Home Foundation Inspection

Table of content

  1. What Is a Foundation Inspection?

  2. Who Performs a Foundation Inspection?

  3. Signs of Foundation Problems

  4. Do I Need a Foundation Inspection?

  5. Factors That Affect Foundation Inspection Costs

  6. Foundation Inspection Cost

  7. How Long Does a Foundation Inspection Take?

  8. How to Avoid Foundation Problems

  9. How to Find a Professional Foundation Inspector?

  10. FAQ

Have you ever been told that you need a home foundation inspection before moving to a new place to live? Or have you ever noticed a crack in your home foundation that looks a little concerning to you?

If the answer to one of these questions is a "yes", then this article is for you! Read on to learn more about foundations, when you should be concerned about the cracks, and what to expect during the foundation inspection.

What Is a Foundation Inspection?

A foundation inspection is an assessment of the structural integrity and stability of a building's foundation. It involves a thorough examination of the foundation and surrounding areas, including the walls, floors, and the soil beneath the foundation, to identify any signs of damage, deterioration, or instability.

During a foundation inspection, a trained professional will typically examine the foundation for signs of cracks, settlement, or shifting. They may also inspect the soil beneath the foundation to determine its bearing capacity and to look for any signs of erosion or other problems. In addition, they may examine the walls and floors for signs of movement or instability that could be indicative of foundation problems.

The purpose of a foundation inspection is to catch any problems early before they cause serious damage to the building. Foundation problems can cause structural damage and even collapse, so it's important to identify them as soon as possible. By regularly inspecting the foundation, any issues can be addressed quickly, preventing more costly repairs down the road.

Image by ReliableMidget from Pixabay

Who Performs a Foundation Inspection?

Anyone can see the cracks that keep expanding or notice the bowing of the walls when trying to inspect the house. However, not everyone knows what's actually causing the problem and what you should do to get rid of it.

The professionals who know all the answers to the foundation-related questions are called structural or foundation engineers. They are well aware of all the possible foundation problems and how it is better to solve them. 

In some extreme cases, however, it is not possible to repair the damaged part of the foundation. During these situations, the structural or foundation engineer helps homeowners understand their safety considerations and suggests possible solutions.

As the name suggests, foundation inspectors only inspect the house. They do not repair anything. So you can be sure that their presented report is right and is based on their expert examination of the foundation.

In the report provided by the home foundation inspector, you will get useful information about the foundation, such as:

  • If the building is safe to occupy

  • If the existing cracks are life-threatening, how the cracks can be repaired

  • if the freeze-thaw cycle is risky for the foundation, how to stop the possible damage

  • If your foundation has bowing walls, what causes it, and how to repair

  • If the foundation has shifted and what other changes occurred/ might occur in the future because of the shift (uneven floors, safety issues, water in the basement, etc.), and how to solve the mentioned problems

Signs of Foundation Problems

Below we will present the main signs that you need to take into consideration when inspecting your home. Once you notice any of the signs, you should call the structural foundation engineer to help you find the solutions to the life-threatening problems:

  1. Exterior wall cracks with zig-zag patterns

  2. Interior sheetrock cracks with zig-zag patterns

  3. Bouncing or uneven floors

  4. Doors out of square

  5. Cabinets or counters separated from walls

  6. Mildew smell

  7. Rotten wood

  8. Nails popping out of the drywall

  9. Warped and cracked siding

  10. Sinking ground

  11. Sticking doors

  12. Drainage issues

Image by ha11ok from Pixabay

Do I Need a Foundation Inspection?

If you own a property or are looking to buy one, getting a foundation inspection is an excellent idea. Even if you can't see any obvious signs of foundation problems, there may be underlying issues that could lead to significant structural damage in the future.

A foundation inspection can help give you peace of mind by assuring you that your property's foundation is strong and won't collapse or cause any harm. Moreover, it can detect any minor issues before they turn into major problems, saving you time and money down the line.

If you also plan to sell your property, having a recent foundation inspection report can be a plus. It can demonstrate to potential buyers that you have taken the necessary steps to maintain the property and provide confidence that the foundation is in good condition.

Factors That Affect Foundation Inspection Costs

There are many factors that can affect the foundation inspection cost. Here are some you need to consider:

  • Size of your home

  • The complexity of your home

  • Location of your home 

  • Foundation type and material

  • Rate of a structural engineer

  • Level of foundation accessibility

For instance, if your home is small and its foundation is easily accessible, the foundation inspection will cost you less than for homeowners with large and complex homes. 

Foundation Inspection Cost

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As we've mentioned before, the foundation inspection cost depends on many factors. That's why there's no single cost for foundation inspections as every home is different. However, the average foundation inspection cost ranges between $300 and $750. If the project is complex, the cost might vary from $1000 to $3000.

