Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?

Foundation repairs usually have very high costs, that can go from a few dollars to inject epoxy in a wall affected by hydrostatic pressure, or installing a vapor barrier, to replacing completely the sill plate, to the installation of helical piers, a preferred option to concrete footings or push piers, but quite expensive for the pockets of the homeowner.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Your homeowners’ policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake, or routine wear and tear.”

Cause of Foundation DamageDoes Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?
Soil expansion and contractionNo
Construction defectsNo, but you have a builder warranty.
Explosion, fire, broken plumbing, wind damage, leaking water heaterYes
Earthquakes, flooding, sewer backupsNo, these perils require supplemental coverage
Foundation settlementNo
Poor drainage and soil erosionNo
Tree rootsNo
General wear and tearNo

In contrast to other areas of your house, foundation damage is often explicitly excluded from standard homeowner’s insurance policies.

Depending on the cause of the damage, you may or may not be eligible for coverage. The foundation in your house, as well as every other part of the house, is subject to wear and tear over the years. There can be problems with foundations over time that cause them to settle, crack and lose their ability to contain water. It is not uncommon for homeowners to encounter these problems. They are part and parcel of owning a home. As time moves on, all homes need to be maintained. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover the cost of normal routine maintenance or repairs.

In the event that your foundation is damaged as a result of a sudden, accidental event, such as a giant tree falling on your house or a truck hitting it, your home insurance should cover the damage. Additionally, there are policies that can provide coverage for damage caused by floods and earthquakes. In the event that one of these events occurs, your foundation may be covered by your insurance if you fall victim to one of these perils.

An earthquake or flood can damage your house and its foundation, but adding extra coverage may provide peace of mind. Most insurers offer this protection in the form of separate policies for earthquakes and floods; it is an easy way to ensure that even if one disaster strikes there will still be stability at home

The most common causes of foundation damage are usually not covered by many insurance policies (see table in this article). Some examples include soil expansion and contraction or poor construction, so it is important to check with your provider before starting any major renovations in order to avoid furthering degradation on an already weak spot that can lead to ruinous flooding conditions for homes with soggy basements.

Concrete foundations often suffer from cracks, settlement, and other forms of damage which may lead to major repairs for homeowners. You may need to pay for foundation repairs ranging from about $1,500-$15,000 depending upon how severe the problem is (See: Foundation Repair Cost article). If you believe your home owner’s insurance company will pay for repairs, then you may find yourself in for a rude awakening when they don’t cover it.

If you wish to make sure that your house will be safe from seismic events and floods, then you might need to get more earthquake and flood protection measures installed. Most insurers offer this benefit either as part of their homeowners’ insurance policy or as a standalone policy.

It may take some time before you can identify the true source of your foundation problem. It can be helpful to contact an expert for advice when dealing with issues like this. They will not only tell you why it happened but may even suggest ways for preventing similar issues from happening again. In addition, they’ll provide proof for any claims you make against an insurer.

The best solution and the cheapest one is to prevent issues from happening and never have the requirement to do a foundation repair and afford its costs, is to perform a yearly foundation inspection in which you will suggest to the structural engineer what to check, along with the checklist that is usually included therein.

Named Perils In Homeowners Insurance For Foundation Repair Costs

If you have a named perils homeowners policy, your home is protected from those scenarios that are explicitly listed in the contract. If your foundation is damaged due to any of those specified events, repairs to the foundation will likely be covered by your policy.

If you have an open perils policy, you’re protected from all incidents except those that are explicitly mentioned. If your foundation is damaged due to any event except those listed, your insurance will probably cover it.

Therefore, an insured who experiences a loss or damage caused by a flood cannot file a claim to his or her insurance provider, as a flood is not named as a peril under the insurance coverage. Under a named perils policy, the burden of proof is on the insured.

In both cases, your homeowners insurance will not cover foundation problems as a result of policyholder negligence,

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?

The Coverage A section of your home insurance policy protects the actual structure of your home, including your foundation. If your policy is based on the ISO Broad Form (HO-2), you only get protection against the covered perils specifically named in your policy.

Dwelling coverage, also known as dwelling insurance or Coverage A, is the part of your homeowners insurance that helps pay to rebuild or repair the physical structure of your house in the event it’s damaged by a covered peril, like a fire, windstorm, or a lightning strike, falling trees, and a sudden and accidental water damage event.

