Keep an Eye on the Foundation When Buying a House
The foundation of a home is something you probably don’t think a lot about until there are problems with it. However, a home’s foundation is an especially important thing to inspect before you make such a large purchase. Skipping a foundation inspection could mean you’ll deal with costly and inconvenient issues down the line. Although it’s not possible to safeguard against trouble in every circumstance, there are several things you can do to give the foundation a thorough evaluation before forking over your hard-earned cash.
Although poured concrete is a popular foundation material, it’s not the only one you’ll see during the home-buying process. There are differences between the types of materials used, but all are alike in that they are strong enough to support the structure of the residence and resistant to the moisture that’s naturally present in the earth’s soil.
Checking for Cracks
Check exposed foundation walls for cracks. Although you can’t diagnose foundation problems from cracks alone, they could warn that the conditions are ripe for more severe structural problems. Cracks, as seen in the picture above, are pretty normal while cracks in the middle of the foundation are not normal. If you find vertical cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom or cracks in the corners of the foundation, those conditions may indicate that the home has settled. If the foundation has concrete walls, though, hairline cracks usually aren’t serious.
However, if they are larger, it’s possible that the builders didn’t use metal reinforcement bars when laying the foundation. If you notice large horizontal cracks, those suggest that severe problems are present, and you should absolutely get a professional opinion before going through with a home purchase.
Looking at the Foundation and the Surrounding Area
A foundation inspection involves looking at the system from inside and out, starting with how it’s built into the ground. If the foundation goes into a hill, be sure to look at the area around the house to see whether you can see cracks in the soil that are perpendicular to the hill’s slope. If you find such cracks, they could indicate earth slides, which may cause massive foundational damage.
Regardless of whether the foundation is built into a flat span of earth or on a slope, make sure that the design is such that accumulated rainwater can run away from the home’s foundation from all sides. Roof gutters and downspouts are two things that are often used to facilitate that necessary movement of rainwater. When drainage is not adequate, the excess moisture can run down the walls of the foundation and cause wet basement issues or a lack of structural integrity.
Weighing the Risks
As should now be clear, certain kinds of foundation problems are riskier than others. When deciding whether the benefits are worth the risks, always find out how much it would cost to repair the present problems. Have a professional assess the issues that you see.
Hopefully, you now feel more informed about home foundations and understand why they’re important. Happy house hunting!