The foundation is, by far, one of the most important structural elements of your home: it quite literally allows your house to stand tall. Minor cracks shouldn’t be ignored, and gradual leaking water should not be ignored either. When it comes to having your foundation inspected, having a structural engineer thoroughly investigate your foundation, inside and out, is the best way to ensure you get all of the information you need about how to proceed with fixing problems that have been found. There are many reasons why homeowners need to get a foundation or building inspection. Let’s look at them here.
Selling the Home
When homeowners make the decision to sell their home, it is wise to opt for a home inspection. Buyers of the home will often opt for a home inspection of their own, but if a homeowner wants to know if there are going to be any issues standing in the way of the home sale, they would be wise to opt for a home inspection prior to listing their home on the real estate market. In the event that any damage or issues are uncovered, they will have time to fix them before putting their house on the market, saving them potentially thousands of dollars, especially when it comes to foundation repair or water damage due to a leaky foundation.
Leaks in the Foundation
Even if you are not selling your home, there are times when you will want to get a building inspector in to check the stability and structure of your foundation. The number one reason you would need to bring in a professional building inspector such as a structural engineer is if you found water in your basement or crawl space. Do not delay in calling a home inspector to check out the interior and exterior of your foundation. If you can see water, that typically means there is much more where that came from, and the best way to find out is to bring in a professional and have the situation assessed properly. They might even be able to make suggestions on how to fix the foundation, but if nothing else, you’ll know what the problem is so you can make a plan to deal with it properly.
Plants and Trees Growing Too Close to Your Foundation
Sometimes, especially in older homes, larger trees have taken up roots too close to the foundation of the home. This can cause serious damage to the foundation and can certainly cause more than just a leaking problem. Animals, bugs, and other vermin can move into your foundation where the cement has been split from the roots. You may need to get an Arborist to remove the tree, but you certainly need a building inspector to check out the foundation before deciding on how to proceed.
Cracks in Your Walls or Floors
If you happen to notice that there are cracks suddenly forming on your interior walls, or if you notice that your ceramic tiled floor is starting to crack, you might need to get your foundation checked by a professional building inspector. If your foundation has started to move, it can cause your entire house to be off-kilter, which can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage, not to mention you’ll be living in a crooked house if you don’t get it fixed. Sometimes it is necessary to “raise” a house and fix the foundation, and other times it is necessary to secure and brace the foundation from below. This is a very common problem in older homes that do not have concrete foundations and are built on a timber foundation.
Whether you need a building inspector to check for evidence of water damage, to determine if a tree is too close to your house, to ensure the structural stability of your home is intact, or if you just need a general foundation inspection as part of the process of selling your home, it is important to work with a certified building inspector who knows what to look for, how to report it properly, and who can maybe make recommendations on how to fix it. You should not expect to find any issues with your foundation during a routine home inspection, but if you do, be prepared to pay to have it fixed right away. A little investment now means you can enjoy your home for many more years to come. And if you happen to come upon issues related to your foundation, call a professional structural engineer right away to ensure the problem is identified as quickly as possible. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having a foundation specialist fix the surface cracks, undertake minor remedial work or install a beam in your home to maintain its structure and strength (image courtesy of yellowhatinspections.com).