Remember that this is only the inspection cost and has nothing to the with the cost of repairs. However, inspecting your home foundation has many benefits as it makes sure that your home is still in a good condition. Even if it has a problem, you'll find it out early on and solve it before it's too late.

The home foundation inspection is also beneficial for people who want to buy a home. You will definitely need to hire an inspector to make sure you have no foundation issues before buying the home. Imagine buying a home, then finding out it has a foundation problem that's difficult to repair! It can easily be avoided with the help of foundation inspection. 

How Long Does a Foundation Inspection Take?

Depending on the state of your home foundation, the inspection process can last about 2 hours, sometimes even less. The more complex the foundation is, the more time it will take. The foundation inspector will spend some of his time discussing the history of the home with homeowners and what problems their home had before the inspection. 

After the inspection, the professional will provide a brief analysis of the inspection. Later, he will send a more detailed report about the issues they have found when inspecting their home.

How to Avoid Foundation Problems?

From time to time, you can carry out a home inspection to discover the signs that will tell you about the possible foundation problems.

For instance, some foundation issues are because of excess moisture. So, whenever you notice water around your house, you need to be careful. You can address the problem by updating the home's drainage systems or fixing the water leaks.

You should also inspect the trees around your home as tree root intrusion is another frequent cause of foundation damage.

Homeowners should also keep an eye on any cracks that will appear on the walls and any changes that occur in the house, in general.

Once you find the signs mentioned above, you should call the foundation inspector to examine your home as soon as possible.

Image from freepik.com

How to Find a Professional Foundation Inspector?

To find a professional foundation inspector, you need to do some research and take certain steps to ensure that you hire a qualified and experienced inspector. Here are some tips to help you find a reputable foundation inspector:

  1. Look for inspectors who specialize in foundation inspections and have a proven track record of providing high-quality services.
  2. Check that the inspector has the necessary licenses and certifications to perform foundation inspections in your area.
  3. Check online reviews and ask friends, family, or real estate agents for referrals to find a trustworthy inspector.
  4. Ask the inspector for references and contact them to hear about their experience working with the inspector.
  5. Request a detailed estimate of the cost and scope of the inspection before hiring the inspector.
  6. Consider the inspector's availability and turnaround time for delivering the inspection report.

If you still don’t know how to find a professional foundation inspector, agencies like Homes Direct are always there to help you go through the whole process of home foundation inspection.


What is the best way to test the foundation?

The most effective method of testing a foundation's condition depends on several factors such as the type of foundation, building structure, and the issues to be investigated. Common methods include visual inspection, soil analysis, level survey, water testing, infrared thermography, and core sampling.

Visual inspection is the simplest method and involves examining the foundation for any visible cracks, while soil analysis determines the type of soil and potential problems such as erosion. The level survey measures the foundation's slope, and water testing detects leaks or structural issues related to water damage. 

Infrared thermography reveals hidden defects and core sampling extracts samples of the foundation's material for laboratory analysis. A professional foundation inspector can recommend the most appropriate method based on their expertise for an accurate assessment of the foundation's condition.

What is the purpose of foundation inspection?

The purpose of a foundation inspection is to examine a property's foundation and determine whether there are any underlying problems that could cause significant damage to the structure. The inspection helps identify any minor issues before they become major problems and assures homeowners that their property is structurally safe and sound. 

By getting a foundation inspection, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that their investment is protected and that they are taking the necessary steps to maintain their property's long-term stability.

What happens to the foundation when it expires?

A foundation does not expire like food or other perishable goods. However, over time, a foundation can experience wear and tear, resulting in cracks, settling, or shifting. If not addressed quickly, these issues can cause significant damage to the building's structure and safety hazards.

Factors such as the type of foundation, soil conditions, and construction quality can determine the foundation's lifespan. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent foundation problems and extend its lifespan. If the foundation is beyond repair, it may need replacement, which is a costly and time-consuming process.

Therefore, it's essential to take preventive measures and address any foundation problems promptly to ensure its long-term stability and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

How much does the foundation inspection cost?

The cost of a foundation inspection varies depending on factors like location, property size, inspection type, and inspector expertise. Generally, a foundation inspection can cost anywhere from $300 to $1000, and it may include additional services like soil testing or engineering reports.

Although the cost of a foundation inspection may seem high, it's a necessary investment to ensure the long-term stability and safety of your property. By identifying any potential foundation issues early on, you can save yourself from costly repairs or even the need for foundation replacement in the future. It's important to get multiple quotes from reputable inspectors to compare pricing and services before making a decision.

Ray Gritton

Ray Gritton


Ray Gritton has been in the manufactured housing industry for over 40 years when he started his first dealership in Modesto in the 1970s. Since then he has worked for large corporations in charge of hundreds of dealerships and now owns 13 locations in 5 different states.