Just like how you get your oil changed in your car and get checkups at the dentist, you also need to get checkups on your home’s foundation. Foundation issues are most homeowners’ worst nightmare, and the best way to alleviate that stress is to be prepared in advance.
It’s a good idea to schedule regular foundation inspections every few years as preventative maintenance. However, if you notice any of the signs of foundation damage we’ll explain in this blog, you should call a foundation contractor ASAP. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about foundation inspections, including:
- Signs to look out for
- What it costs
- What inspections include
- How to find a great contractor
Signs You Should Get a Foundation Inspection
There are different levels of concern when dealing with foundation problems. A handful of tell-tale signs indicate a shifting or damaged foundation, and some are more urgent than others.
Emergency situations occur much less frequently, but you can never completely rule them out. In the instance of an extreme event that impacts your foundation, such as earthquakes, sinkholes, severe flooding, or your house being hit by large equipment, your family’s safety is of the utmost importance. Temporarily relocate until a foundation contractor can help out.
Thankfully, most situations are non-emergencies as long as you promptly get a foundation inspection rather than ignoring the issue for months or years (which will eventually turn into an emergency situation).
Keep your eyes peeled for the following signs of foundation damage, and if you notice any, call for an inspection right away:
- Cracked floor tiles
- Cracked windows
- Cracks in interior walls or ceilings
- Large or horizontal cracks in the foundation
- Water seeping into the basement
- Soft/sloping floors
- Rotting wood or mud tubes from termite damage
- Doors and windows that started sticking
- Standing water around the foundation
- Bulging foundation
Another common time to schedule a foundation inspection is when you’re selling your house or looking to buy a new one. The party most interested in having the information about the health of the foundation should initiate the inspection. When investing in a new home, people want to know about the status of the foundation for many reasons, including:
- Preventing significant damage in the near future
- A sound foundation improves home value
- Learn how to manage water runoff
- Prevents long-term health problems if any mold is detected early
Scheduling a foundation inspection is a great way for an unbiased third party to share any issues they may find.
How Much Do Foundation Inspections Cost?
Foundation inspection cost ranges greatly from free to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. Some foundation contractors like Perma Pier offer free evaluations so you can feel confident about the state of your foundation without having to worry about paying to get told your foundation is just fine.
Other contractors that charge for inspections may decide on a cost based on your location and the scope of your property. Obviously, if you can find a contractor to offer a free foundation inspection, definitely take them up on that deal. Just keep in mind that if damage is found during a free inspection, you’ll have to budget for repair costs down the line.
What Happens During a Foundation Inspection?
Now to the bread and butter of what actually gets evaluated during an inspection. A professional foundation contractor won’t just aimlessly walk around your house and then quote you for thousands of dollars in repairs. (Well, at least a good contractor wouldn’t.) A true professional will take an in-depth look at your foundation in numerous areas.
1) Checking Your Exterior Perimeter
The first thing your inspector will do is inspect the exterior of your house. They will walk around the entire perimeter and look for areas that are bulging or cracking. They’ll also be on the lookout for standing water, which can cause shifting soil.
2) Inspecting the Interior Perimeter
Next, your inspector will head inside and check the interior walls of your home. Interior walls can be a foolproof indicator of foundation damage.
They will look for cracks, separation, and bulging. Then, they’ll inspect your floors. Your contractor might place a ball on your floor and tables to see if the ball rolls, indicating a sloped floor.
3) Testing Windows and Doors
Sticking windows and doors are another tell-tale sign of foundation structural issues. Your inspector will test each window and door to see if they open and close smoothly, or if they get jammed.
4) Inspecting the Crawl Space
If you have a crawl space in your home, be sure to mention that to your foundation inspector. They’ll want to check for any obvious signs of shifting, such as moisture, mold, and rotting supports. Termites can cause damage to wooden supports, which can impact your foundation.
5) Checking Pipes
Any excess moisture in your home can cause substructure problems. Your foundation specialist will inspect your pipes to identify any leaks. If a leaking pipe is discovered, you should hire a professional plumber to fix it.
6) Inspecting Substructure Supports
Finally, your inspector will take a thorough look at your substructure supports. Sound supports will be level with no buckling, but if your inspector notices uneven, buckling supports, you’ll be in need of foundation repairs.
A good foundation contractor will thoroughly detail any damage they find and explain the issues in a way that’s easy to understand. If they discover any of the above issues in their inspection, they’ll help you schedule foundation repairs.
Tips for Hiring a Reliable Contractor
Foundation repairs can be costly, so you don’t want to waste your money on a foundation contractor that is dishonest, unreliable, or unskilled. Use these tips to find a reliable local foundation specialist:
- Ask for licenses, insurance, and credentials for your state.
- Read online reviews from past customers.
- Get multiple quotes and talk to a few contractors to compare.
- Ask for a sample report to see how detailed their work is.
- Select an established company that’s been in business for many years.
- Ask if they have staff trained in geological science and will make a custom repair based on your soil type.
Trust the Best With Your Home
If you’re experiencing foundation damage, you likely feel very worried and stressed. When making a large investment that protects the very structure your home stands on, you need to feel 100% confident in the work being done.
At Perma Pier Foundation Repair of Texas, we want you to feel just as confident as we do in our foundation repair expertise. That’s why we offer lifetime transferable warranties and free evaluations.
Contact us today to schedule your free foundation evaluation!