buying a home in new jersey

Structural Problems to Look For When Buying a Home in New Jersey

Buying a Home in New Jersey

When you are house shopping, it is easy to forget to about the foundation. However, making sure the foundation is in good shape and structurally sound may be one of the most important steps when buying a home in New Jersey.

Inspect the foundation

First look at the foundation, and watch for any cracks inside or out. Small vertical cracks may be nonstructural but could potentially cause water infiltration. You can watch for mold or water stains to show the crack does leak. These nonstructural cracks should be fixed prior to moving in just to save you from dealing with major water issues come winter.

The horizontal cracks in a foundation wall are signs of structural damage. Also stair step cracks in block wall foundations or bulging or bowed walls are also signs of structural foundation problems.

Watch for signs upstairs

You can also watch for signs of settlement issues upstairs. If the doors and windows stick or if there are cracks in the sheetrock upstairs in the walls or the ceiling, you may have a foundation problem. Cracks can also be in the trim around the windows and doors. That is a sign the foundation is moving.

Look into the history of the site

Even newer houses can run into potential structural problems if the house was built on unstable ground. Do your research to see what the property was used for in the past. Past gravel pits, old landfills and dumps can be the cause of major foundation problems. Most developers will know not to build over past pits, but sometimes they don’t. There have been issues where developers will bury large tree stumps or garbage on the building site creating massive problems when those decompose. It will create holes in the ground and create an unstable ground.

Watch for water issues and signs of water build-up

Water issues in the basement should never be left alone. Always fix the leaks and other water issues in the basement because not only does it cause mold, mildew, and poor indoor air quality inside the home, but it also is the culprit of foundation damage. Leaving a basement leak or a leaky crack in the foundation will eventually start to deteriorate the foundation wall making it weak and fragile. Water damage to the foundation wall can result in spalling where the concrete starts to break off the foundation wall. Water infiltrating the basement is also a sign there is water build up on the outside wall. If there is water building up in the soil outside, then it is creating hydrostatic pressure, a common cause of structural damage in foundation walls. Basement waterproofing and proper outside drainage systems will relieve hydrostatic pressure and potential structural problems.

You can negotiate in the contract to have the seller solve these foundation issues before you buy the house. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the house because most of these issues can be fixed. With a professional foundation repair contractor and/or basement waterproofer, you won’t have to worry. Just make sure it gets in the final agreement to either have them fix the issue or drop the price of the house so you can fix the issue after you buy it. It is a good idea to elicit the help of a foundation repair contractor if you suspect foundation issues. They will be able to provide an inspection and quote to help you negotiate and understand what you are really getting into. This information will help you make your decision.

If you’d like a FREE Estimate for foundation repair when buying a home in New Jersey, then please contact us!

basement flood

Prevent a Basement Flood This Winter!

How to Prevent a Basement Flood

It’s the holiday season and we’ve all got a million and one things on our to-do lists, I know. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, who needs to deal with a basement flood, and therefore a basement waterproofing headache? I know I don’t.

That’s all the more reason to take preventative action to make sure you don’t experience any unforeseen headaches or surprises. You see, if your home has experienced water issues in the past, the fact that it’s winter doesn’t mean that your basement or crawl space is much less susceptible to seepage. Only the top layers of soil freeze; water at the basement floor level is still allowed to flow within the warmer soil. This means that your sump pump is still working hard while you’re out shopping.

Check your sump pump!

To greatly reduce the possibility of you coming home to a basement flood, you’re going to want to check on your sump pump. We recommend that you check your pump(s) at least once or twice a month to ensure proper operation.

First thing’s first, test the pumps. To do this, simply fill a 5 gallon bucket with water and pour it directly into the sump basin. Repeat until you see the sump pump discharge the water. If your pump goes off before or shortly after the pump is fully submerged in water, you should be in good shape. If you continue to fill the basin with water without the pump going off, you may want to have it check out by a professional.

Another thing you may want to consider is a battery-operated backup pump. This can really be a lifesaver in the even of a power outage or primary pump failure.

So do your basement a favor this holiday season, and go check on your sump pumps!

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