Your homeowners insurance protects your home in the case of certain covered perils. So if a fire burns your house and belongings, for example, your homeowners’ insurance steps in to help pay for the structure and contents.

If your foundation is damaged by one of the covered perils in your policy, your homeowners insurance will usually help pay to fix it—like it would for any other part of the structure under your dwelling coverage.

Along with covering the structure of the home, dwelling insurance also covers built-in systems and appliances (like your water heater, HVAC, and plumbing) as well as attached structures (like your garage or porch).

Generally, foundation cracks or settling aren’t covered by your homeowners policy. Your home’s foundation is protected under your policy’s dwelling coverage, but only for certain perils/events. Most policies cover damage due to sudden and unexpected events like severe windstorms or fire, but won’t cover damage that falls under the umbrella of routine home maintenance.

The dwelling coverage limit in your policy should be equal to your home’s replacement cost, or the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your house at the current prices construction and labor. For an accurate rebuild estimate, consider a replacement cost appraisal or use a dwelling coverage calculator.

Your homeowners insurance policy will list every hazard that your insurer will cover. To see if your home’s foundation damage is covered, you’ll want to check the “dwelling” portion of your policy coverage form.

So if your foundation issue was caused by something listed in your policy, your insurer will likely help foot the bill for repairs. If not, you’re going to be on your own.

Any damage to your foundation is covered unless your policy explicitly excludes it. That may seem confusing. To make it clearer, picture that there are two types of risk events: those your homeowners insurance company ‘accepts’ and those it ‘rejects’. The ones your company ‘accepts’, like tornadoes and fires, will be covered should they wreck your home. The events your company generally rejects, such as earthquakes and floods, are considered ‘too risky’, so your company won’t take responsibility for damages caused. For your foundation repairs to be covered by insurance, they have to be caused by an event your company ‘accepts’. Events homeowners policies generally cover that could cause foundation damage are:

Events that are covered by most home insurance policies

  • Lightning or fire
  • Windstorm
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Explosions
  • Riots or civil disturbances
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Collapse weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Water damage from plumbing, heating, or A.C. overflow
  • Leaking water heater that caused an event in the foundation covered by the policy and that requires repairs.

If any of the above caused your foundation damage, then you can file a claim for your insurance company to reimburse you for the repairs.

Cases When Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Foundation Repairs?

Some people assume that they get homeowners foundation protection from their insurer after any natural disaster. But that’s not the case. In fact, almost all home policies specifically exclude two of the natural disasters that can do the most foundation damage: floods and earthquakes. If you live in an area where either of these disasters is common, buy a separate earthquake or flood insurance policy to safeguard both your foundation and your home as a whole.

Additionally, home policies don’t offer foundation repair insurance when the foundation problem results from normal wear-and-tear. This is because most policy Insuring Agreements only provide coverage for “sudden and accidental loss” or “Direct Physical Loss,” which has been defined as damage caused by an accident or other fortuitous event. Insurers argue that it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to perform the proper maintenance on your home. They label many foundation issues as negligence on your part.

Specifically, you can expect that your insurer will deny coverage for settling, shifting and cracking foundations, whether that’s a result of temperature, soil fluctuations, earth movement or tree root growth. They will almost definitely say those losses are not “sudden and accidental” and that it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to address those problems as part of your routine maintenance.

Also, don’t expect foundation insurance from your homeowners policy if your foundation suffers from faulty construction. To avoid this issue — and the associated out-of-pocket cost — make sure you get a home inspection before buying a new home.

Unfortunately, many of the common reasons for foundation damage are events your company won’t take responsibility for. If any of the following caused the damage however, your insurer will most likely reject your claim.

  • Natural settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging, or expansion of the foundation
  • Earthquakes or Flood
  • Pressure from tree roots
  • Faulty construction: An example can be when the soil does not have enough density to support te foundation because the soil was not sufficiently compacted, or that helical piers are not at the correct depth. However in these cases, you normally have the builder warranty during several years that will cover a faulty construction.
  • Water in the crawlspace, even if it is due to hydrostatic pressure or because of rains.

Like earthquakes, floods require their own separate insurance policies, so unless you have one of them, the cost of your repairs won’t be covered by your standard homeowners policy. Things like natural settling, tree roots and faulty construction are chalked up to the owner of the home being negligent, and negligence is also never covered by insurance.

