by Shawn Kyles
A home foundation inspection by a qualified expert is not only an important part of foundation maintenance, it can prevent the need for expensive repairs or foundation replacement. You’ll also get peace of mind knowing that your foundation is in good shape.
When you request an inspection, both the outside and inside of your home will be checked for evidence of foundation problems.
When looking at interior and exterior walls, the inspector will check for cracks, bowing, shifting and leaning. Cracks are evaluated based on location, size and direction. Not all cracks in bricks, plaster, masonry, drywall or plaster are an indicator of structural damage. Sometimes the cracks are the result of normal house settling. However, poor soil conditions and other factors can contribute to excessive settling, which can lead to foundation problems. For this reason, soil conditions will also be looked at, along with slopes and drainage.
The inspector will also determine if the foundation is straight by looking down the length of the foundation wall from each corner. Doors and windows will be inspected to ensure they open and close properly. Basements and crawl spaces will be entered and assessed to determine if the posts and supports are straight and secure.
Concrete slabs will be evaluated for chips, cracks, flaking and shifting, including sidewalk, patio and garage slabs. Floors above the basement or crawl space will be checked for sloping, sinking and other types of displacement. Chimneys will also be inspected for cracks, broken bricks and tilting.
Your foundation inspector will look for any areas where water has entered the building. Water is a foundation’s worst enemy. Any standing water near or on the foundation (or even the roof) could mean trouble. If there is evidence of a moisture issue, your inspector will look for the cause of the problem.
The inspector will take notes on anything that has been found, summarize the findings and make cost-effective recommendations on any repairs that are needed. Even when the damage seems severe, there may be ways to correct the problem instead of replacing the foundation.
The ability to diagnose not only existing but potential foundation issues is critical. Identifying the underlying cause of the situation is also vital. When a foundation problem isn’t properly addressed, it can result in more costly repairs later on.
Choosing the right foundation inspector for your property is important. Look for someone with extensive home foundation inspection experience. A foundation expert who has conducted thousands of inspections will know how to properly evaluate your home and property. Many times foundation damage isn’t obvious. A professional will not overlook even the smallest indicator of a foundation problem.
If you are aware of any type of foundation damage, request an inspection as soon as possible. Foundation issues don’t disappear over time, they usually get worse. In between inspections, record any foundation changes you are aware of, such as a crack growing in size. Keep you drain spouts debris-free and stay alert for even minor structural damage.