Severe foundation damage rarely occurs in an isolated incidence. As such, identifying the warning signs of early foundation issues is critical for reducing the damage to your home and the costs involved in repairing it. Below, we’ll give you some tips on how to conduct your own foundation inspection to monitor problems under your home successfully.
Check Your Foundation
You should conduct your DIY home inspection about once every three months, as this will give you the best chance of locating damage before it becomes severe. Begin your examination by looking carefully at all exposed portions of your foundation for signs of damage.
If you have a slab foundation, walk the perimeter of your house and identify any cracks, including their length, width, and orientation. We recommend keeping a written record of any gaps you find to compare during your next inspection. Report any new or worsening damage to a foundation repair company.
If you have a crawlspace or basement, go under your home to inspect for warning signs. These include cracks in the concrete, water pooling on the floor, wet spots on the concrete, signs of water damage, mold growth, musty odors, humid air, efflorescence, and the presence of insects or rodents.
Inspect Your Living Space
Your house relies on your foundation for support, so the movement of the concrete typically results in some signs of damage inside your home.
The most obvious signs typically occur on the sheetrock throughout your house. Shifting framing above damaged concrete can result in drywall cracks near windows, doors, or room corners, nails popping out of the walls, and cabinets pulling away from the walls behind them. Issues with the framing can also make doors or windows challenging to open or close.
The floor joists in your house rely on the foundation for a level surface as well, so look for uneven, buckling, or sloping flooring in all rooms throughout your home.
Lastly, be on the lookout for musty odors, damp air, uncomfortable temperatures, and high utility bills, all of which can be problems caused by moisture that is coming in through your concrete slab or your under-home area.
Finish Your Inspection Outside
Complete your home inspection outside, where additional foundation issues can often be spotted. Look for your chimney leaning away from your house, sagging or bowing roofing, and cracks developing in your stucco, stone, or brick siding or facade.
You may be able to identify the potential for foundation damage by checking your landscaping. Look for pots or dips in your lawn, leaning retaining walls, gaps between the earth and your foundation, and soggy portions of the yard, especially after rainfall or flooding. These can all indicate that you have inadequate drainage on your property, which can cause damage to your foundation over time.