Checking Your Home's Foundation before It's too Late

A foundation showing horizontal cracking. A downspout draining directly at the foundation.

Modern homes are built to withstand the constant forces of nature that can take a toll on your home’s concrete foundation. The earth around your home’s foundation expands and contracts seasonally from freezing, thawing, saturation, and drought. Foundation issues can be the most expensive problems homeowners face but most of these issues are preventable if they take a few simple measures before it is too late. While no homeowner should be expected to assess a faulty foundation without seeking an expert’s guidance it is a good idea to walk around your home at least once a year and look for the following.

  1. Make sure water does not puddle next to your home and that the soils around your home maintains a positive grade away from the foundation.
  2. Trim back dense vegetation because too many deep roots next to your foundation can suck water out of the soil and damage the foundation through a process called transpiration.
  3. Make sure gutters are clear and function properly to keep water a minimum of 4 feet away from your foundation.
  4. Look for any cracks and inconsistencies in the concrete foundation where water might get in as these are also common areas where insects may get it into your home as well.
Drainage problems lead to water pooling around the foundation.

If homeowners take these simple steps it can save them a lot of trouble down the road. Like I said before, no one is expecting homeowners to be experts on issues that affect the foundation of their home. Consult a qualified foundation specialist if you see anything out of the ordinary like excessive water in the basement, any vertical crack larger than 1/8” or any long horizontal crack of any width. At One of the hardest things home inspectors must tell homeowners is that they have very costly foundation issues that could have been prevented if they only knew. Old Line Home Inspections, we are trained to know the difference between mostly harmless hairline vertical cracks and the more serious diagonal and horizontal cracks that require a foundation specialist or even a structural engineer to evaluate, advise and repair.

Have a trained professional take a look at your home's foundation, Call Us Today!