What You Need to Know about Foundation Inspections

Your home’s foundation may be something you don’t think about too often since it’s mainly out of sight. For this reason, developing problems can remain hidden until too late and expensive repairs are needed. A foundation inspection can help locate possible foundation issues early.

When to Call

Professional foundation inspections aren’t usually included on home maintenance checklists because they aren’t something that usually needs to be done regularly. Most homeowners don’t schedule an inspection unless they notice a problem. Some of the signs that you should get a home foundation inspection include:

Damages

Any visible damage, even if it appears minor, warrants an inspection of the foundation. Often a crack is not a major concern or just a cosmetic problem, but in some cases, that first small crack can be indicative of a more major issue. Being proactive and having the damages looked at, no matter how minor, can prevent a more expensive problem.

Natural Disasters

A typical thunderstorm shouldn’t damage your foundation, but severe flooding can cause erosion around or water pressure against the foundation. Both can lead to damage. Natural disasters like earthquakes are another event that can have major impacts on the state of your foundation, so schedule an inspection if any tremors have occurred.

Home Purchases

The purchase of a new home or a new-to-you home should include a thorough foundation inspection in addition to the general pre-purchase home inspection. Foundation problems aren’t always obvious, but they can be very expensive to fix depending on the severity. Make sure there are no hidden surprises with the foundation before you finalize the home purchase.

What to Expect

An initial foundation inspection primarily checks for superficial issues that indicate foundation problems may exist. If issues are found, then the foundation may need to be excavated for a closer look so repairs can begin.

Exterior Problems

In most cases, excavation around a foundation to check for exterior problems is not necessary. The exterior part of the inspection will be focused primarily on the visible portion of the foundation, whether the issue is with the top of a slab or basement foundation, or the inspection of the foundation piers beneath a home on a post foundation.

The inspector is mainly looking for cracks. Cracks that run horizontally or that resemble stair steps are the most alarming because these indicate foundation movement. Even typically harmless crack types, such as hairline cracks, will warrant a closer look to make sure they won’t lead to damage. For example, if a crack is large enough to let water in, then worsening damages are more likely.

Interior Damages

Interior foundation inspections can be more difficult, particularly on slab foundations where the foundation is likely covered with carpeting or another flooring material. Basement foundations are easier to inspect unless the basement is finished.

Visible cracks, particularly if the foundation isn’t level on either side of the crack, can indicate issues. In basements, bulging walls and cracks are the biggest signs of foundation problems.

Window Functions

Some parts of the inspection won’t seem to be related to the foundation. Windows and doors, for example, can be used as a major indicator that foundation damage may be present.

Most foundation issues are a result of a home that doesn’t settle properly. This uneven settling puts the whole house out of alignment, which is most noticeable at windows and doors. Windows, and to a lesser extent doors, may stick or fail to open and close properly if the frames are crooked due to foundation settling issues.

Support Structures

In some homes there are foundation support structures, typically in the form of additional pillars in the basement or crawlspace. There may also be metal strapping and earthquake anchors on home foundations in regions where earth movement is a risk.

Your inspector will check any support pillars for cracks, as well as verify that the support isn’t leaning or otherwise moving out of alignment with the house. They will also look at any visible earthquake anchors or strapping to see if they are damaged or pulling out of the foundation due to shifts.

Moisture Issues

One of the major causes of foundation damage is hydrostatic pressure from water in the soil pressing against the foundation walls. Certain types of soils are more likely to hold large quantities of water, which is what leads to foundation woes in the first place. Sometimes a soil test is first performed to check if the soil type is prone to moisture absorption. Soil moisture levels may also be checked.

Drainage around the home can also lead to foundation problems. Your inspector will likely verify that runoff from the roof and surrounding landscaping is draining safely away from the home and not collecting near the foundation.

Call Straight Line Construction for more assistance with foundation inspections, maintenance, and repairs.

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Straight Line Construction

Straight Line Construction has changed a great deal over the last 30+ years in the industry, but one thing remains the same: our commitment to quality and to designing and installing permanent solutions to foundation settlement issues. Beginning with small residential jobs more than 30 years ago when the family-owned company was founded by Tim Davis, Sr., Straight Line Construction today repairs cracking residential and commercial foundations through its Ram Jack product toolkit and designs solutions for large infrastructure and industrial projects. We specialize in matching the right solution to each type of foundation repair issue.

Are you building a new home and want to ensure it has a solid foundation? Or is your house experiencing unwanted sagging or a cracking foundation? Are your walls cracked or your doors and windows sticking? As a bonded, licensed, and fully insured foundation repair company, we are proud to serve Colorado homeowners, builders, and commercial contractors. Our technical certifications enable us to offer the highest quality services and the best American-made, environmentally safe products available for foundation repair. Regardless of how your building is shifting or sinking, we can help you stop it. Our 30 years in the business and our designation as a Ram Jack certified dealer means you get the most technologically savvy solution to fix your foundation.

From the factory to the field, we strive to ensure the quality of our products and workmanship meet the highest industry standards. We work with other vetted professionals in the industry. All of our helical piers, push piers, and mounting brackets are manufactured by Ram Jack in Ada, OK, at an ISO-certified facility with American-made steel. Williams Form Engineering in Golden, CO, manufactures our reinforcing bar for ground anchor systems and shares our commitment to quality control and quality assurance.

About Ram Jack

Ram Jack is a family-owned business that began operations in 1968, in Ada, OK, where we currently source our piers and brackets. Back then, concrete piering was the original repair method used simply because it was the only technology available at the time. Over time, it became evident that concrete piers did not provide long-term stabilization of foundations and only provided a short-term warranty period. To guarantee the highest grade of customer satisfaction, a greater solution needed to be found.

The Ram Jack owners embarked on a research program to develop a foundation repair system to stand the test of time. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office first issued a patent to Ram Jack for its foundation repair system in 1985. Over the next few years, additional refinements and patents have followed, resulting in the strongest patented system in the industry. Ram Jack driven pilings are ICC-ES recognized (International Construction Code—Evaluation Services). Ram Jack is one of only two ICC-ES recognized foundation repair companies in the industry. Ram Jack’s products meet or exceed code requirements set down by ICC-ES for both commercial and residential properties.

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