Foundation problems are a concern for any property owner, but they can be especially troublesome for senior citizens living on a fixed budget. In this easy guide, we’ll explain the basics of foundation repair and what seniors need to know to protect their homes – and themselves – from the hidden foundation damage dangers lurking beneath their feet.
The top causes and signs of foundation damage
Almost all homes gradually settle over the years, leading to minor cosmetic faults around the house. Usually these can be repaired very inexpensively, often with materials you can find at most home improvement stores and install or apply yourself. When settling becomes extreme, and more importantly, happens unevenly, that’s when trouble starts.
While many local factors can play a part in progressive foundation damage, a few basic causes tend to be common in most homes that experience foundation problems:
- Poor drainage that allows excess moisture to collect and cause soil erosion
- Changes in soil conditions that can leave parts of the foundation unsupported
- Faults or shortcuts in construction methods or materials
Although some problems can remain hidden for years, foundation decay of any sort usually leaves traces. The most noticeable signs include sticky doors and windows, cracks in finish materials (especially where surfaces join), saggy or creaky floors and separating concrete (which can worsen and become trip hazards), and musty odors or mold and mildew – which can quickly lead to health risks for vulnerable people.
The top things to know about foundation restoration and repair for seniors
For senior citizens especially, there’s no need to panic if any of these common signs of foundation damage appear. Many foundation problems can be fixed quickly and affordably with modern repair technology. Thanks to recent legislation there are also generous new grant programs that offer financial assistance to seniors for certain types of foundation repair.
The most important thing is to get an evaluation from a trusted professional as soon as you notice any warning signs in your home or in the home of a loved one. The most reputable companies will provide a no-cost, no-obligation inspection and clearly explain all repair options ahead of time so that you can decide what solution is best for your needs and budget.
Here are some of the most common professional foundation repair methods in use today:
- Concrete lifting and slab restoration using foam
- Concrete lifting and slab restoration mudjacking
- Pier-and-beam foundation repair using jacks
- Crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing
- Waterproofing & drainage solutions
- Simple pressed pilings
- Bell Bottom Piers
- Helical piers
- Olshan’s proprietary Cable Lock™ ST Plus system
For many of the services offered by Olshan, affordable payment plans may be available, and all repairs are protected by an available warranty. Always make sure that the foundation partner you choose provides a fully itemized estimate, guarantees their work in writing, and has a good reputation in your community.
The Section 504 Home Repair Program we mentioned earlier (also known as the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program) is a valuable resource that can help seniors protect their homes. To be eligible for the grant portion of the program, recipients must live outside a major metropolitan area, be 62 years of age or older, and lack access to other forms of credit.
Coordinated and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this kind of financial assistance can offer welcome relief to rural homeowners who meet the qualifications. The USDA may have a regional office in your area where you can get help with your application, but it’s important to check with local lenders ahead of time to be sure they honor USDA programs.
The top 3 reasons why senior citizens should be concerned about foundation problems
- Foundation damage is a threat to your home’s value – Untreated foundation problems will erode the value of your home and usually only get worse as time passes.
- Moisture issues can turn into health issues – Due to the stack effect, a wet, musty crawl space can lead to health hazards in the living areas of your home.
- Your belongings or appliances may be at risk – If you use your basement for storage or as a living space, your belongings may be in danger during a flood if you basement is not properly waterproofed.
Contact us to find out more
Olshan Foundation Solutions has been helping property owners like you protect their homes since 1933. We would be delighted to answer any questions you have about foundation repair and restoration, or how to learn more about the Section 504 Home Repair Program.