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San Antonio cited as the second-worst US metro for foundation issues

San Antonio tops the list of Texas cities with the most foundation issues. How to tell if you have a problem and where to find funding for the fix.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — It's a list you don't want to rank high on, but Texas holds half the spots on Groundworks's top metro areas with foundation issues. That includes San Antonio, coming in at No. 2. 

The No. 1 reason for that?

“San Antonio area has a lot of clay soil,” said Tim Tracy, with Groundworks

Lucky us. It's the shifting and settling of the soil that causes problems, and they were only exacerbated by our recent winter blast. 

“It wouldn’t be the typical pressures on the outside of the foundation that homes in your area would be used to or even designed for,” Tracy said.

There are obvious signs your foundation is a victim of San Antonio soil.

“Gaps around door framing or window framing where that caulking would be to weatherize it, that would start to separate a little bit,” Tracy said. “The other way that you’ll see if you have a brick or concrete masonry units, a block wall, you’ll start to see a stairstep crack coming down.”

Or your fireplace could show signs of a faulty foundation.

“Because of the weight of the chimney, all those bricks stacked in that small footprint,” Tracy said. “That will typically be where a customer will see that or the homeowner will see the chimney starting to lean away from the house.”

Repairs can cost thousands of dollars, anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. Homeowner’s insurance is unlikely to cover the fix.

“Some of the most common reasons for foundations needing repair aren’t covered by your policy and those include just wear and tear or the Earth moving over time,” said Sarah George, an insurance expert with Finder.com. “If a foundation professional says that the issue was caused by poor drainage in your yard, the earth shifting or just the soil compacting and expanding, then this is considered general maintenance or wear and tear and the homeowner is responsible for that.”

Meaning the cost is coming out of your account. But you might be able to get some help.

“Those include a personal loan for home improvement,” George said. “Many states or even the federal government will have different programs available for different situations. So homeowners can talk to maybe a bank representative, a financial advisor or even a housing counselor from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to see what options are available in their area.”

George said some homeowners could also qualify for a personal loan for home improvement to help with the cost.

Those cracks in the concrete will only get more costly if you wait to repair.

“The thing that homeowners really would need to know with that price tag is that it doesn’t get any less expensive of an investment. The longer it goes, it starts to crack your drywall and offset your doors,” Tracy said. “There’s a lot of aesthetic fixes that would need to be added on to that price tag if you were to let it go. The least expensive way to do it is to address it immediately so that you can take care of it before it causes structural issues.”

Look for a specialty contractor that deals with foundations. Make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured plus see if their work comes with a lifetime warranty should any cracks dare to reappear.

If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@Kens5.com or call us as 210-377-8647.

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