Buying a Home? Here’s How to Tell If the Foundation Is Structurally Sound

Purchasing a home is a major investment.

If you’ve been looking at properties that were built before 1930, there’s a chance these buildings may have some foundation issues.

Here are 4 things to be on the look for when shopping for older real estate:

  1. Doors and windows that stick: While this may not sound like a huge issue – let alone a deal breaker – when a property’s doors and windows begin to stick, this could mean there are larger problems with the home’s foundation. Whether the foundation’s structural supports have improper spacing or rotting, both can be expensive to repair and/or replace.
  2. Uneven/sloping floors: While doing your walk-through, if you notice uneven or sloping floors, this should be a big red flag. For starters, this means the home is not level. The underlying causes for this can range from cracks in the property’s foundation to severe damage, rotting or settlement to its supporting structures (like its posts, piers, girders, joists or even its footings).
  3. Cracks in the walls above the building’s doors and windows: If cracks in these areas look like they’re growing in length and/or width, this can also be a sign of foundation damage. It’s important to note how easy it is to mask these types of cracks with simple repairs, so if you see fresh paint or other repairs in these areas, make sure you ask the agent about what work has been done to the home and why.
  4. Foundation cracks: Finally, after you have inspected the home’s interior and exterior, ask to see the basement or crawl space of the structure. If you see any cracks in the walls, be sure to contact a foundation inspector to examine the area. Foundation repair companies, like Julian Construction, can conduct a thorough inspection before you purchase the property.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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