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In order for your properties to stand and remain structurally sound, they require a strong and durable foundation. However, over time houses begin to settle and foundations can start to crack. So, it is important for you to know how to identify them early and when you need to take action.
Your foundation is meant to support the weight of the entire property, so it is natural to be concerned when you see a problem, but not all cracks are emergencies. So, let’s take a look at some of the warning signs when cracks in the foundation indicates a larger problem, and when you can make a quick repair yourself.
Before we dive in, if you want to learn how to finance the repairs for any cracks in the foundations on your investment properties, click the link below to learn how to leverage your other investments for the funds you need.
If You Spot a Cracks in the Foundation Do Not Panic
Cracks in the foundation of a property are understandably worrying for new investors, especially if you have not had to take care of one before. However, the first thing you should do whenever you spot one is to take a deep breath and do not panic.
Cracks in the foundation are not a sign that the house is going to start crumbling around you, in fact most of the time they are simply minor visual blemishes that you can cover up with a fresh coat of paint.
However, that does not mean you should ignore cracks in the foundation of your property, it is still important that you take the time to assess the situation to ensure that everything is fine.
Identifying the Warning Signs
The first step to taking care of cracks in your foundation is keeping an eye out for the warning signs.
Inside of your house there are a few key warning signs that there may be a crack in your foundation or another underlying issue on the property. These can be doors suddenly not hanging correctly on their hinges, windows that are suddenly harder to open and close, and cracks appearing in the walls and floors.
While these are not always indicators of a foundational issue, it is worth your time to check if you or your tenants begin to notice these signs.
Outside there are additional warning signs for cracks in the foundations. The most obvious sign is a visible crack in the foundation, but you should also keep an eye for walls that have started to lean or bulges in the foundation where cracks may begin to form.
You can also lightly try to chip at the foundation with a screwdriver. Normally, the foundation should be strong enough that you cannot damage it. If it is beginning to chip or break, there may be an issue.
When you see warning signs such as bulging foundations or rapidly growing cracks, it is time to call a professional.
Repairing Small Cracks
Some of the most common cracks in the foundation of a home are small hairline cracks. These blemishes are no wider than a thread and commonly appear as a result of the house settling and the foundation curing and shrinking slightly. As long as no moisture is seeping through these cracks, there is nothing to worry about and you can simply patch them with concrete-safe paint.
Monitoring Cracks in the Foundation
If a crack is wider than a hair, or if it is brand new, you should take some time to monitor it before you go directly to patching it up. Take a pencil and mark on the wall where the crack starts and stops. Then, each month you should come back and see if the crack has grown or if moisture has started to seep through. If the crack stays the same, go ahead and patch it.
If the crack has grown or is seeping moisture into the property, you will need to take further action.
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What Should You Do If You Find Larger Cracks in the Foundation/Moisture Damage?
Cracks between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch in width can also occur as a result of the property settling. So, when you spot them make sure to monitor them for growth as well as moisture or gas seeping through. If nothing happens over the course of a few months, you should be fine to fill them in with concrete crack filler. If the crack is 1/2 an inch thick or wider, call an expert immediately, even if you are able to fix it yourself, it is better to have a professional inspect it in order to be safe.
However, if moisture is coming through the cracks, it is time to take additional action. Once you see moisture coming through a crack, you should promptly patch it and take steps to begin diverting water from the property. This can be done by removing any plants by the foundation, adding additional soil to increase the slope away from the property and installing new gutters and downspouts to route water from the roof away from the property.
After this, if you still find that moisture is coming through, or if the cracks smell like they are allowing gas to seep through, it is time to call an expert and allow them to make the repairs.
If You Are Unsure, Call an Expert
At any point in the process, if you are not sure that you can property monitor the cracks and warning signs in order to determine whether there is a problem with the foundation on your property, call a professional.
It is better to spend the money to have a professional take a look and resolve any issues than to take a guess and risk allowing a quick repair to become a multi-thousand-dollar project due to worsening structural issues.
Finance Foundation Repairs Using Home Equity
Foundation repairs can quickly become expensive endeavours and most people do not keep that type of cash on hand. However, what you may have as an investor is equity in the property. Through methods such as refinancing or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), you can draw on your property’s equity in order to finance any repairs you need to make.
For more information or to get started today, give us a call at LendCity. You can reach our office at 519-960-0370 or you can visit us online at LendCity.ca and one of our agents will help you find the financing option that is best for you. Alternatively, click the link below to book a free strategy call today.