The Home Foundation Inspection Process

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 foundation 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. An experienced 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 da

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Methods For Repairing Home Foundations

Most home owners are not aware that the home foundation needs to be routinely checked as even small cracks can lead to formidable problems at a later stage. There is a natural tendency amongst many of us to ignore or postpone foundation repair without realizing what such negligence can cost us later. The main purpose of home foundation is to transfer the entire home’s weight to the ground, soil and rock on which it rests.

Foundation problems can be a big bother if not attended to promptly and under the direction of a professional contractor or foundation engineer. You must do necessary homework to find a reliable foundation repair contractor for the job. As usual, the lowest quote should not be the sole criterion. Quality foundation repairs need specialized equipment and specially trained engineers to perform the work and some of them may demand a higher price.

Detecting foundation problems may not be difficult if the foundation is regularly checked for possible repairs. The signs of dilapidation often include visible major or hairline cracks on the exterior of the home’s foundation. Though minor cracks may not be a sign of serious foundation problems, significant major cracks should cause concern and necessitate urgent repairs. Cracked and damaged foundations have the potential to cause serious structural damage to the home and may eventually make the structure unsafe for people to live in.

It is also a fact that if a home has significant foundation problems, prospective buyers may insist the seller repair the foundation before effecting purchase.

Structural engineers are the ones to be summoned immediately if a home shows serious foundation problems. The engineer will be able to diagnose the source of the problem and propose potential repairs to fix the problems. It is critically important to promptly deal with the foundation problems before the situation worsens. Foundation problems often progressively deteriorate over time and can cause major damage to other parts of the structure if left unattended.

Due to the complexity of foundation repairs the best approach would be to hire a structural engineer followed by a trained foundation repair contractor. These two professionals will make sure that your home is fixed scientifically and safely. Make sure your foundation problems are fixed only by qualified and experienced professionals and not by any ill-trained or under-qualified engineers.

One of the things you have to be very watchful when repairing a shifting foundation is to avoid concentrating loads to other points of the foundation. A reliable and experienced engineer will of course make sure this does not happen. Foundation repair is a well-researched industry and there are many methods and products that will help to make permanent foundation repairs.

The traditional method of foundation repair is to erect piers to raise the foundation off the expansive clay soil. The piers must be installed through the expansive or weak soils to lend stability to the structure. There are four major categories of piers – steel push piers, helical piers, micro piles and concrete piles. Each of these has its own merits and logical applications. Foundation repair can easily turn out to be the most expensive repair that one will make to a property.

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