The foundation under your home is the base that everything else sits on, so if there is a problem with the foundation, other parts of the house can be affected. Small cracks in the foundation may not cause a lot of concern at first, but over time, the cracks can become a problem. Having a foundation repair contractor look at the damage and determine the course of action is the best place to start.
A large portion of the damage that occurs to foundations is a result of poor drainage or water getting in and around the concrete. In older homes, drainage tile was not always put in around the foundation, and if the house does not have rain gutters on the roof, water can run straight down along the outside of the foundation.
The water will penetrate the soil and eventually damage the concrete, causing cracks that let more water in and compound the damage. If you have cracks in the foundation that you can see in the basement or crawl space, call a foundation repair contractor and have the foundation inspected to determine how bad the damage is.
In some situations, the outside of the foundation will need exposure to determine if the cracks are inside or all the way through the foundation wall. If the contractor is concerned enough to recommend excavating around the foundation, they more than likely have seen something that concerns them. If there is a lot of damage, the foundation repair contractor may recommend a completely new foundation, but a repair is possible for most foundation damage.
Repairing the Damage
Depending on the severity of the damage to your foundation, the foundation repair contractor may recommend several options for you. Most damage to the foundation is repairable, and while it does mean digging up the ground around the foundation, it can be far less expensive than having to replace the entire foundation.
If you have a block foundation that has some broken blocks in it, the contractor can replace them with new blocks relatively easily. For foundations that have a lot of water damage, it can be helpful to have some drainage put in around the foundation while the other work is underway.
Sealing the foundation once the repairs are complete is a good idea as well. The foundation repair contractor can paint the outside walls of the foundation with waterproofing material so any water that the drain does not carry away will be locked out of the concrete foundation.