What to Expect From a Home Foundation Inspection

What to Expect From a Home Foundation Inspection

Home foundation inspections in Dallas/Ft. Worth should be performed by an unbiased, licensed structural engineer. If the foundation inspection is not performed by an independent engineer, it may be biased or performed by a non-qualified professional.

How Long Does a Home Foundation Inspection Take?

Home foundation inspections should take approximately 1.5 hours to complete (including an in-depth interview).

How Much Does a Home Foundation Inspection Cost?

Depending on who is conducting the foundation inspection, your cost should be $350 – $500 for both the foundation inspection and engineering report. If you’ve received an offer for a free inspection, it will most likely be performed by an unlicensed contractor. While free, the opinion will not be as qualified as a structural engineer’s opinion (and is usually biased).

What Should I Expect From A Home Foundation Inspection?

If performed by a qualified structural engineer, you should expect the following areas to be thoroughly covered.

1. The Interview
The first thing the inspecting engineer should do is a thorough interview. This allows the engineer to ask questions, identify the timeline of the observed damage and determine the inspection criteria. If you aren’t being asked these types of questions, your engineer isn’t doing their due diligence.

2. Floor Elevation Survey
Prior to observing the structure, it’s important that the engineer gather floor elevation data to check for correlations with floor elevations and damage. Floor elevations are a critical part of the foundation inspection process and should always be conducted when having your home foundation inspected.

3. Visual Observations of the Interior, Exterior and Surrounding Terrain
After the floor elevation data is gathered, it’s time for the inspector to thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of the structure, looking for damage, cracks, separations, leaning/listing walls or doors, sticking windows/doors ,or any other observable evidence of foundation movement.

In addition, the gutter system, grading around the perimeter of the home, vegetation and other site terrain features should be observed.

4. Test Walls and Doors for Plumbness
The foundation inspector should use a level to inspect cabinets, doors, trim and walls – noting if they are listing or leaning.

5. Forensic Analysis
If damage, uneven floors or other signs of foundation movement are present, it’s important that the inspector determine the cause of movement. Some common causes include:

  • Poor Grading
  • Standing Water Near The Foundation
  • Active Soils That Have Dried Near Trees/Shrubbery

6. Conclusions and Recommendations
When the forensic analysis is complete, the foundation inspection engineer should verbally explain his findings to the homeowner. Additionally, if piers are recommended for remediation, they should be discussed with the homeowner along with maintenance and prevention suggestions.

7. Engineering Report Delivery
The engineering report should outline the scope of services and provide the engineer’s observations, interview information, conclusions and recommendations. It should always include a detailed floor elevation map in a CAD format. Finally, the report should be signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer.

These are basic steps that should be taken in your home foundation inspection. Be sure to bring up each step with your engineer prior to having the home foundation inspection conducted.

Photo Credit: LancerE