It’s natural for us to worry. It can be useful, even productive, if done in moderation. Worrying about what could happen helps us anticipate problems and brainstorm ways to resolve them. But too much worry can have a negative effect, not just our state of mind but even on our physical health. Countless studies have made it clear: too much worry = too much stress = increased health problems.
Many things are out of our control. We can’t fix everything. But we can learn more about the problems we’re facing, and that can reduce how much we worry about them.
At Acculevel, we want every homeowner to have the information you need to make the best decision for you and your home. We specialize in foundation repair and waterproofing, and have been helping homeowners to restore stability to their homes and regain peace of mind since 1996.
In this article, we’re going to address three major concerns our customers have admitted they privately worry about, but are hesitant to ask.
Will My House Fall Down?
No, it probably won’t. Builders in the Midwest are conscious of the varying weather conditions throughout our region. Houses are designed to withstand a wide variety of stresses and pressures: high winds, heavy snows, hydrostatic pressure, even minor tremors.
Even if one of your basement walls collapses, it’s not likely to take out the entire house. It will cause major structural damage. It could compromise your plumbing, causing major water damage. And it certainly won’t be safe for you to live there until an engineer or a highly qualified contractor has evaluated the structure and assessed the damage. But your home is not likely to fold up like a house of cards.
There are clear warning signs that indicate your foundation is at risk:
- Cracks in the exterior of the house
- Windows and doors stick- not opening or closing smoothly
- Cracks in the drywall around those sticking doors/windows
- Long cracks or bowing in the basement/crawl space walls
Are My Foundation Problems Dangerous?
Yes, serious foundation issues do put your home’s stability at risk. This is why, if a foundation wall collapses, you need a structural engineer or a highly qualified contractor to assess the damage. They will know if it’s safe for you to stay in the home during repairs, where stabilizing jacks or beams need to be installed before rebuilding can occur, etc.
This photo was taken by an Acculevel project manager during a routine free estimate appointment. The basement wall is cracked horizontally and bowing inward.
How Long Do I Have to Fix It? Will It Only Get Worse?
Once you become aware of an issue, you need to fix it promptly. Foundations do not fix themselves and they are not a safe place for DIY repairs. Once cracks form, they only get wider. Cracks eventually become gaps. Once gaps form, walls become unstable. And all of this ignores the fact that these openings in your foundation allow water into your home, creating its own type of damage. The longer you wait, the more substantial the issue, the more expensive the repair. We have a blog that explores the costs of delaying repairs, if you would like more specific examples.
Will The Floor Cave In?
Technically, yes, your floor could cave in. But as with foundation issues, your home will give you many warning signs before that occurs. Please do not ignore these signs; take action when you see them. Sagging floors do not fix themselves, and will continue to get worse over time.
Signs You Have an Issue
You will notice the floors sloping to one side, or sagging in the center. The floor may feel oddly bouncy or soft, or have high and low places. These are all signs of a deteriorating floor structure.
But even if your main beam falls down, it won’t immediately take out the entire floor. The weight of your home will slowly overwhelm the joists, which will start to crack. You will hear cracking and popping sounds as you walk around. The floor will eventually start to have gaps or feel “wobbly” under your feet. The exact symptoms you have will depend on which components of the wooden flooring structure are damaged. This article explains each of the components, how it shows damage, and how it should be repaired.
This photo was also taken by an Acculevel project manager during a free estimate appointment. There is significant mold and rot on the joists and main beam.
Do I Have Toxic Mold?
Yes and no. Any mold can be toxic, if you are allergic to it. People who have compromised immune systems or chronic respiratory illnesses are especially prone to reactions. But those reactions are typically similar to other allergic reactions like a runny nose, watery red eyes, cough, skin rashes, sore throat, etc.
|Toxic mold is black||Many molds are black|
|Toxic mold releases mycotoxins||All molds release mycotoxins|
|Mycotoxins cause severe mold poisoning (mycotoxicosis)||Mold poisoning is usually a result of ingesting mycotoxins, not inhaling them|
I don’t want to mislead you; research has demonstrated, repeatedly and reliably, that mold creates an unhealthy environment. This is particularly true for anyone with preexisting conditions.
Children who suffer from mold exposure are more likely to develop asthma.
Healthy adults who live or work for an extended time in a damp and moldy environment are more likely to develop asthma.
And even when well-controlled, asthma can interfere with your daily life and limit athletic activity; it is not something you want. But mold exposure alone is not going to be fatal for the vast majority of our population.
If you have mold in your basement or crawl space, you should have it treated professionally. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that any mold problem larger than 10 square feet be examined by an expert. This is a service Acculevel provides, and we review both methods and their costs in this blog article.
Do You Have More Questions? Want More Information?
Please use our free comprehensive guide to foundation repairs. It can be read in its entirety, you can select the chapter relevant to you, or bookmark it as a reference when you meet with contractors.
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If you are still worried about your home and would like to take immediate action, you should find an experienced and knowledgeable foundation company to evaluate your home. Before you meet with a contractor of any kind, we urge you to verify that the company is reputable, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Not sure what questions to ask, or what information you should acquire about the company you hire? Please use our guide to questions you should ask a contractor, with a free downloadable form.
If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states, contact Acculevel. We are a family-owned and operated company, and we provide free written estimates. One of our experienced project managers will evaluate your foundation, basement or crawl space, then recommend the best course of action for you. Our goal is to help you keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.