Most homeowners policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes. If your foundation damage is a result of either of these disasters, you’ll likely need separate flood or earthquake insurance.

Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover wear and tear. Home foundations shift over time, which can lead to cracks in your home’s structure. Like repainting a faded wall or clearing your gutters, keeping tabs on an aging foundation is considered the homeowner’s responsibility.

Knowing what can damage your foundation is the key to protecting it. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Let´s study more in detail these issues that are not covered and answer the question if does homeowners insurance cover foundation repairs, and why not in these cases, as these costs can become very high.

Settling Or Sinking Of The Foundation

Cracks in the foundation due to wear and tear when the house settles over time are a maintenance issue and won’t be covered.

Moisture: Moisture is one of the major reasons that a foundation will “naturally” settle, crack, shrink, or bulge. You don’t want to have too much or too little moisture in the soil around your home. If you live in a wet area prone to rain, you’ll want to ensure you have proper drainage systems in place. If you live in an area prone to drought, you’ll want to keep the land around your home hydrated and moist. Moisture changes typically aren’t covered by homeowners’ insurance, unless you can prove it was directly related to a covered peril (like a major snowstorm).

Preconstruction And Ground Preparation

Defects in the foundation from bad construction are excluded as well. If the soil was not allowed to settle when the house was built, the resulting damage to your foundation would not be covered.

Soil Movements

Soil misuse is a leading cause of foundation damage. Your home’s weight will condense the soil beneath it over time. Over time, the soil under the foundation can expand and contract.

If the soil was compacted unevenly at the start, your house may settle unevenly and begin to crack. If you’re building a new home, consider using uniform soil as opposed to different soil types, which can be packed evenly and closely together to provide a sturdy base.

Drought is a problem along these lines. During periods of extended dryness, the earth under your home can contract. This can cause cracks and fissures in the foundation. As the source of damage does not originate within the premises of the house, it’s not covered by your home insurance.

Improper Drainage

Poor drainage can lead to wet and dry patches beneath your house. Wet patches tend to push, and dry patches tend to shrink. The ASHI calls it “differential movement”, which can affect the foundation. Make sure your gutters are transporting water far enough away from your house.Check that the ground is sloped away from, not toward, your house. Updated drainage helps prevent water damage and keeps moisture levels uniform.

Tree Roots

A tree too close to your house can push against the home’s structure. It can drain high volumes of the soil’s water beneath your house, and a drastic change in moisture levels can have serious results.

Temperature Changes

Hot and cold temperatures can cause water molecules in soil to shrink and expand. Over time, this can result in damage to your foundation.

A qualified contractor or foundation specialist can help you take measures and avoid problems before they start.

What about broken pipes under the slab?

If you’ve experienced a slab leak, insurance coverage may kick in, especially if the cause was the result of a covered peril. However, you may have to pay for repairs yourself if the plumbing leak was the result of poor maintenance on your part.


Most standard home insurance policies exclude damage due to earth movement. This means standard home insurance doesn’t help much in the event of a sinkhole. In some states where sinkholes are common, sinkhole insurance is an option. Also, some states require policies to include catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage against sinkhole damage.

Sinkhole Insurance Coverage vs. Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage

Sinkhole insurance is add-on coverage for your home insurance policy. It covers sinkhole damage to your home, contents, and property. Preventative measures, such as structural reinforcements, are covered by sinkhole insurance as well.  The rider may also cover additional living expenses. Florida has the highest number of sinkhole claims in the country. Both Florida and Tennessee require insurers in those states to offer optional sinkhole coverage

Florida also requires homeowners to carry Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse (CGCC) coverage. CGCC has four criteria points your sinkhole damage must meet:

  1. The abrupt collapse of ground cover
  2. A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye
  3. Structural damage to the building, including the foundation
  4. The insured structure is condemned by authorized government agency

All these criteria must occur during the sinkhole event in order for CGCC coverage to trigger. As such, you shouldn’t rely on it alone to provide the best coverage. Sinkhole insurance offers the better coverage of the two. Say your house suffers cracks in the foundation due to a sinkhole, but there’s no ground cover collapse. Your sinkhole insurance should cover it. However, since the damage does not meet all the criteria for CGCC coverage, the foundation would not be covered by CGCC. Also, sinkhole insurance does not require the condemnation of the house to approve the claim.

