If you are looking to buy a house or to sell your current home, you are probably aware of the importance of passing any necessary home inspections. After all, the purchase of a home is often the largest purchase a person will ever make, making your home your largest financial investment. One of the most common problems uncovered during home inspections is problems with the house’s foundation. There are different types of home foundations, including concrete slab, pier foundations and beam construction.
If you are looking at a newly constructed home, it is good to know that many houses settle a bit in the first several years after construction. Very small, hairline cracks may appear over time, but they don’t instantly represent a major issue. If you notice new cracking in an older home, it is definitely time to contact a professional home inspector to get a full report about the condition of the home’s foundation.
While there are several different types of home foundations, almost all foundation issues are caused by the inundation of water under the foundation over time. This can be exacerbated by the area’s climate, major plumbing leaks, poor soil composition and poorly compacted soil prior to building. Proper drainage with grading and gutter systems can help keep foundation problems from forming.
During home inspections, your inspector will be on the lookout for signs of foundation problems. These include horizontal cracks, 45° angle cracks, and cracks that look like stair steps. Other signs can be sagging or uneven floors, gaps around windows, doors that stick, or cabinets that are separating from the wall. The good news is most foundation problems can be addressed and repaired.