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What is a Home Foundation Inspection?

foundation inspection
foundation inspection
ByMariel McClung
Table of Contents

A home foundation inspection verifies the overall state of a foundation. This service provides vital insights about what repairs are needed, whether buying the home is a good idea, and much more. As such, a foundation inspection is essential whether you are a homeowner or a prospective buyer.

What Happens During a Foundation Inspection

While some inspections for foundations can differ, some main steps are involved. Below are some you should know:

  1. Structural evaluation: One of the most essential aspects of this process is evaluating the structural integrity of a foundation. Since a home relies on the foundation for support, it is necessary to ensure that the supports are intact and sturdy.
  2. Home levelness: An inspection will also evaluate the overall levelness of your home and foundation. Sloping floors often indicate that there is a problem with the foundation.
  3. Interior and exterior walkaround: Walking around a foundation’s entire interior and exterior is vital. During this step, the inspector will search for any sign of foundation damage.
  4. Full written report: Following an inspection, the person who performed it will create a complete written report of their findings. You can use this report to get an accurate idea of the state of a foundation.

What Happens During a Foundation Inspection

How Much Does a Foundation Inspection Cost?

Costs for a foundation inspection can vary depending on several factors. However, we are comfortable stating that these inspections cost a few hundred dollars in most cases. While you might not want to spend this money initially, inspecting a foundation is critical as it alerts you to potential problems.

Who Conducts a Foundation Assessment?

The average person, homebuyer, or real estate agent cannot independently perform foundation inspections. Instead, finding an experienced professional to perform this duty is crucial. A structural engineer will most likely be responsible for conducting the inspection.

Familiar Sources of Foundation Damage

Foundation issues can result in many forms of damage, including the problems in the list below:

  1. Differential foundation settlement: If you are a homeowner, you have likely heard of foundation settlement. Remember that a small amount of uniform foundation settlement is average, especially in the first year after construction. However, differential foundation settlement involves uneven shifts. These uneven shifts result in foundation damage and problems throughout your home.
  2. Hydrostatic pressure: When water below the soil’s surface contacts the outside of a foundation, it causes hydrostatic pressure. Enough pressure can cause foundation walls to fail. Often, hydrostatic pressure results in bowing or cracked walls.
  3. Excessive moisture: Standing water and excessive relative humidity can cause multiple issues throughout your home. Excessive moisture damages structures, causes rot, encourages mold and mildew growth, and may result in foul odors.
  4. Structural decay: Over time, many structures in your foundation area will decay. This decay causes the foundation to lose its structural integrity. As that occurs, the entire house will also lose its stability.

Fixing Common Foundation Problems

While the damages in the list above are concerning, the good news is that they are relatively easy to resolve. If you hire a knowledgeable foundation professional, they will likely recommend one of the following fixes:

  1. Repairs for differential foundation settlement: The best way to fix an issue with differential foundation settlement is to install foundation piers. These piers come in helical and push forms. Regardless of the type, the piers extend into the earth until they reach firm strata. The piers also connect to the foundation via a sturdy bracket. The connections the piers form allow the foundation team to level the house and prevent future settlement.
  2. Resolve hydrostatic pressure: Hydrostatic pressure is a significant problem that can cause bowing walls, cracks and water in your foundation. Resolving this pressure requires a foundation team to excavate the exterior of your foundation and install a drainage system.
  3. Repair or replace drainage systems: The drainage structures in and around your foundation collect water and convey it away from the home. Unfortunately, these systems can become broken or clogged. The best approach is to hire a professional to repair or replace these systems.
  4. Structural repairs: This foundation repair service is one of the most straightforward. Since the house depends on foundation structures for support, it is vital to ensure they function correctly. Replacing old or broken structures is one of the best ways to guarantee that.
  5. Grade the land: the land surrounding your foundation should pitch away from it to ensure the water also flows away. Any land that is flat or pitches toward the foundation encourages water to pool and seep inside.
  6. Clear gutters: Clogged gutters overflow and drop water directly next to the foundation. Cleaning the gutters ensures they function correctly.
  7. Install downspout extensions: Some downspouts are too short, causing them to place water next to a foundation. Installing downspout extensions ensures the water moves well away from the home so it does not cause damage.

Ways to Prevent Common Foundation Problems

Find a Professional to Evaluate Your Foundation

Performing a foundation inspection is not something you can do independently. Instead, it is better to seek the help of a knowledgeable professional in your area. Those professionals can diagnose any foundation problem and match you to the ideal repair solution.

AMC911 is the best team you can choose for foundation concerns if you are in the Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, or Norfolk areas. Our team is ready to help you with any worrisome foundation problems. Contact us today to learn more about our fantastic services.


Mariel McClung

Mariel McClung is AMC911’s Vice President and full-time mother. Mariel studied Marketing at The College of William & Mary and is the operational brain behind AMC911.

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