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What is a home foundation inspection?

Written By
John Souffront
Last Updated - August 12th, 2022 11:05 AM

home foundation inspection

A foundation inspection is something you must conduct for your home. 

As your home gets older, it is sure to develop structural problems, and that can wreak havoc if left unchecked. 

The strength of your building depends on its foundation, which means you need to have a sound base. 

No matter how solid your building’s structure is, a damaged foundation can endanger its security. So getting an inspection from time to time makes sense, especially if the time for 40-year building recertification is nearing. 

Even though a foundation inspection might sound expensive, you’ll be surprised to know that building inspections are quite budget friendly. That means hiring a home building inspector and conducting an in-depth assessment need not break your bank. 

Also, repairs post the inspection process are cost-effective since all it takes at times is a bit of epoxy and sealant. 

However, it’s good to let a pro home building inspector identify the problem areas precisely and suggest the best remedy. In fact, a qualified foundation inspector can tell you exactly how much you need to spend on the restoration process. 

There’s so much more to residential structure inspections, and it can even get you confused at times. That’s precisely why we seek to make the process hassle-free by compiling a complete guide for a home foundation inspection. So let’s dive in. 

Home Foundation Inspection: FAQs

home foundation inspection

#1. Why do you need a home foundation inspection? 

As you’ve seen, a home foundation inspection is something you should go for on a periodic basis. 

You may ask why exactly do you need one? 

A home with foundational problems can pose a major risk to the safety of its inhabitants. For instance, a home with an unsound foundation can even start to fall apart in no time. So you can have anywhere from collapsing roofs to crumbling floors to cracking walls. 

You don’t want to live in a building as unsafe as that, do you? 

By getting a timely foundation inspection, you can determine the problems with your building early on and get them fixed. 

In fact, getting your home foundation inspected and repaired on time will save you money. That’s because repairing a damaged foundation can be an expensive affair and even cost you more than the total worth of your building. 

There’s more to the story. 

If you are planning on buying an existing home, you should definitely get its foundation inspected by a licensed inspector. Especially if you’re to buy an old building with a 40-year recertification deadline nearing, you shouldn’t miss on house structural inspection

You see, there are higher chances for older buildings approaching their 40 year structural inspection deadline to have foundational issues. So with proper know-how of the building’s foundation, you stand to have the upper hand in negotiations. 

That’s interesting for sure, isn’t it? 

#2. Who should conduct the foundation inspection?

You can even walk around your home and observe the bowing walls, expanding cracks, etc., in detail by yourself. However, unless you’re a housing expert, it’s difficult to know what the problem exactly is, what’s causing it, and how to fix it. So it makes sense to hire a qualified home structural inspector or foundation engineer to conduct your home foundation evaluation. 

A professional home building inspector is well-trained in the nitty-gritty of building foundations. That means a building inspector best knows the reasons that lead to a damaged home foundation and also the right way to fix it. 

The best part is that even if your foundation is beyond repair, a home structural inspector can help you find the best way out. A qualified inspector will precisely tell you the present situation of your home’s structure, the safety issues it poses, and the possible solution. 

Moreover, since the foundation engineers or inspectors don’t make the required repairs themselves, you can rest assured of a trustworthy home foundation evaluation report.  

#3. What does a foundation inspection involve?

To begin with, a structural inspection involves a visual assessment of your home’s exteriors, interiors, and vicinity. Herein, the home structure inspector looks for signs of foundational damage like cracks, moist and damp areas, etc. 

Next, the inspection team will measure the elevation of your floor and check your doors and walls for plumpness. If they find problems, the inspectors will conduct a forensic analysis to determine their exact source. 

If you’re wondering what might cause foundational problems in your home, it can be anywhere from still water to low-quality grading. 

Finally, when the foundation inspection is complete, you’ll get a report from the building inspector detailing recommendations for your home. 

And here’s the catch: you don’t get price quotes for your home foundation or structure repair in this report. So you’ll need to reach out to a home foundation repair company with the inspection report to determine the cost of repairs. 

#4. When should you go for a home structural engineer inspection? 

While a professional home foundation or structural inspection is something you should go for regularly, it is a must-have in some situations. So let’s have a look at them. 

When buying a new home 

If you’re looking to buy a new home, you should definitely get a general home inspection for the property, as it’ll give you a fair idea of damage symptoms. Also, the home inspector may suggest a detailed inspection of the building’s foundation upon sensing any problem.

So you can hire a home structural inspector and get to know the exact foundational problems in the property. 

In fact, if the foundational inspection report flags concerns, it can even be the basis for renegotiating the purchase deal. That means you can either ask the building owner to repair the foundation or negotiate a lower price for the property. 

When selling your home 

It’s a good idea to get a foundation inspection and fix any possible problems when planning to sell your home. That way, you can assure the prospective buyers that your property has a sound foundation and, in return, get a favorable deal. 