Sinkhole insurance and catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage share many exclusions. Neither sinkhole insurance nor CGCC coverage include damage to sidewalks, driveways, swimming pools, or decks. Open land, parking lots, streets, and roads aren’t covered by either policy type as well. Sinkhole insurance and Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage do not cover damage due to earthquake either.

Sinkhole insurance often requires an inspection before selling a policy. If any indications of a sinkhole are found, odds are you will be denied coverage.

A sinkhole insurance policy might not provide coverage for man-made damage like mine subsidence. Be sure to read over your sinkhole insurance policy to see how much protection it provides. You may need to purchase additional coverage.

Sagging Floors Due To Rotten Floor Joists

Foundation damage caused by shifting or settling earth or sagging floors caused by rotting floor joists are typically not covered by homeowners insurance. If the damage is caused by flooding or an earthquake, you’ll typically require separate coverage.

It is your responsibility to take care of these issues through sistering floor joists, a process with its own rules, follow a correct notching pattern, selecting the right dimensional lumber. The same issue that would happen to maintain the roofing and the rafters, for example. Diligence from the homeowner.

Filing A Claim Regarding Foundation Repair Insurance

To start, get in touch with your insurer as quickly as possible after a covered peril occurs. Most insurers only offer coverage for a set period of time after an event occurs.

After consulting with a professional, and have determined the cause of the damage is something you’re covered for, you can file a homeowners claim like you would for any other type of damage. Since most of what you are covered for are sudden events, you should contact the professional at the next best convenience after the event.

If it was a tornado for example, call your the contractor as soon as possible after the storm has passed, and then contact the insurer. If the damage was due to vandalism, you need to call the police and obtain a copy of the police report.

When you contact your insurer, ask them what evidence it will need for the claims process. Your provider may want to send an appraiser to your property. You may also benefit from hiring your own foundation specialist to come out and assess the situation so you can use their report in your claim.

Most homeowners insurance companies allow you to file small claims online. However, if your home has significant damage or you’re unsure whether your claim would be covered, you should contact an agent.

Before you file a claim, it’s important to take pictures and videos of the damage to submit as proof to your insurance company. Prior to meeting with the insurance adjuster, it can be helpful to gather quotes from two to three contractors that detail the amount of work required to make repairs and demonstrate the cost involved. When the insurance company sends you a settlement offer, make sure that the amount will cover all of the repairs before you cash the check, because you can dispute the claim if the amount isn’t sufficient.

After filing the claim, your homeowners insurance company will send a claims adjuster to assess the damage. This is where the assessment of your contractor or foundation specialist will be important. If the adjuster contends the damage was due to natural wear and tear, or something your not covered for, your contractor will be able to vouch for you.

To help you with the process, many insurers have a network of recommended contractors. And some even guarantee the workmanship for a set period of time when you choose one of their contractors.

Some insurance companies offer policyholders access to a network of qualified contractors. Working with these prescreened contractors ensures that your claim and repairs are handled quickly. These contractors are usually in direct contact with your insurance company, meaning the entire process moves a lot faster. We provide a list of some home insurance companies that offer a network of contractors below.

Insurance CompanyHighlight
FarmersAwards a five-year warranty to repairs made through approved contractors.
Liberty MutualYou’ll have access to a 24/7 home repair service.
AmicaRepairs come equipped with a three-year warranty. Additionally, the service can be used for renovations.

What can you do if you’re not covered by homeowners insurance?

You are faced with limited options beside paying out of pocket when the damage to your home’s foundation isn’t covered by insurance. Your best bet is to prove the damage was caused by something you are actually covered for. If your foundation shifted due to expanding soil caused by an internal flood, which was in turn caused by a burst pipe rather than a natural flood, you would actually be covered in this instance because homeowners policies cover internal floods.

The best way to assess damage to your home’s foundation is to hire a contractor or foundation specialist. They will be able to tell you what caused the damage, which you can then use to decide whether a homeowners claim would be successful. The evidence or materials they present can also help you make a case for coverage.

For future reference, if you live in an earthquake-prone area like California or flood-prone area such as Florida, you should strongly consider adding those policies. It’s likely that a powerful storm or flood will damage more than just the foundation of your home. Considering the average flood insurance claim is $30,000, you should definitely consider adding it.;

How Much are You Covered For? Replacement Cost vs Actual Cash Value

Like contents coverage, there are two types of dwelling coverage: replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost will cover the cost to replace your home with materials of like kind and quality. Actual cash value will account for depreciation in the value of items used to construct your home when determining the cost to replace them.

