Shopping for a home can be an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming because you have to make sure the house doesn't have any obvious red flags. After all, you don't want to waste your money on a home that needs a lot of expensive repairs.
The foundation is one of the most important parts of the house, so you need to give it an especially good going-over. Here are four red flags that should alert you to potential foundation problems. If you notice any of these issues while walking through the home, you should definitely consider hiring a professional to investigate further.
1. Poor Water Drainage Outside the House
Water damage prevention starts with making sure water doesn't drain toward the foundation. For example, the gutters should be functional and should direct all rainwater into downspouts, which should then carry the water at least six feet from the house before releasing it onto the ground.
The ground near the house should slope slightly away on all sides. A completely flat grade or a slope that directs water toward the house is a bad sign. Any of these exterior drainage problems can lead directly to moisture problems inside the basement and throughout the house.
2. Visible Cracks or Leaning
Take a look at the foundation wall from both the outside and the inside. A few vertical hairline cracks are normal. However, cracks that are wider at one end or appear to have one side pushed in further than the other indicate a problem. Horizontal cracks or stair-step cracks can also be signs of serious damage.
Some types of cracks are caused by the pressure of the soil expanding against the wall, which can be improved with better drainage. Others happen when moisture gets inside crevices, freezes, and causes cracks. Cracks can indicate that the home needs both foundation repair and water damage remediation as well as better drainage and waterproofing.
3. Water Inside the Basement
If the basement has a visible problem with water incursion, you should be very wary of the home. Water incursion often indicates a humidity problem throughout the entire house, which can encourage mold problems, roof deck rot, and other humidity-related issues. Water incursion also likely means that the foundation wall is unprotected from moisture.
4. Uneven Floors or Wall Cracks Inside the Home
Sometimes you can find signs of foundation trouble without actually looking at the foundation. For example, if the floors in the house seem uneven or slightly sloped, or if there are small vertical cracks above windows and doors, the house could have a serious foundation issue.
Foundation problems can also make doors and windows stick so they're more difficult to open. Sometimes wall cracks and uneven floors can be caused by too much water, while other times they can be caused by too little water. In either case, repairing the foundation should help solve the issue.
The red flags discussed in this blog will help you spot serious and questionable foundation problems so that you can get a designated foundation inspection by a professional to assess the extent of the foundation damage. An inspection will help you decide whether you want to go through with the home purchase or if the damage to the foundation is too expensive.
DRC Fire & Water Restoration provides expert assessments of water damage and related mold damage. Whether you're planning to buy the home and want help cleaning up water and mold or you just need an inspection to help you decide whether or not to buy the house, give us a call today to learn more or schedule an inspection.