You would have drawn a list of items that you are looking for when you are buying a new home. However, do you also have a list of items that are negative which could possibly affect your decision to buy a home or not?
One of the key things in this second list is to identify the signs of foundation issues which can help avert some costly construction that a seller could be hiding. A lot of customers do get a home inspector to check a house before they buy; however, some of these signs are easy for you to spot, without spending on a home inspector.
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1. The Interior
Cracks running horizontally and diagonally
These can be generally seen in the door or window corners and are a sign of a foundation which is faulty. These can be more dangerous and serious than vertical cracks. This is because these cracks show that the foundation is shifting and that the soil outside was wet and when it froze it expanded, which has damaged the foundation.
Floors that slope or are uneven
These are another indication of foundation issues. It is something you can notice immediately if the floor is dropping a few inches; however, if it feels like your body seems to be tilting towards a side then it is something to take care of.
Shutters and doors that close uneven
This can be a sign as well, although it could also be just bad wood or paintwork which is causing this. Hence, it is best to check for space visible over cabinets and their doors that don’t shut properly or cracks and leaks around the fire place.
If there is leaking water in the basement, it could mean a small crack which needs repair or an eroding foundation as a result of which, water has saturated through the concrete walls. If there is sign of mold, then it will show that the leak is a constant problem.
2. The Exterior of the House
It is best to check for horizontal or diagonal crack in doors and windows and make sure shutters and doors close properly.
Exposed bricks or grade beams with cracks
If you can see a crack here, then it’s a concern. Also make use of a level tool to check for slanting walls. A foundation wall could have tipped which will be visible if the foundation seems to stick out from the house walls in a particular area. If the house from the outside shows any sign of bowing or shifting, then it’s a sign the foundation walls are being pressured by the soil which is contracting and expanding.
Finally, take a look at the door to the garage, and see if there is any space between the door and the floor.
3. A foundation issue is not the end of the deal
If after inspecting the house you find a number of the above issues, it is not a sign to automatically cancel buying the house. Though the foundation issues are important, they can be repaired. Validate your concerns with a housing inspector. If you like the house, then get an estimate for the repairs and then take a call if you want to go ahead.
Douglas Plauche is the owner of the Douglas Foundation Repair Company. He writes home improvement and business related blogs. You can read more about his work here.
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