the worst that could happen if we never do foundation repairs? Should I wait, and what happens if I do wait on foundation repairs? Why can’t I make the right decision? I definitely don’t want to make the wrong decision.
Sounds like you’re wrestling a big ol’ thought alligator about if and when to do foundation repairs . . . Instead of spending your energy going round and round in overwhelming scenario spirals, let’s see if we can help you make some logical sense of this decision for your home.
We are Anchor Foundation Repair. We have been inspecting and repairing Brazos Valley foundations for 35+ years and 2 generations. I am Craig Tripp, the second-generation owner, and I have repaired more than 1,000 homes and personally inspected more than 10,000 homes. Chances are, I have come across a homeowner with your same concerns.
You might think that as a foundation repair contractor, we would always say, “Do the repairs.” But we are not like other companies, I would much rather wait until the time is 100% right for the homeowner versus rushing in to repair without you being on board.
I have heard all the fears, worries, and questions from homeowners about foundation repair ifs and whens. We can explore your options in an orderly way so that you can organize your thoughts and decide what is best for you moving forward.
What happens if I never do foundation repairs? 3 Possibilities
I can say with total confidence that one of three things will happen if you never do foundation repairs. Let’s think logically about the possibilities here so you can start to see what makes the most sense for you.
1. Your home might be happy where it is and never move again.
Foundation settlement is a process where your home is trying to find a place to rest on your property. It’s trying to “settle in” and get comfortable in its spot. Maybe your home is already done doing that stuff. It could never move again.
Example Scenario of a Home That Likely Won’t Move Again
Let’s say you have an older home that you have lived in for a long time. Some signs of foundation settlement have always been there: the length of cracks hasn’t changed much, and the doors fit the same as usual. In this case, it is entirely possible that your home may never move again.
When a foundation inspection takes place, the repair contractor can only see that day’s snapshot of your home’s current condition. Unfortunately, inspectors don’t have Magic 8 Balls for foundation repair that tell them your home will never move again.
So there’s no way to know if this is absolutely true for your home. We can’t predict the future any better than anyone else so there is certainly a chance that nothing more will happen to your home.
I also don’t hear about when this happens either. Folks don’t usually call me back and tell me they don’t need me for some reason. So I can only assume that it does happen occasionally.
2. Your home might continue to settle and get worse.
Not only is your home trying to “settle in” and get comfy, but it’s also trying to “settle down” and stop moving. But in our Central Texas expansive clay soils, it might never find that place because of the very nature of expansive soils.
Foundation problems come from foundation settlement and also from the behavior of expansive clay soils along with our inconsistent moisture conditions in the climate. The earth around your home is like a living system adjusting and readjusting all the time. This means that settlement and movement can continue to happen and cause further foundation issues for your home.
There are symptoms of foundation problems, how many of these do you have in your home? Things like diagonal wall cracks, doors that don’t latch or close properly, and stair-step brick cracks are all true signs of foundation issues. Certain plumbing issues can also signal foundation problems.
Example Scenario of a Home Where Indicators Point to Continued Movement
It has been a rainy spring and the ground has been saturated for a while. You notice that your exterior doors are a little off, are seeing the telltale cracks in brick, and see brick separating from window frames. In a case like this, it is reasonable to believe that as the rains go away and things dry out that the home will move and settle more.
There’s no way to know how much worse your foundation settlement or problems could get though. We still can’t predict the future so there is certainly the risk of things getting worse. There is no California Psychics for Foundation Repair hotline to call and get your answer.
We don’t know if it will for sure get worse. We only know that expansive soil is expansive and it is going to keep on being expansive no matter what. So the chances are much higher for this possibility than the other two.
3. Your home might rebound and get better.
Things can always get better. I mean, optimists seem to think so anyway. Since homes can move seasonally based on moisture levels, the weather could be especially wet one year and cause a few issues. Or it could be exceedingly dry one year and create a problem that rectifies itself the next year when it’s not so dry.
Doors that do not close or latch properly are a likely symptom to happen this way. Here is another scenario that could play out in your home.
Example Scenario of a Home That Rebounds
Let’s say it’s the end of a hot and really dry summer and you notice some true signs of a foundation problem like the diagonal wall cracks. But as the season turns to fall and winter, the house rebounds and improves due to some increased moisture in the weather patterns.
It’s possible that something could randomly get out of whack one season and then get corrected the following year due to weather changes. But there’s no way to predict this even with the most fantastic weatherman on the planet. Nobody can predict these things with certainty.
All I can tell you is that we do run across a handful of homes each year that rebound and the foundation settlement conditions seem to improve on their own.
