How to Spot Foundation Damage

How to Spot Foundation Damage

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Foundation Damage is a serious problem that can ruin the structure of a home very easily. Luckily, there are telltale signs that home owners and home inspectors can look for to see if there are any foundation issues. This is a problem you don’t want to deal with after moving in to your new home!

Exterior Inspection

The exterior walls are a good start for your evaluation. Each wall should run perfectly straight from the right to left, and the top to bottom. If you notice a slight curvature inward, or a bulge outward, there’s a good chance that the house is or has been actively moving after construction. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your chimney if you have one. If it leans, has a tilt, or sits at an angle, these are signs of structural movement that may be coming from foundation damage.

The exterior inspection should consist of walking the perimeter of your house and looking for cracks, flaking, or crumbling areas of the baseline foundation. By tapping those areas with a heavy tool like a hammer, you can test if these areas will break off of the wall easily. If this happens, the material is definitely damaged – and may be further damaged over time.

Interior Inspection

Check your basement by inspecting vertical posts to see if they stand at a perfect 90-degree angle. Check to see if any floors sag, and also inspect the walls to see if the bow.

Ceramic floor tiles may become damaged without any human forces such as dropping something on them, and if they are broken, check to see if the cracks are hairline, stair stepped, L-shaped, or run a line across an extended area.

If your sliding windows are sticky and you have trouble closing them, it may be because the foundation is damaged and slightly shifting, making these sliding rails misaligned. If there’s no residue but it’s still sticky – this is a telltale sign.

Now What?

If you’ve noticed any of these issues, it’s a good idea to contact a structural engineer and a home inspector to confirm these issues and provide solutions. Acting quick to fix any foundation damage is crucial. If these issues are left for too long, the cost and size of these fixes skyrocket!


Steve Pockett

Steve Pockett

Steve Pockett (RHI, NHI) is the owner of HMP Home Inspections and has 20+ years of expertise with home and building inspections. Nationally certified by many leading inspection organizations and agencies, Steve and HMP are able to provide educational and informative inspections that exceed industry standards using leading technologies. Looking for an inspection? Contact us!

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