Saturday, April 13, 2024

What Is the Process for a Home Foundation Inspection?


A foundation inspection is an excellent investment for any homeowner. A professional inspection spots damage you might overlook with a quick visual check. Additionally, a foundation repair contractor can typically note causes of damage such as poor drainage, excess weight, and so on. In turn, you can make corrections to your property as needed, preventing future foundation damage!

Knowing about a foundation inspection can help any homeowner prepare for the process and appreciate why it’s so helpful. With this in mind, check out some vital information about these inspections, what to expect, and what they can find around your property. Click here to learn more.

The Basic Process of a Foundation Inspection

First, note the basic process of a foundation inspection. The first step in any inspection is a visual check of your home’s perimeter. A contractor will check exposed foundation concrete for cracks, chips, spalling, and other signs of damage. He or she will also check exterior walls and areas around the roof for cracking and sinking.

Next, a contractor will look for signs of foundation damage inside and outside the home, away from the foundation. Common signs of foundation damage include:

  • Cracks along interior walls and across ceiling panels and tiles
  • Cracked or popped baseboards and crown molding
  • Drywall panels separating from each other or the wall behind them
  • Popped drywall nails
  • Gaps in room corners and around door and window frames
  • Doors and windows no longer level and even or that stick
  • Doors that swing open on their own
  • Popped roof shingles and cracks along the roof surface
  • Dampness along concrete floors such as in basements or laundry rooms
  • Mold growth along walls and mildew underneath carpeting
  • Damp, musty smells especially in basements

A foundation repair contractor will also check a crawl space under piers and beams as well as inside basements. He or she will look for cracks, dampness, drafts, and other signs of damage.

How Do I Prepare for a Foundation Inspection?

Many homeowners wonder if they can stay home during a foundation inspection. Truthfully, not only can you stay home but most contractors recommend it! One reason is that a contractor should inspect an entire home, looking for wall cracks and signs of damage. In turn, they might need to be in an attic, basement, mudroom, and so on. Obviously, a homeowner should be there to let them into those areas!

Additionally, information provided by a homeowner can help a contractor with their foundation inspection. For instance, they might ask if wall cracks have gotten bigger recently or if you’ve noticed a pest infestation. They will also usually ask about the home’s age, repairs performed, and the like.

As for preparation, don’t think this is the time to cover unsightly wall cracks or mold on the walls! You also don’t want to try to hide musty smells and other such issues around your property. While these issues are unpleasant, they alert a foundation repair contractor to damage and needed repairs.

What Do Inspectors Look for In a Foundation?

In addition to obvious damage, an inspector will check for risks of future damage. For instance, they might check if there is soil piling up around a home’s foundation. Improper drainage and grading risks moisture on a home’s foundation and future cracks and other damage.

A foundation repair contractor might also check for signs that the foundation is not level and even. He or she might check door and window frames with a level and test floors for warping. They might also look for signs of leaks such as moisture forming on concrete floors or underneath carpeting.

For homes with basements, a contractor will check for cracks and spalling as well as dampness. Piers and beams also need a full crawl space inspection, looking for sagging and gaps between pieces. These all indicate damage and needed repairs or replacement.

How Often Should a Foundation Be Inspected?

A new foundation might need an inspection after 5 years, and then consider an inspection every 3 years after that. However, there are some situations that might warrant more frequent inspections! Schedule annual foundation inspections if any of these describe your property:

  • Overly moist soil risks moisture collecting around foundation concrete. Schedule more frequent inspections in tropical areas or if your property’s soil remains damp for any reason.
  • Added weight on a home puts pressure on a foundation. If you’ve installed a deck, stone floors or countertops, or otherwise added weight to the home, consider frequent foundation checks!
  • Floods, earthquakes, and other such natural disasters put pressure on a home’s foundation and risk damage. After any such disaster, schedule an inspection.
  • Over time, foundation materials tend to degrade and break down. In turn, you might schedule annual inspections for homes 20 years old or older.  

Also, schedule inspections if you notice any signs of potential damage, as listed above. Don’t simply cover over wall and ceiling cracks or replace musty carpeting! Instead, consider these issues as warning signs of potential damage. Have that foundation at least inspected, so you know if it needs repairs along with these other areas of your home.

How Much Does a Foundation Inspection Cost?

Many companies offer a free foundation repair inspection and price quote. While you might assume this means they’ll only do a quick inspection or “find” damage that isn’t really there, these inspections are often an excellent choice for homeowners. Why schedule this inspection for your home?

One reason to call a company offering free inspections is that they’ll usually be skilled at spotting otherwise overlooked signs of damage. Also, their inspections are typically quite thorough, checking both inside and outside the home for damage. Most will also offer a written report as to your home’s foundation and its condition overall.

Also, remember that you can still schedule inspections from various companies when deciding on repairs. This allows you to compare various reports and quotes and then choose a company that you want to perform those repairs. In turn, your home will be in good condition from the ground up!