Midwest Real Estate Data

2443 Warrenville Road, Suite 600
Lisle, IL 60532

Housing Trends

December 2018

View archives

What’s the value of
your home?

Use our tools
to find out

Community reports

Powered by realtor.com®

Enter a ZIP code to create a report. Enter a second ZIP to compare two communities.

View statistics on population, education, housing, transporation, income, employment, net worth, cost of living and climate.

Compare amenities such as public services, places of worship, recreation and leisure facilitles, shopping and restaurants.

Get a report

How big is an acre? What is an option?
Do I need hazard insurance?

Take a look at our real estate glossary to learn definitions of common words and phrases used in the industry.

Learn more

How to Care for Your Home’s Foundation

Whether you own your home or you’re looking to buy one, keeping a home’s foundation in good repair is one of the best solutions for problems that can cost you time and money.

Foundation problems are not unique. In fact, they are mentioned in the Bible!

In today’s homes – depending upon where in the country you’re located – foundations are slab, pier, crawl space or basement/walk-out. Here are things to look for in each type.

Slab foundations

Slab foundations are especially popular in many places like Florida and the Gulf Coast where the water table is high and because they are relatively cheap and quick to build.

Especially when built on soil with high clay content, slab foundations are susceptible to sinking and cracking. Signs of problems include cracks in interior walls and exterior brick mortar, as well as doors that no longer close – or that open all by themselves!

If soil expansion and contraction is your problem, then keeping an evenly wet soil around a foundation is the prevention solution. Laying soaker hoses around the perimeter and watering lightly and slowly every couple of days may help.

Pier foundations

Sometimes called pier-and-beam, these foundations are found in many areas across the United States. They use small, square or circular pads of concrete placed into the ground with vertical posts connecting to horizontal beams on the underside of the structure.

Watering as with slab foundations can be helpful. However, problems with pier foundations are more easily fixed, many times using “shims” to level beams or adding more pads and posts for additional support.

Crawl spaces

In cooler climates where slab-on-grade foundations are not used but a basement is not desired, a crawl-space foundation will include footings and foundation walls as short as 16 to 18 inches.

These foundations eliminate many issues found with slab foundations but insulation is necessary because the floor is directly above the crawl space. To deter mold, it is recommended a vapor barrier be installed over the soil.

Basements and walk-outs

In colder regions, home footings have to be extended below the frost line. So if you’re already digging deep to support a home, you may as well add living space – a basement.

According to houseplansandmore.com, humidity is always present in basements, so it is necessary to keep an eye out for mold and mildew. Some preventative measures include dehumidifiers and waterproofing.

A common waterproofing method is to seal the foundation and basement walls with a liquid rubber coating. But houseplansandmore.com cautions waterproof seals are not the ultimate solution.

“An obvious choice is to build on a hill …. Another solution is efficient gutters and downspouts that direct roof runoff clear of the structure. Drainage material such as sand, gravel and other porous substances allow water to pass through rather than pool up, directing excess moisture away from the foundation.

“Good drainage combined with waterproofing can ensure long-lasting moisture protection,” says the site.

Another issue with basements is where soil gases such as radon can affect indoor air quality. Installing a layer of polyethylene sheeting between the drainage pad and the foundation blocks water vapor as well as other potentially harmful materials that can seep into the basement.

Remember, keeping your home’s foundation in good repair is one of the most important chores for a homeowner. Determining if a foundation is in good repair is one of the most important duties of a homebuyer.

Written by CJ Yeoman