Renovating a house should follow a definite plan of sequential steps. When you buy a home that's a fixer-upper, you should do so with the understanding that you will own a house but you will live on a construction site…
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Do you have foundation issues?
Okay, maybe the above photo is a bit extreme. Most foundation problems are far less evident unless they’re neglected over an extended period of time.
A potential foundation problem is always one of the first things savvy Dallas Fort-Worth home buyers look out for while house hunting. The clay soil in North Central Texas contracts and expands depending on the amount of rain the Metroplex receives, and that soil movement can lead to cracks in foundations.
Virtually every home that is more than a few years old will have minor cracks in the foundation. It’s simply the norm for buildings in the Dallas area. Most cracks in slab foundations occur around the home’s edges, and most of these are not going to cause significant problems.
The key is whether the cracks are leading to significant foundation problems that will affect the home later on. There are several warning signs that your foundation may be in need of help.
Sticking windows or doors. Windows that can’t be raised could be a sign that the foundation has shifted. Doors and windows will no longer be square and may not close properly. Check all the door and window frames for cracks.
Cracks in the interior walls and chimney. Inspect all the places where the walls and ceiling meet, looking for cracks. Also take note if there are cracks in a chimney or fireplace.
Popping nails. Nails that pop out of Sheetrock may be another indication that the foundation has shifted. Cracks can cause gypsum board to separate. Can you see daylight around the bottom of the walls in the garage?
Some signs of a foundation that needs repair are evident from the outside. Check to see if the chimney is listing or if there are stair-step cracks in the mortar around bricks. Also notice if there are large cracks around the concrete outside the home. Another indicator can be soil separation around the foundation.
If you have any of these indicators, it’s a good idea to call a local structural engineer and get a professional opinion.
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