Can you predict which possibility is likely with your foundation?
Did you happen to notice a pattern with all of these possibilities? In case you missed it, here it is. We really can’t predict the future. If we could, we probably wouldn’t be in the foundation repair business, we would probably be betting on sporting event outcomes in Las Vegas or playing the stock market. . .
It’s a little bit funny how often a homeowner thinks I am the “fortune teller of foundations,” but I honestly can’t promise that your home will or will not move more later on. There’s just no telling. So like the stock market, past performance does not guarantee future results. There are many factors at play in a settling home that we can’t know what will happen to any given home foundation.
But when you were reading the scenarios above, which one sounded like the most likely possibility to you? Was there one that sounded the most like your home? Which one would you bet on if you were in Vegas?
Is it safe to wait until later to do foundation repairs?
Even though we don’t know if your house will move again in the future or not, we do know that while you are waiting to decide on things you are safe. Many homeowners ask if foundation problems are dangerous to live with, as in, “Will my house fall over on top of me?”
We have a few different types of foundations in this area of Central Texas. Slab-on-grade foundations are the most common, followed by pier and beam foundations. In these kinds of foundations, there is rarely a home so unsafe that it becomes unlivable.
We have only seen two or three homes out of tens of thousands that were a danger to live in without foundation repair. In these instances, it was a catastrophic one-time weather event that led to the issue. The other 99.65% of homes we have inspected were not going to fall in and homeowners were safe to wait on getting foundation repairs done when they were ready.
We have an article entitled, “Is it Safe to Live In a Home With Foundation Problems or Settlement?” that gives more information on this topic if you want further explanation on why we say it’s safe to wait.
Do I need to do foundation repair right now or not?
Deciding to do foundation repair now vs. later vs. never is often a matter of readiness and feeling over necessity. You want to be ready financially and also have the time to deal with a repair project going on at your home. Those are just a few of the reasons people might wait to do foundation repairs.
On the other hand, dealing with the foundation problem now might make sense if you are more worried about causing further and more extensive damage to your home. One of the other reasons not to wait is that the price of the project can rise because of material and labor costs going up.
Sometimes, it’s very clear that you need to do the work right away. Like if your plumbing drain lines are backing up into your home because of a foundation issue. Or maybe both of your exterior doors aren’t working right and you have trouble getting into or out of the house.
Most of the time though, it’s about feeling ready to get your house looking good and working properly because you are tired of the problems and want to get them handled.
In other words:
- If you are feeling like it’s not that big of a deal just yet, wait on it.
- If the symptoms are not bothering you too much right now, take your time.
- If you want to see how your home behaves next season, it’s okay to wait.
- If you have a big functionality problem like plumbing, get it fixed now.
- If you are ready to deal with the financial and time commitments, get started.
- If you are worried that it will get worse and cause more expensive problems, fix it.
- If you just can’t stand these issues and your OCD is on overdrive, get it fixed now.
If you wait long enough, I suppose it becomes a “never.” Keep in mind that if you plan to sell your home one day or even remodel it, foundation repair might need to be brought back onto the table.
While you are waiting to decide on foundation repair . . .
There are things you can do while you are waiting to feel the *foundation repair spirits* telling you to act. One is the use of tick marks or wall markings to help you watch for foundation movement throughout the year so that you can observe your home’s behavior. During an In-Home Assessment with Anchor Foundation Repair, we can show you how this is done and how to “mark and monitor” for movement.
More importantly, you can also “save and pray” for the potential repair project. So feel free to start saving money to go towards the cost of foundation repairs. Then, pray that your home stabilizes and stops moving.
If it doesn’t stop moving, you will likely begin to feel the need to act on foundation repairs. By starting to save now, you put yourself in a proactive position to pay for the foundation repair down the line.
*Bonus* Even if later on you decide not to do this work (or your home rebounds or doesn’t seem to be moving any longer), there will be a stockpile of savings waiting there for something else.
How much should I plan to save up for foundation repair?
When I was talking about “saving and praying,” you were probably thinking, “Um, well, how much should I save?” Good question.
A major factor in the cost of foundation repairs lies in the method used for the repair. In the Bryan-College Station area, you have two choices in foundation repair methods:
- pressed piles, or
- drilled bell-bottom piers.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we only use the bell-bottom pier method of foundation repair and have been doing so for 35+ years in the community. But to give you the best perspective on the choices you have in foundation repair methods and costs, we think you should look at both to decide what works best for you and the goals of your home.
To start with exploring the cost of foundation repair so you know how much to save up, check out this article about pressed pile pricing, “How Much Does Home Foundation Repair Cost? Concrete Pressed Pile Method.”