While it may be tempting to go for an actual cash value policy because of the savings on your premium, consider the cost to rebuild and the role your homeowners insurance would play in that. Replacement cost oftentimes provides more complete coverage

If your slab weakens and cracks due to a fire, your home insurer will pay out to have the damage repaired. A standard homeowners policy, otherwise known as an HO-3, covers the above risks on an “open peril” basis. This means that unless the cause of the damage to your slab is excluded in your home insurance policy, it’s covered. A standard homeowners policy pays out for covered structural damages including your foundation up to the dwelling coverage limit stated in your policy. This limit is usually around $250,000.

You will be covered up to the limits of your policy. Most standard homeowners policies begin at around $250,000 of dwelling coverage, but yours can be higher. Foundation repairs usually won’t exceed $100,000 however in the vast majority of cases.


Your insurer may offer endorsements to your policy for damage caused by earthquakes and floods. If not, you may need separate policies to cover foundation damage from earthquake or floods, as standard home policies typically won’t cover these incidents.

Depending on where you live and your exposure conditions, it may be worth purchasing supplemental insurance for perils not covered by your basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Most major insurance carriers will let you purchase a dwelling foundation rider to cover specific, limited perils, such as damage caused by a burst water pipe or water seepage. Most policies also offer supplemental coverage for damage caused by earthquakes, flooding, and sewer backups. However, foundation damage caused by settling, shifting, or earth movement is generally excluded.

Builder Warranty Instead Of A Homeowners Insurance That Covers Foundation Repairs

a builder’s warranty is designed to cover structural issues such as a foundation. The length of coverage varies from six months to ten years and after a specific period of time, the warranty may be limited to major issues that pose a health or safety risk.

If you’re noticing foundation cracks or lots of movement in your house within a few years of building, you may need to contact the builder. In some cases, they will have a warranty on the house for a given time that will cover foundation damage. If not, you could sue the builder individually to get the foundation fixed and to prevent further damage. Damages or losses due to faulty construction are almost never covered by your insurance.

If your foundation problems are caused by defective construction or the use of poor materials, your homeowner’s insurance won’t be of much help. However, some builders offer foundation warranties that cover labor and materials and structural defects for up to 10 years. If your home is fairly new, check to see if you have a warranty that’s still in effect, and read it over carefully to find out what’s covered.

If you’re buying a home, be sure to have the foundation inspected by a professional. You could save thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches by having any problems identified and addressed before you assume ownership.

Additionally, if you had foundation work done in the past check with the repair company. The best companies stand behind their work.


If repairs aren’t covered, and you don’t have enough money in your emergency fund, there are other ways to get help paying your bill. Many foundation repair companies will arrange same-as-cash payment plans and some even offer reduced interest financing options.

Ask Your Agent Before Signing If The Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs

Look into the language of your plan itself and ask an agent specifically. If you live in a state with lots of foundational issues, your insurance agent is probably familiar with both the question and the topic. Once you have them on the phone, ask them specific questions like:

  1. Do they cover the repair of small cracks?
  2. What foundational repair methods do they cover? And to what extent will insurance cover the costs?
  3. What has to cause the foundation damage for insurance to step in?

That last question is one you’ll certainly want to ask your agent ahead of time because it’s not a question you would immediately think of when you’re in the middle of fixing your foundation. Sometimes, insurance policies have specific clauses regarding earth movement (earthquakes), floods, and ground cover collapse, but even those aren’t common in policies and are usually added separately with an increase in your premium. So while your insurance provider might cover foundation repair costs in those specific instances, they will not do so for damage caused by general soil compaction and expansion. And most of the time your foundation faces risk because of that more mundane soil movement, which could leave you without financial back-up.

Depending on your house and area, you might consider supplemental coverage, which you can make a bit more tailored by adding a dwelling foundation rider. However, even that will only cover costs for foundation repairs caused by specified events, and they almost always exclude soil compaction and expansion.

Even if the foundational issues aren’t caused by a specifically covered event, talk to your consultant or inspector when they come out to assess any damage. If part of the damage was caused by faulty plumbing, which is generally covered under home insurance plans, your company could be obligated to pay for at least part of the costs.

