Scheduling a foundation inspection is arguably one of the best moves any homeowner can make. The entire property relies on the foundation and its related components, like crawl spaces, staying in good condition. Maintaining this will prevent structural instability, pest infestations, and threats to health like mold and mildew.
The best foundation repair companies offer free home inspections and estimates, meaning there’s no good reason to skip this essential maintenance check. The process itself can be broadly categorized into the exterior and interior parts of the inspection. This guide will break down how both stages comprehensively assess a foundation and who to call for the most reliable service.
Why You Might Need a Foundation Inspection (Without Knowing It)
Foundation issues don’t always display themselves in ways that are easy to spot. The problem often manifests itself in parts of the home where it can be written off as something else. Call the foundation inspection pros right away if you’re noticing any of the following telltale signs:
Cracks Anywhere in the Home
Cracks above windows and doors or on walls and ceilings may be warning signs of a failing foundation. Homeowners don’t have to worry about these when they know the right way to handle them.
Signs of Rodents
Weak foundations and compromised crawl spaces are open invitations for mice and other uninvited guests to move in. Homeowners should know the common signs of rodents and some humane ways to deal with them. Book a foundation inspection sooner rather than later and you may never have to worry about it.
Musty Odors in Your Basement or Crawl Space
Unpleasant smells in the home can often be traced to the foundation, where moisture in the form of pooling or vapor has started to cause mold. Poor crawl space ventilation or humidity problems can also cause bad aromas.
Leaks or Pooling Water
Experiencing water in areas you shouldn’t? It could be a plumbing issue, or it may be a foundation problem. Plumbing issues can eventually become foundation threats in their own right, so they must be dealt with quickly.
Weather Is On the Extreme Side
Those living in regularly wet or dry zones have more reason to book a foundation inspection than those in temperate areas. Long-term exposure to extremes of temperature can turn the soil surrounding a home into an enemy. Anyone experiencing short-term extremes such as floods, heavy rain, or drought should follow that with a foundation inspection to check for signs of damage.
It’s a good thing for homeowners to stay vigilant about the signs of potential foundation issues, but an untrained eye can only do so much. The surest way to separate false alarms from legitimate threats is to call the professionals for a detailed walkthrough of the property.
The Steps in a Thorough Foundation Inspection
The exterior and interior inspection stages provide a top-to-bottom checkup for a property. Experienced foundation repair teams can easily spot signs of potential and actual risks that frequently escape a homeowner’s attention. The core practices are:
Checking the Perimeter
Inspectors will look for gaps in the walls that may show structural degradation or let in water or pests. They will also search the exterior for any signs of cracks. Good drainage is essential for foundation health, so inspectors will look at the soil to see if it’s overloaded with moisture and exerting hydrostatic pressure. They will also inspect foundation walls end to end to look for signs of bulging or bowing.
The pros will assess the level of plants, brush, or trees on or near the property. They may recommend that growth next to the home be trimmed back or removed to stop rodents from using it as an entry method. Tree roots may also be intruding too close to your foundation walls and causing pressure.
Searching for Interior Cracks
Inspectors will check walls, ceilings, and floors in the upper levels for cracking. They’ll also examine lower levels of the home for this and any signs of moisture entry. Even the slightest amount of moisture in a small crack can breed mold and mildew to cause health problems.
The Smell Test
Living in a space day-to-day can get an inhabitant used to odors that visitors can notice. Inspectors will quickly pick up on musty smells that can indicate or lead to foundation issues, and they’ll have expert advice on tackling the problem.
Crawl Space Assessment
Pier and beam homes have crawl spaces that the inspector will enter to look for further signs of moisture, instability, or pest problems. Inspectors may recommend installing a vapor barrier or another form of sealant to protect you and your home from dangerous risks.
Examining Joists and Beams
These essential supports may be showing signs of water damage, rot, or insect attack. Inspectors will look for uneven floors, which are a classic sign of a struggling foundation. Foundation maintenance experts will advise on the right way to repair these issues before they further compromise structural integrity.
Looking for Further Signs of Foundation Settlement
Soil shifting, weather, the passage of time, and poor construction can all speed up how quickly a home’s foundation sinks. Inspectors will test the function of doors and windows to confirm that they’re opening and closing smoothly. Stubborn function is sometimes an indication of foundation sink.
The beauty of a foundation inspection is that it’s never too early or too late to book one. Homeowners gain peace of mind in both cases that every issue has been isolated and addressed to keep the structure and its residents safe for years to come.
Speak to the Experts With Any Questions
LUX Foundation Solutions can take the stress out of foundation inspections by making our process and pricing transparent. Our free inspection can find problems even at the earliest stages and deliver solutions that fix issues at the deepest level, not just on the surface. Contact our expert team today to make an appointment.