Basement/ Foundation Inspections

A Basement or Foundation inspection is more substantial than the “observable” structural inspection which is part of a Home Inspection. It includes documenting wall movement measurements. If you depend on inspector to detect foundation problems by just an observable inspection, you  may discover structural issues when it comes time to sell your home years after you’ve moved in. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is observed during a home inspection, the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. The Further Evaluation is a more reasonable step prior to paying a structural engineer to evaluate and provide a specification of repairs. Before you close, you need to consider whether or not repairs are needed now and who’s going to pay for them.

The Structure of the Building

One of the biggest concerns of home buyers and building buyers is the structure of the building. If you buy a building that has a structural defect, the fact that most buildings do not have structural defects is of little comfort. You want to know if the house or building you are considering purchasing is structurally sound. Some home buyers and building buyers believe structural defects are only a concern in older buildings. Other real estate purchasers feel they can find structural defects just by “looking carefully”. Still other building buyers feel that an old building that is still standing must have no structural defects.

The fact is that most structural defects have only subtle symptoms. For example, a building buyer may not recognize floor joists or a sill plate with termite damage that needs $25,000 worth of repairs. Rot in ceiling joists or roof rafters can also be costly to repair, and may not be apparent when casually examining the building.

Foundation and Structure

The foundation refers to the brick, stone, concrete block, or poured concrete that is supported by the ground and supports the home or building. The foundation provides structural support, and keeps water, soil, animals, and insects from entering the basement or crawl space. Anderson Home Inspection LLC will evaluate the building’s foundation for you. You are also informed about the risk of water penetration into the basement. When repairs are needed, an expense analysis is provided in the inspection report.

Water in the Basement

If the building that you are considering purchasing has a basement, you need to know if there is evidence of water or dampness in the basement. Most basements have at least a few stains, some rusted metal, and a dehumidifier. Some basements have a damp odor, although this may only be detectable during the humid summer months.

Many home purchasers and building purchasers are concerned that water in the basement problems indicates a structural problem, such as a cracked foundation. Virtually all foundation walls have some cracks, so the penetration of water into the basement does not necessarily indicate a structural defect. The Engineer will advise you as to whether cracks in the foundation walls are structurally significant.

Most houses do not regularly have puddles of water in the basement, but are damp during some months of the year. If the basement is damp, it may affect your ability to build a finished room such as a playroom in the basement. Dampness in the basement is also a concern to people with allgies or other medical conditions because dampness can increase the risk of mold. A dehumidifier is often required in the basement to control the dampness.

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