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What Is a Foundation Inspection?

Building Inspector Checks Foundation
A building inspector checking out the foundation of a new building.

The two main reasons for needing a foundation inspection are selling or buying a home and noticing damage in your foundation, basement, or crawl space. For those wanting to purchase a home and are taking out a mortgage to do so, the lending institution requires a home inspection before issuing the mortgage. This includes the foundation. For those looking to sell their home, it’s important to know the status of the foundation so you can price your home accordingly.

If you are trying to purchase a home, a general inspector will be the one assessing the home for any issues. However, if you’re trying to appraise your home for selling, go with a company specializing in foundations and basements. They will tell you what you need to do to repair any problems such as cracks in the foundation. In a real estate transaction, if your home does not pass inspection, you may have to repair the foundation before the buyer will accept your terms and the agreed-upon price.

Foundation and/or basement damage can reduce a selling price by thousands of dollars. The worse the damage, the less money you will get or you should offer to pay. As a seller, you also run the risk of a potential buyer turning away because of the cost of required repairs. As a buyer, you want to know what those repairs are and how much time, effort, and cost it will take to deal with them.

When the foundation experts arrive, they will look at both the outside and inside of the foundation, basement and/or crawl space. They search for any signs that the concrete is compromised, has structural integrity issues, or has been infiltrated by water.

These signs include cracks or crumbling areas in the concrete. This means outside pressure is being exerted on the concrete. This pressure stems from the soil around and under the foundation that absorbs water from rain or melting snow. The soil expands and pushes against the building material. Once water enters a crack or crumbling area, it wears away at the concrete, worsening the damage.

Specialists will also look for water spots, pooling water, and mold. Mold can be toxic to those with respiratory illnesses such as allergies and asthma, as well as to those with weaker immune systems, such as children. Mold must be cleared before selling a home. Make sure whoever removes the mold is a certified mold remediator; otherwise, you risk mold spores being released and multiplying if the remediator is not properly trained.

Inspectors will check to see if previous repairs have been made, including patch jobs or crack filling. If previous work was done, it means the home has been damaged before. If repairs were properly made and the source of the problem was fixed, then you’re fine; if the source wasn’t addressed, you will have future problems.

Bowed walls, wide cracks, and numerous hairline cracks mean water is getting in somewhere. If you hired a specialist to look at the foundation, he or she will make suggestions on what to do to fix the root of the problem. This might range from installing a drainage system to sloping the outside landscaping away from the house.

Regardless of your reason for needing a foundation inspection, it’s best to hire a specialist so you will know exactly what the issue is and how to fix it. Acculevel has been servicing the Midwest for decades. We are a family-owned business specializing in foundation, basement and crawl-space waterproofing. If you are planning on selling your home or you’ve noticed cracks in the concrete and water spots on the floor, Acculevel is here to help. For a free in-home estimate, give our expert crew a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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