Foundation failures are some of the most common worries for the average home buyer, and understandably so. Foundation failures can result in costly repairs, and can sometimes cause additional damage if the repairs are not completed properly.
First: the overwhelming majority of homes I've inspected have not had evidence of foundation defects. This means that homes with foundation problems of any kind are in the minority, to be sure.
How can you tell if your home has foundation concerns? First, the evidence will usually present itself in other locations, and in other ways. One of the ways I look for foundation defects is to observe cracks on the exterior. Cracks on the exterior do not mean you have foundation failures. However, cracks on the exterior, along with similar damage on the interior near the same location can mean we may have a foundation problem.
The photo above was taken at a home with obvious settlement cracks on the exterior and near the same location on the interior. This home was built with a pier and beam foundation, so it therefore had a crawl space. Unfortunately, many crawl spaces are inaccessible. However, this one was accessible, and it didn't take long to establish why there were so many cracks on the exterior and interior.
The ironic thing with this home was that the homeowner claimed to have already paid a foundation repair company to fix his foundation. I don't know whether that was true or not, as that's not a part of my job. But If that were true, the foundation repair company certainly let him down.
Some contractors place themselves in an adversarial position when it comes to home inspectors. Again, if this homeowner is telling the truth, this is a great example of why a professional home inspector is so important! I do not gain or lose because this home has foundation problems. Yet, a foundation contractor has already made $$ off of this home, and some other foundation contractor likely will again. This underscores the importance of having an unbiased expert to take a look at your property before it's too late!
I don't pass or fail homes: the home tells it's own story, I just record it!
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