A foundation inspection is always an excellent idea, especially if you’ve noticed any telltale signs requiring quality foundation repair services. The common problem is that property owners frequently take one of two positions: Either they think an issue isn’t serious or they’re too intimidated by unknowns such as the inspection process and repair cost.
Both stances only put a foundation on shaky ground. Being proactive and informed helps property owners dispel fear and gain confidence in their structure. This guide will walk you through what’s involved in a foundation inspection and the classic signs that you may need one.
Why You Might Need a Foundation Inspection (and What It Involves)
Foundation inspections are a good idea for those who own a property and those buying one. The first group gets any necessary maintenance or repairs to keep the building safe or improve it for a higher resale price. Buyers get double benefit from a foundation inspection – it provides invaluable data about their possible purchase while satisfying mortgage companies and insurers.
An inspection may also be necessary if signs of foundation damage are visible. The inspection process involves three basic stages:
1. Decide if You Need Professional Help
A visit from a general inspector is necessary for buyers, whereas sellers need a foundation maintenance or repair services team. The latter’s experience allows them to conduct a thorough inspection to discover whether the foundation shows signs of strain that may affect present or future safety and resale value.
2. Exterior and Interior Check
Foundation issues can originate inside or outside a home. A foundation maintenance team will study a property’s exterior for signs of problems such as soil expansion, hydrostatic pressure, and natural interference from trees and the like. Examining all rooms, including the basement and crawl space, should reveal foundational stress inside the property.
3. Assessment of Previous Repairs
Foundation inspections often reveal subpar repairs or good work that has weakened over time. The investigating team will find any issues and determine a remedy. The best-case scenario is that repairs have held up well and don’t need any further attention.
The in-depth inspection begins when your foundation team starts looking for the typical giveaways that structural stress is already underway. They will take measurements, determine whether there’s any tilting in your home, and let you know if the foundation problems have started to spread into the wider structure.
The 9 Indicators of Foundation Issues
An inspection takes a comprehensive look at everything from windows, doors, and ceilings to piers, beams, and joists. Foundation issues can affect every property’s surface and compromise even the toughest materials. Here are some signs of trouble:
1. Cracked Concrete Walls
Concrete can crack in three ways: vertically, horizontally, or in a stair-step fashion, which looks exactly like it sounds. Vertical cracks are the least worrying, but all are good reasons to have your property inspected immediately. It may simply be concrete shrinkage, or it may indicate deeper foundation problems.
2. Rotting Wood
The East Coast faces a particular problem with wood rot, leading to structural instability and other issues that can endanger occupants and the structure. Rot is often to blame wherever excessive humidity, musty odors, or springy floors are present.
3. Sagging or Flexing Floors
Uneven floors can indicate problems with the stability of the crawl space. Foundation maintenance experts will diagnose whether the property needs a crawl space stabilizer. Gutter problems or improper landscape grading can also cause floors to sag.
4. Drywall Cracks
Drywall cracks are often a relatively easy fix, but they can signal that the foundation or frame is under growing pressure.
5. Bowing Walls
Bowing walls means something is exerting pressure, which typically comes from one of several sources. Sometimes it’s a simple age issue, where the wall will require support or replacement. Poor foundation construction or invasive tree roots may also be to blame.
6. Cracked Slab Floors
Even the untrained eye can’t miss this sign. The professional skill lies in finding out just how serious the crack is and what exactly is causing it. These can vary widely in length and height, but they all require an expert to make sure they’re not serious.
7. Mortar Cracks
This issue is common in brick structures and usually appears in the stair-step formation. Bowed walls and dropped floors may also crack mortar, as can foundation settlement. The latter cause usually leads to mortar cracks that widen on one side.
8. Uneven Basement Slab Floors
This can manifest as noticeable settlement between the floor and the foundation wall or a gradual incline in one side of a space. Soil settlement is a common culprit – or the issue may stem back to the initial pouring of the foundation.
9. Wet or Damp Crawl Space
Excess moisture in your crawl space can come from water getting in through foundation cracks as well as leaky window wells or bad plumbing. This can become a serious structural issue that a homeowner can remedy with basement waterproofing or crawl space repair. Processes such as encapsulation or conditioning can also resolve a damp crawl space.
There’s a fix for any problem a foundation inspection may reveal. The biggest threat to your structure and finances is delaying taking action or ignoring it entirely.
Common Pitfalls of Delaying a Foundation Inspection
There is a reason why foundations are the leading cause of structural claims in 80% of all cases related to this issue. Property owners often do not understand the need for a proper inspection and how it can prevent so much trouble. A single hour of assessment can save people, possessions, and property from lasting damage in the following ways:
- Foundation inspectors can catch minor issues before they become problems. Things like excess moisture, mold damage, and insects often start small but can soon become serious threats if not handled quickly.
- Don’t dismiss any foundation issues your neighbors have. Their problems could provide a valuable warning that your property is also suffering or will soon.
- Foundation issues left uninspected don’t stay underground. They can damage a property right up to its roof while compromising your sewage, plumbing, and electrical systems.
- Ignoring weather patterns can be a costly oversight. A good time for an inspection is before or after any instances of heavy rainfall or drought.
- Delaying or bypassing a foundation inspection can lead to more expensive problems. Negatively impacted resale value alone can see property owners potentially lose thousands of dollars.
The cost of foundation inspection and remediation is always less than combined medical, plumbing, and electrical bills, which are all possible expenses if you delay. Property owners should speak to a trained foundation repair services team to provide expert insight and transparent prices to get their structure back on solid ground.
Contact the LUX Experts With Your Questions
Your foundation relies on you to know the danger signs and take action. LUX Foundation Solutions has helped hundreds of property owners in Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, and Central Virginia to find and repair their foundation issues.
Our team provides friendly, reliable, and free inspections to fully assess the current state of your foundation and suggest the best solutions. Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to speak to an expert.