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? 

You see, even as you can sell a home with foundational problems, the entire process might be hectic, and you may end up selling it for a loss. 

Upon noticing symptoms of problems

If you notice symptoms of foundational problems, the best thing to do is hire a home foundation inspector and get your building inspected right away. 

The symptoms of home foundation problems can include:

  • Bowing walls 
  • Crack in the walls 
  • Windows and door not closing or opening properly
  • Floor tiles cracking 
  • Uneven flooring
  • Indoor space getting unusually humid 
  • Bugs and mold in the basement area 
  • Crawlspace with still water 

The sooner you get a home structural engineer inspection and fix foundation issues, the better for you and your family. That’s because a timely inspection and repair will prevent larger problems and keep repair costs low

Also, if you detect problems early on, even minor general construction fixes like spalling repair, concrete repair, concrete waterproofing, or concrete restoration, will work. 

We even recommend an infrared thermography inspection by a level II infrared thermographer to learn about possible foundational problems. 

As a fact, the building owners who ignored foundation inspections and underlying structural requirements did end up paying a fortune. 

You don’t want to put yourself in such a situation. Do you? 

So you should get in touch with a home structural inspector even when you notice the minutest of problems. 

After natural calamities

Has your region experienced extreme natural events recently, like an earthquake or hurricane? 

If yes, you should conduct a thorough home foundation inspection, even if your building is in good shape. 

A natural calamity can induce serious damage to the foundation of your home. And even as the outer structure looks sound, there can be some serious home safety issues lurking under your feet. 

By getting a professional inspection, you can determine the extent of your foundation’s damage and how best to restore it. 

#5. How much does it cost to get your home foundation inspected? 

You can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1000 to get your building’s foundation inspected. 

And if you’re wondering what determines the cost for foundation inspection, there are three major factors:

  • Your locality and the market rates there
  • The length and breadth of your building
  • How easily one can access the foundation

The cost of foundation inspection for an average-sized home can be between $400 and $750. On the other hand, a complex inspection involving detailed planning and logistics can even cost you upward of $3000. 

You should know that foundation inspection costs do not include repair costs. You’ll also need to hire a repair contractor to fix the foundation. 

However, it’s better not to avoid or prolong the foundation inspection report. You should get the recommended fixes right after the inspection, as delaying them will only increase the repair costs and endanger your building’s safety. 

DIY Vs. Professional Home Foundation Inspection

home foundation inspection

As you’ve seen, a home foundation inspection is something you can’t afford to ignore for your property. 

But when it comes to getting a house structural inspection, you might well be confused between DIY and hiring a professional inspector. 

And the catch here is that both you as well as the home foundation structural engineer have an equally important role. 

How, you may ask? 

You see, as the property owner, you can frequently check your home’s foundation for any signs of structural damage. 

With regular self-checks, you stand a good chance to find potential problems and repair them before they get worse. You can do so by checking the exterior as well as the basement of your home. And if you observe cracks, water seepage, or sticky doors and windows, do note down the problem in detail. 

However, it’s always better to hire a qualified and seasoned inspector when it comes to having the foundation inspected thoroughly. That’s because DIY inspections have their limitations when it comes to an in-depth foundational study involving technical know-how. 

A home structural inspector brings years of training and experience, along with the ability to understand technical jargon like gravity, force, load-bearing beams, etc. Also, the inspector or inspection team can suggest the right solution to foundation problems and recommend repair contractors. 

So an all-inclusive home foundation inspection needs a bit of both DIY and professional assistance. 

Here’s How You Can Hire The Right Home Structural Inspector

When hiring a home foundation inspector, you should always look for one who’s licensed in the state of Florida. 

Since a licensed home structural inspector understands the local building/housing codes well and is qualified for the job, you can rest assured of a full-proof inspection. 

Further, an unprofessional or unqualified inspector can provide a faulty report about your home’s structure. And that can cause serious problems like basement flooding or wall collapses. 

In fact, such an inspection report can even cause problems while selling or mortgaging your home. 

You don’t want an inexperienced inspector preparing your home foundation inspection report, right? 

So you should check online reviews and look for a highly experienced home structural inspector with a proven track record. 

Wrapping it up

You see, residential and commercial building inspections are a prerequisite for property owners, and for good reasons. We can’t overstate its importance, especially for coastal regions of Florida where climate takes a toll on building foundations. 

Your property may look alright, but you never know at the outset what is the state of your foundation. And that’s precisely why we suggest frequent inspections, apart from the mandatory milestone inspection, and timely fixes of foundational problems before they get worse can cause a disaster. 

John Souffront

John Souffront is a seasoned leader in the construction and engineering industry, with over a decade of experience at the helm of Souffront Construction & Engineering. Known for his unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, John has propelled his firm to the forefront of the field, delivering cutting-edge solutions for complex projects around the country.

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