Watch for Water, Check your Crawlspace

Foundation Issues Caused by Water

Our region, the verdant Pacific Northwest, sees some moist time periods in the months that comprise the spring and fall. Knowledgeable Home inspectors in Eugene, Oregon, pay close attention to foundations when doing home inspections to check for water penetration other causes of foundation movement. When doing an inspection, the inspector will ask to check out your crawl space. The crawl space is the space between your home and the ground that it is built upon.

Vented crawlspaces are usually associated with an older home. These were originally a requirement of building codes from long ago. They are not sealed. A sealed crawlspace is usually associated with a newer home. Vented crawlspaces usually encounter moisture problems, such as mold, at some point.

Your home’s foundation is a critical part of your home that should be checked regularly. If your home’s foundation has issues, they should be handled immediately as problems here compromise the rest of the home and its structural integrity. If you do not check your crawl space regularly, you should make a point to begin doing so. A moist crawl space can pose significant issues for your home.

Home inspectors are trained to recognize the symptoms of water penetration and foundation problems. Some telltale signs of foundational issues are cracks in walls, water leaks, split concrete, cracks in concrete, walls moving, sagging floors, doors that stick or will not shut, gaps around windows and gaps around exterior doors. If you see these issues you should request a home inspection and speak to a construction professional about what could be happening. We will cover some common water penetration and foundation issues.

Too Much or Too Little Water – Both are Bad

Water is almost always the main culprit when it comes to foundational issues in your home. Having too much water makes the ground that your home is built upon swell; having too little makes it shrink. Sometimes when there is water in the crawlspace, the soil will shrink or swell at different rates or in different passageways causing issues. If the ground shrinks and swells uniformly you are less likely to have issues.

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The amount of groundwater you have around your home changes with precipitation levels. If your home is constantly dealing with high flooding levels of groundwater in the crawlspace area you will eventually have problems as water causes rot and mold to the wood underneath your home.


Trees that are around your home can experience water evaporation from their leaves and stems and cause the roots to begin sucking up as much water as possible from the ground. This, of course, shrinks the surrounding ground soil when that happens and can cause foundation issues if the soil is uneven.

Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks are the type of leak that can go unnoticed for an extended period of time and cause some damage. It is important to regularly go underneath your home and inspect the crawl space and foundation below. Your home’s plumbing is typically found underneath the home and you may not be aware when a pipe begins to leak. A small leak can contribute to a great deal of moisture, which in turn, causes significant issues over time.

Improper Drainage

Improper drainage is a big contributing factor to a large percentage of foundation issues in homes especially in our region where we experience a rainy season in the months that comprise the spring and fall. When water collects around your home and pools near the foundation, you are bound to have problems over time. Water erodes the ground and can erode concrete and other building materials. Improper drainage can be caused by poorly installed gutters and downspouts, improper grading, run-off from nearby properties, barren landscaping, roots in your drainage pipes, surface depressions in your yard near the home, and the type of soil that you have. If it stays muddy and wet around your home, you should consult with a grading professional to discuss ways to reroute the water and have it be absorbed in other ways.

Analytical Home Inspection is owned and operated by Cory Maynard, a licensed and practicing home inspector in Eugene, Oregon. Cory leads the local inspection industry with the most thorough and complete structural inspections available, providing easy to read digital reports. Schedule an inspection today before you sell or buy.