How to prevent foundation damage

While your home policy might offer you foundation insurance, it’s a whole lot easier to avoid an issue in the first place. Here are our top tips for preventing homeowners foundation issues:

  • Get a home inspection before moving in: If you’re in the process of buying a house, don’t skip the home inspection. This is the best way to know if the house’s foundation is well-built and help you avoid a whole host of foundation problems in the future.You can also prevent future problems by having a thorough inspection on the home before moving in. Poor construction is not covered by insurance, so you will want to inspect the foundation before you are responsible for it. If your inspector determines the foundation to be poorly built, you should strongly consider passing on the home.
  • Maintain your soil: When your soil gets too dry or too wet, it puts a strain on your foundation. Know your climate and act accordingly. For example, if you live in a drought-prone area, you might want to water the soil around your house periodically. Or if you live in an area that gets a lot of moisture, make sure the soil around your home properly drains water away from your foundation. Water the soil around your foundation during dry seasons and if you see a gap between your foundation and the surrounding soil.
  • Check your grading: You want water to drain away from your home when it rains. Aim to have at least six inches of grading away from your house in the ten feet surrounding it.
  • Mind your trees: Keep an eye on the trees near your home to prevent their roots from spreading into your foundation. Relocate trees if necessary and, when you plant, make sure you leave ample room around your foundation. Generally, you should allow for one foot of root spreading area for each inch of thickness in the tree’s trunk. You can also install a root guard to prevent the root expansion as some plants might develop large rootballs.
  • Clean your gutters: It seems simple, but clogged gutters can lead to water spilling over the edge — and directly onto the soil surrounding your foundation.
  • Gutters Downspout: making sure your gutters’ downspouts deposit water away from your house and at least five to ten feet away from your foundation.
  • Lay some mulch: You can use mulch around your house to maintain the moisture level and temperature of the surrounding soil, minimizing pressure on your foundation.
  • Address cracks promptly: If you notice any cracks in your foundation, don’t wait to get a pro out to assess the severity of the foundation issue. Acting fast can minimize the damage — and the cost to repair it.

Foundation damage warning signs

Any of these warning signs could indicate you have foundation damage and warrant further investigation to avoid further damage to your home:

Cracks: Cracks in the home’s interior sheetrock, chimney, tiles, or home exterior can mean the foundation is cracked, especially if the cracks are horizontal or zig zagged. If the cracks grow or become longer, it could mean the foundation cracks are worsening.

A wet crawl space: This could indicate a crumbling or cracked foundation. If an area is easily flooded, or if a pier and beam foundation is poorly sealed, water can get into the crawl space and cause water damage to a home. Water in a cracked foundation can further weaken an already damaged foundation.

Moisture Level: You want to make sure your home has a good system to deal with water when there are heavy rains, and floods so the moisture is not trapped in your soil. Conversely, if you live in an area prone to drought, you should have a system to periodically water your yard and land to ensure it retains a good level of moisture.

Crumbling of the foundation: This could mean a slow deterioration of the concrete and an eventual failed foundation. The appearance may present a rust-colored residue or a white powder may appear.

Shifting: If walls, floors, ceilings or support posts are warped or leaning, you can use a leveling device to see if they are level. Another indication may be that doors and windows don’t fit properly (for example, they stick when you try to open them, or don’t latch properly anymore). The foundation of the house may be settling or sinking, the concrete on the poured perimeter foundation could be chipping or flaking, counters and cabinets may separate from the wall or nails may pop out of the drywall. The most common cause of foundation trouble is shifting soil. The soil beneath your home moves dynamically based on the moisture (or lack thereof) within.

Bugs: If there are sightings of bugs, this could also mean that there are cracks in the foundation or gaps where the insects can enter the home.

It is best to repair a foundation when it first begins to crack because foundation repairs are easier to make when there is a small crack rather than multiple repairs to be made.

Ignoring foundation problems can lead to major structural problems for your home. Sagging floors can even become dangerous. Foundation repairs require flooring to be removed for a repairman to dig underneath the flooring to make the repair. The more cracks there are, the more flooring has to be removed, and the more extensive (and expensive) the repair becomes. The longer the problem is ignored, the worse it becomes.


If you’re having foundation problems and notice the initial warning signs of foundation damage, get the problem repaired as soon as possible. By addressing these issues early, you could avoid more serious structural problems down the road. If you incur additional damage to your home caused by a foundation issue that isn’t repaired, your insurer could refuse to pay the claims for the repair costs.

