How to Conduct a Home Foundation Inspection
If you suspect your home’s foundation may need repairs, a visual foundation inspection can detect obvious red flags. But you don’t want to pay for an inspection if you don’t have to. And you don’t want to leave the problem unresolved if there truly is foundation damage.
This article outlines a few simple tips on how to inspect your foundation for damage. You can run through this visual checklist on your own – and determine whether or not it’s time to get a foundation repair estimate.
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A Visual Checklist
Moisture, Mold, and Poor DrainageWater damage is an early warning sign of foundation problems – especially in heavy rainfall regions like North Carolina and South Carolina. While not conclusive, the following symptoms should set off alarm bells:
- If your home is surrounded by standing puddles that don’t drain properly after the last storm, this may be an indication of poor drainage. Left unchecked, this can easily lead to foundation failure.
- Another symptom is extreme changes in the water composition of your surrounding soil. If your yard goes from wet to dry (or vice versa) too quickly, the expansive soil can place tremendous pressure on your home’s foundation.
- Moisture and mold (especially in the basement) is another danger sign. Sometimes, it just means you need to ventilate your foundation a little better. But it’s worth bringing in a consultant if the problem doesn’t go away.
Walls Are Buckling or Leaning and Window or Doors Won’t Close CorrectlyIf you can answer “yes” to any of the following, it’s probably time to call an expert:
- Do your windows or doors no longer close like they used to?
- Do supportive beams seem to lean or curve (especially in basement crawl spaces)?
- Do the floors slope or buckle under your weight (more than normal)?
- Do you notice any leaning or bulging in your interior or exterior walls?
Crumbling and Chipping ConcreteWhen inspecting your home’s foundation, do you notice any concrete crumbling or chipping? This is not a telltale sign of foundation damage, as there can be many causes of concrete damage, but it is cause for concern. Well-mixed concrete is designed to last. True, seasonal contractions and expansions may result in some degradation, but if you can chip away at your foundation or basement walls with a screwdriver, it’s best to contact us ASAP.
Cracks, Fissures, and RupturesCracks are the most obvious signs of foundation damage. But they are also the hardest to interpret correctly. As homes settle with time, they often develop “acceptable” cracks. Not all cracks are insignificant, though. Does your house exhibit any of the following signs:
- Vertical cracks on interior or exterior walls?
- Staircase cracks that zigzag?
- Cracks that extend into the base of the foundation floor?
- Horizontal cracks on foundation walls?
- Non-uniform cracks that are wider at the bottom or top?
- Cracks in which 1 edge juts out from the rest of the wall or floor?