Foundation Inspections: What Homeowners Should Expect

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Foundation inspections are an important part of maintaining your home–whether you’re looking to move into a new one or simply maintaining your current house. Not only does it ensure the structural integrity of your home, but it can also help you identify any potential problems before they become bigger issues. In this article, we will discuss what homeowners should expect from a foundation inspection and why they are so important. We will also cover when to have your foundation inspected and if it will affect your homeowner’s insurance.

What Is a Foundation Inspection?

A foundation inspection, generally carried out by a general or foundation contractor, involves having an experienced professional come to take a look at a home’s foundation for signs of damage, such as cracking on the foundation, floors, or walls. A quality foundation inspector will begin with a discussion with the homeowner regarding to any changes they’ve noticed while living in their home, or other experiences such as foundational settling or the appearance of damage like slanted floors or sticky doors.

What Do Foundation Inspections Look For?

At its essence, foundation inspectors look for any potential signs of decay or damage that may lead to safety issues or further damage down the line. This includes looking for cracks in fascia boards, brick veneer, or slab. Foundations made from pier and beam require entering the crawlspace for a thorough investigation, looking for the presence of musty odors or signs of decay. Your foundation expert will also look at joints and potential areas of weakness in the foundation for signs of decay that will need to be addressed before further damage is caused.

Aside from their external analysis, a foundation inspector will look at the interior of your home to ensure that floors are level—indicating a level foundation. However, these measurements can be skewed as much as six inches—so it’s important to ask your local foundation inspector what their recommended next steps for repairs might be. And in some lucky cases, homeowners are lucky and cracks are purely cosmetic, not structural!

Why Are Foundation Inspections Important?

The foundation for your home is one of the most crucial components of the whole building. It is the basis for keeping everything within appropriately level and intact. Any damage that can occur to your foundation may be indicative of larger problems to come, which, if addressed in a timely fashion, can save you money and hassle down the road by not allowing problems to escalate.

Regular foundation inspections are an affordable process that can offer families great piece of mind in knowing that their home is structurally sound. This simple process can keep families safe by catching problems early and fixing them before they develop into more complicated, more expensive problems.

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When to Have Your Foundation Inspected

If you’re a prospective home buyer, you may want to consider having the foundation inspected on the home you’re interested in before placing an offer. Having a home’s foundation inspected prior to engaging in negotiations can save you from walking into a bad deal that may end up with costly problems, negative equity, or even a negative impact on your home insurance.

If you are already a homeowner, a part of actively maintaining your home means regular foundation inspections. You don’t have to wait for obvious signs of damage like sloped floors, cracked walls, or musty odors to emerge before seeking an expert opinion. Especially if you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall, you’ll want to make sure that your house has proper drainage away from the foundation, and that the soil supporting your foundation is not being eroded by natural forces. Though it may seem counterintuitive, a large part of keeping your foundation free from standing water and the potential for concurrent damage starts with installing quality gutters and water drainage systems. This escorts rainfall away from your foundation and out to a more productive area, such as your lawn, garden, or a city drain.

How Often Should You Have Your Foundation Inspected?

The important role your home’s foundation plays in its overall safety and structural integrity cannot be overstated. This is why many experts recommend inspecting your home as much as twice a year, especially after severe weather events or seasonal changes. This can help you spot problems in their early stages and correct them before they advance onto more dangerous, costlier projects.

Will Foundation Inspections Affect My Insurance?

Of course, the answer to this question varies from insurance company to insurance company—but for the most part, there are some potentialities that are covered by most homeowners’ insurance and others that are not. For example, earthquakes and floods have a high likelihood of causing foundational damage, and therefore most insurance companies are not willing to cover them. However, foundational damage caused by accidents like hurricanes and fires may be covered by insurance, as they are considered lower-risk events.

Generally, most home insurance policies cover the cost of foundation repair in the event of one or more of the following events:

  • Explosions
  • Vandalism
  • Falling aircraft or objects
  • Lightning or fire
  • Wind events
  • Vehicle damage
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Water damage from plumbing problems
  • Or damage from heavy snowfall, sleet, or ice

As a whole, however, when you participate in regular foundation inspections, you are insuring that your house maintains its value—which is generally looked kindly upon by home insurance providers. This also means you will be more likely to sell your home at a higher price point should you ever decide to move, as it indicates you’ve taken excellent care of your home.

Expert Foundation Inspections with Analytical Home Inspections

Your home’s foundation is the support system without which none of the rest of the structure would be possible. Depending on where you live and the types of weather patterns you experience, you will likely want to carry out foundation inspections annually or biannually to ensure you catch problems early before they worsen and create safety hazards for you and your loved ones. Each time you invest in a foundation inspection, you are investing in maintaining the value of your home—which often makes you not only more palatable to insurers, but to prospective homebuyers as well.

Looking for the best foundation inspections in Oregon? Contact Analytical Home Inspections today for a consultation! (For more on the importance of regularly having your roof inspected, check out our recent article on the topic!)