Sources And References

Recommended Articles

We have some articles that I would like to recommend to the readers.

Foundation Repair And Maintenance

We have described here the type of foundations, what is a foundation inspection and what should be included in a good foundation inspection checklist. We can discover problems in the foundation to make us ask ourselves if it is safe to live in a house with foundation problems, and what entails a foundation repair. Not only the repair activity itself but how it affects our wallets.

I explain if the foundation repair is actually covered by homeowners insurance and the actual foundation repair cost. We disaggregated these foundation repair costs and determined, the cost per pier when footings or piers are the solutions for the settlement of a foundation.

To repair a foundation, the service provider might require an underpinning system using piers: push piers vs helical piers where helical piers are preferable for residential real estate objects, despite their costs. Also when you compare helical piers with concrete footings, we can determine that helical piers are more cost-efficient than concrete footings, in my opinion.

We have water in the crawlspace, which can be an issue for the whole foundation if the problem persists, and an additional difficulty when selling a house with water in the crawl space, as it can provide the prospective buyer with a lot of bargaining power, so what can we do: I explain what to do when the crawlspace is flooded or there are simply puddles of water always standing, thus I describe how to remove quickly the water in the crawlspace and how to prevent the problem for the future. So I discuss if it is normal to have water in the crawlspace after a heavy rain, and the importance to perform a crawlspace waterproofing thereafter, normally by installing a vapor barrier.

I describe how to improve the air quality in the crawlspace and to accomplish this, I am reluctant to use lime powder in this article, where I explain the pros and cons, as I would be using lime powder only to avoid the dangers of raw sewage under the house.

We discuss the sill plate replacement cost and how to avoid the outdoor sump pump freezing because it happened to me once.

There are always new methods for repairing foundations. One of them that we investigate here is the Powerbrace foundation repair method.

Animals can be a problem when they live near the foundation: In the following articles, we describe how to remove them and how to prevent them from digging and burrowing. The articles are about animals digging holes around the foundation or when they are burrowing below concrete, below a concrete slab, or between gaps in concrete footings, for example.

In regards to basements, I describe how to solve the hydrostatic pressure in the basement, which is a lateral pressure that is the main cause for having a basement wall that is bowing, or that can be caving in or buckling. While a slight inward curve for basement wall bowing is acceptable, after that degree, you have to address the issue and face sometimes relatively high basement wall repair costs.

I provide to you some reasons why we will need a certified specialist to deal with a risky sewage backup in the basement because bacteria survive a long time in a contaminated sewage network, and also we discuss how to deal with a basement drain backing up in general and what to do when it happens only when flushing the toilet, something that is not a DYI project at all.


I explain here the process of concrete lifting or concrete raising, which can be done through mudjacking or slabjacking. We recommend the latter, which injects polyurethane foam.


There are some interesting articles here, in this Framing category. I refer to sistering floor joists, as a methodology to reinforce existing floor joists with some emphasis on sistering 2x6 floor joists or sistering with 2x8 instead, and about the building code for sistering joists, for sistering rafters, and the code for notching floor joists.

Many of these problems have a consequence: sinking or sagging floors.

Water Heaters

About water heaters, we have a complete guide about water heater types and their installation requirements, about power vent water heaters, and venting in tankless devices, and I also explain in detail the difference between a mobile home water heater and a standard water heater. I also describe in detail how to remove the heating element without an element wrench using just a socket, and how to fix leaks.

We have a few reviews when a water heater falls into our hands, such as the Titan product portfolio, Navien lineup, the Titan N-160 reviews, the most praised by our readers, and the Rinnai R94LSi.

I study several water heater capacities and tested 20-gallon water heater units and a comparison between point of use and tankless water heaters.

We open a tankless water heater to show how does it look like inside a tankless water heater, and how to protect your water heater against the effects of hard water. I also explain the pros and cons of tankless water heaters because many people consider that tankless units are better than standard heaters and it is not always the case.

After the lifecycle of the water heater is over, I reveal to you different options to proceed with its disposal.


Just because they became popular and related to current news, I study how to identify aluminum wiring and once discovered, how to proceed with its remediation or retrofit.

Pest Control

I have a featured article where I compare Orkin vs Terminix pest control services.

Photo of author

BY M. Kogan

Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.

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