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When To Walk Away From Foundation Issues

By February 22, 2022Home Maintenance
Foundation issues

You and your spouse are looking for your next dream home. After stumbling upon one that fits your needs and desires, you have the seller conduct the home inspection. The home inspection comes back and it has been discovered that there are numerous issues needing repairs. The most glaring issue has to deal with the foundation. When to walk away from foundation issues? Horizontal or diagonal cracks measuring more than 1/4 of an inch is a good reason to walk away.

Let’s take a look below at all of the additional reasons to walk away from foundation issues.

What Are Foundations

There are 3 main types of foundations that builders typically use. These foundations vary based on where you live.

  • Slab – a flat slab of concrete poured inside a wood frame and typically used in areas where no basements are used. Rebar and wire mesh are used to support the concrete load. These are the most common and cheapest foundations used.
  • Pier and Beam – beams are anchored deep into the earth and support a flat, wooden surface.
  • Basements and Crawl Spaces – creates easier access to plumbing and electricity under the home. Basements are poured like a slab and have support walls made of concrete block or a masonry with rebar for support. Crawl spaces are made as masonry units or a cast in place system. Each of these types must be strong enough to hold the homes weight.
Cracks in stucco

What Does It Mean To Have Foundation Issues

Foundation issues or damage can be an alarming scenario for most people. However, it is not necessarily the end for a home. Not every foundation issue means your home will collapse. After a home settles, it typically ends up with various types of cracks to the foundation and or sidewalls of the home. This is especially true of a stucco home.

When the foundation of the home settles it can create a variety of foundation issues. Let’s take a look.

  • Your doors and windows might not be level anymore and could jam up.
  • You will notice the walls or flooring inside and outside of the home beginning to show cracking.
  • Moisture has begun to enter the home, causing mold growth and water damage.
  • The front porch or stoop begins to sink.
  • If you have a fireplace, the chimney might begin to lean.
  • If you have a basement, the walls might begin bowing or buckling due to the added pressure as the foundation shifts.
Moisture on the walls and mold.

What Is My Next Step

Your next step is to complete all repairs. Regardless of the damage that the shifting foundation has caused, you will need to get on the projects right away to avoid further issues or even the collapse of your home. The main areas and costs that are considered immediate walk away issues are as follows:

  • Cracks larger than 1/4 of inch-your estimated costs for these repairs are $4,000 to $7,000. This repair is a must or you risk larger home destruction. Clear walk away indicator for a buyer.
  • Moisture in the home-the estimated cost to repair a foundation issue that allows moisture into the home is also $4,000 to $7,000. Without any repairs, mold, mildew can begin to grow in various parts of the home. You will also see more insects and pests infiltrate the home and wood rot all around the home. This should be an immediate deal breaker for a home buyer!
  • Disassociated gas, plumbing or electrical systems-damage that causes any of the major lines to your home to disconnect or break altogether is a clear and present danger. The average repair cost is $3,000 to $7,000. First repair the foundation issues and then reconnect the damaged lines and this is a clear indicator for a buyer to walk away.

How Much Does It Cost

Taking care of foundation issues is important whether you are selling the home or living in it. Letting these issues go too long can have extensive consequences. Filling in simple cracks to the foundation or stucco of a home is fairly inexpensive.

You are likely looking at $100 to $200 per hour for a contractor. If underpinning or lifting of a foundation is needed the national average is $1,000 to $3,000 per support. The foundation damage will dictate how much support is needed. Lastly, the national average for major foundation repairs ranges from $3,500 to $10,000 with a brand new foundation costing around $40,000.

Let’s take a look at the video below to see if the damage is simple house settling or a bigger foundation issue.

If you notice that the floors are uneven, the doors and windows are sticking, or cracks in the drywall or exterior of the house, you will want to have your home inspected. This can mean that the home can possibly collapse because of foundation issues.

Flowers and dirt around the house and foundation.

Next, you want to make sure there is enough soil around the foundation of your home. This is because exposed foundation and drainage issues can be a result of not having enough fill dirt around the home.

Lastly, you might find that once the house settles, there may be a gap between the foundation and the house and you will want to have this fixed.

When Do I Call A Professional

The positive thing about foundation cracks is that they can be fixed. Small cracks are easily fillable and sealed up by caulk and paint. As a homeowner, you can handle this simple project. However, larger cracks and other foundation issues will require a professional.

You should call a professionally licensed structural engineer to offer advice on how to repair the damage to the foundation. They can also tell you how extensive the damage is and what it would cost to repair. Also, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can assist by offering up some reputable names and working with you to inform the builder if the home is still under warranty.


Keep an eye on the big picture. When shopping for a home you want to make sure that there is no significant damage to the foundation. Any cracks in the foundation or other red flags such as the areas listed above are clear indicators to walk away from the home purchase.

Make sure that the seller is going to have any and all foundation repairs fixed prior to you considering any future purchase. Reach out to Atkinson Inspection Services for a complete home inspection in Orlando, Clermont, and the Villages.