Foundation Inspection

Foundation Works Foundation inspection

Many home buyers are scared about foundation problems because foundation repairs can be costly!

Foundation inspections are recommended by your general home inspector if they notice the floors inside a house are uneven, if the house has cracks in the walls, or they can see cracks in the foundation when they crawl, or spalling, or deterioration of the foundation.   They test the sturdiness of the foundation by banging it with a hammer, if it starts to crumble they know that its lost its structural integrity.

horizontal crack

if the door jambs and windows are crooked.

crooked door

This was one of the most crooked doors I’ve ever seen. Located in a major fixer house on Rimpau near LA High

 

crooked door 2

Someone put this wedge ontop of the inside of the door to fill in the gap in the doorframe that was created by the house settling

or if a retaining wall that looks like it is about to fall over

retaining wall fall over

This Retaining wall was badly damaged at an REO property on Hillside Ave off Fareholm.

The Physical Inspector will be crawling underneath the house aswell, and if they are good, they will crawl the entire perimeter of the foundation to inspect the stem wall for cracks.

foundation crack

Cracks that are an 1/8 of an inch or less aren’t a serious concern, once you get to a crack width of a 1/4 inch they can cause major problems.

To repair a foundation crack like the one above is a $1,200 job. The repair would put some sort of concrete apoxy to fill the crack and secure it with a metal strap

foundation repair metal strap

This foundation of a stilt house on Mullholland had a foundation crack repaired recently.

In California there are a number of reasons a foundation might be having problems. The number one enemy of foundations is water, because they are made of concrete and steel rebar, both of which deteriorate when exposed to water for prolong period. When the foundation wears away from water eroding it, this is a condition know as “SPALLING”

Worn away concrete

The foundation has worn away so much that you can see daylight! The mudsill should not have a gap like this

The repair for Spalling is to pour new concrete to rebuild the wall that has deteriorated and fix any drainage problems.

Houses that were built before the 1940’s sometimes were built on uncompacted fill. This is not good, because soil tends to expand and contract at different times of the year when moisture levels changes, which can cause damage. The type of soil that is underneath the foundation also plays a key role. Clay soils tend to expand and contract the most.

expansive and contracting soils

Houses in Los Angeles built prior to 1940 have post and pier foundations.

wet crawl space

This Post and Pier crawlspace is wet, crawl spaces should always be dry

The Piers in these foundations were laid out in an uniform grid that had no consideration give to the location of the load bearing walls. As a result, these older house tend to have uneven floors in places.

Post and Pier foundation

Past earthquakes could have caused damage in the past that was never known or fixed. Seismic retrofits can prevent future damage from occurring. If the property has had a seismic retrofit already, the foundation inspector will double check it to make sure it was done correctly and is in good shape.

Back to main article on inspections: http://jamescolincampbell.com/inspections/

Cost $200

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