Similar to how physical health can impact the overall health of a person, a healthy foundation can extend the life of a building.
Healthy buildings are about regular maintenance, self-inspections, and implementing smart design principles to encourage longevity and optimum efficiency for years to come.
That said, a building’s health goes beyond adding years. It can also improve the quality of a structure and support the health of its occupants. According to research, Americans spend about 87 percent of their time indoors, and poor air quality, toxins, or moisture in your house can have a negative effect on you or your family.
Learn about the indicators of home health issues and discover what’s at stake if these signals are ignored.
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Structural Health of Your Home’s Foundation
The overall health of a building starts from the ground up. That being said, a strong foundation can improve your home’s ability to withstand natural disasters. Similarly, it’s also a part of healthy home principles that can affect moisture management, pests, air quality, and thermal stability.
Foundation issues within your home can be indicated by:
- Nail pops
- Wall and floor gaps
- Uneven floors
- Drywall cracks
- Sticking doors or windows
- Bowed basement walls
- Flood damage
- Cracked chimney
- Sinking foundation
- Foundation settlement
- Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or stair-step cracks
- Cracked bricks
- Cracked block foundation
- Concrete cracks
The consequences of foundation problems can vary widely, and unfortunately, they will only get worse over time. If these issues are left unresolved, you’ll see an increasing amount of damage throughout the structure and potentially face irreversible damage. If you completely neglect your home’s foundation issues, you could see a 30 percent decrease in property value.
The integrity of your foundation is critical to preserving the long-term investment of your home and avoiding the consequences of degraded home health. A free inspection from a foundation expert can uncover specific problems and the right repair solutions to meet your home’s unique needs.
Crawl Space Health
Crawl space health is essential when it comes to managing your home’s air quality and moisture levels.
Being a compact area that isn’t used for much of anything, the health of a crawl space can easily fall by the wayside. However, its proximity to the ground, lack of air circulation, and dampness can create the perfect conditions for mold, mildew, wood rot, and pests. If left unsolved, these issues can also cause problems in the main areas of your home.
Identify crawl space health issues by looking for:
- Water in your crawl space
- Floor joist issues
- Wood rot
- Wet crawl space insulation
- Foundation cracks
- Open crawl space vents
- High indoor humidity
- Sagging floors
- Mold in your crawl space
- Unpleasant odors or poor air quality
- Rodent or bug issues
- High electric bills
Crawl space issues are categorized in three different ways.
If moisture issues are the problem in your crawl space, waterproofing and encapsulation may be a good idea. These solutions can resolve the dampness that is triggering toxic black mold, asthma symptoms, allergies, wood rot, or foul odor. As an engineering professor at Colorado University-Boulder notes, addressing indoor air quality issues is especially important during COVID-19 as people spend more time at home and need an environment that supports the health of the household.
For the cold Colorado winters, insulation problems in your crawl space can cause your home to be less-than-ideal temperatures. Not only will you have drafts, cold floors, and high utility bills due to your HVAC system being overworked, but the temperature variance can cause condensation, which prompts secondary moisture issues. Your crawl space could also have load-bearing issues that result in sagging floors that are uneven, bouncy, or at risk of collapse. Reinforcing the structural support system within your crawl space can preserve the overall strength of your home and reduce the risk of collapsing floors.
Basement Water Management
Underlying water problems in your basement can expose symptoms of moisture problems in your home’s upper stories.
In the Colorado ski areas like Aspen, where annual snowfall can top 180 inches, snowmelt can create a rush of surface water every spring. As a result, basement humidity, moisture, and flooding can result from snowmelt, high rainfall, or overflowing rivers.
If you are experiencing any of the following signs, you may have an issue with your basement health:
- Musty basement smell
- Leaking water heater
- Leaking basement windows
- Leaking in basement cove
- Sump pump issues
- Swelling or warped doors
- Water stains on the walls or floors
- Wet walls
- Wet floors
- Wet carpet
- Wet drywall
- Condensation on windows or doors
You can take the first steps to avoid costly structural problems and health issues by waterproofing your basement. In doing this, you’ll be protecting yourself from mold and pests while also protecting the overall structural stability of your home. Plus, it improves the sustainability of your home with better thermal performance and energy efficiency.
Additionally, the quality of your living space will improve. A clean, dry home is a pleasant place to live, is attractive to sellers, and can increase your real estate value if you decide to put your home on the market.
Unique structural challenges are presented due to the geology of the Colorado region.
Because ice and snow are common in the area, concrete heaving occurs as the earth pushes upward on flat areas like patios or driveways. This phenomenon is especially relevant in resort towns like Aspen.
Similarly, there’s unique soil chemistry called expandable soil where clay deposits can create an unstable base. Because of this, many homes in the Grand Junction area will encounter cracked driveways, patios, sinking concrete steps, or dangerous walkways.
Look for sinking, uneven, or cracking concrete slabs on your:
- Basement floor
- Pool deck
Because they are a tripping hazard, cracked concrete slabs can be an immediate threat. Not only that, but they could also be an insurance liability.
Fixing a broken concrete slab can contribute to the overall health of your home’s foundation. Cracked concrete can result in unbalanced load distribution or drainage problems that can further instigate damage. By creating smooth and level concrete surfaces with a concrete lifting solution, you may be able to support the structural health of your home.
Maintaining a healthy home starts from the ground up. Find out how a free inspection from your local foundation experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado can help you improve the longevity of your home and preserve its value.