Home » Real Estate

Residential Foundations Assessment

Feb 14, 2008
Three basic questions to ask when evaluating the foundation of a house for potential renovation and sale: 1. When was the house built? The older a house is the less likely it is to have a good foundation. 2. Who built it? Was it built by the homeowner or a licensed contractor? In other words, was the builder, whoever it was, qualified to do the work and do it properly? 3. What building codes were in effect and were they enforced at the time of construction? Meaning, did the house receive regular inspections for code compliance during construction?

For at least the past 40 years or so most single story homes were built with proper foundations. But there are areas of the country that have what are called "expansive", or, soft soils. These type of soils can present a settling problem as they tend to move under the weight of the house above. Especially when there is any water present. A foundation wall that has not been properly reinforced will tend to crack as it spans the soft soil area. The amount the footing moves depends on many factors, the extent of the soft soils, the load imposed on the footing from the house above and the depth of the stem wall. Whatever the cause, large cracks are easily seen from both the outside and inside.

It is always a good idea to inspect a foundation wall if there are visible cracks. If the crack is large enough to insert a small object, like the tip of a pencil, you may have a water infiltration problem. This water can cause further damage to a basement or crawl space and the crack will need to be sealed and made watertight. Even if the crack appears small you should check the walls above to see if any damage has occurred to rest of the house. Look carefully at the openings inside the house above where the foundation wall has moved. If there are cracks in the finish around the openings that means the wall framing has moved as well. This type of damage can be old and there may not have been any more since that time. If there is recent paint and the crack has reappeared, then the wall is still moving.

Should you determine that the house is worth the effort to fix, how do you go about getting it done? Probably the easiest method would be to raise the portion of the floor joist that have settled with a pair of house jacks and a cross support beam. Once the joists have been moved back to the correct position you would need to install two permanent vertical supports with a beam to hold them in place. For this type of work I would recommend getting an engineer involved to make sure the support structure you install will hold. Calculating the sizes of the posts and beam should not be a lengthy or expensive venture. Check with more than one engineering office for the best price and service. Once the floor framing has been stabilized you can do the interior cosmetic work and the cracks should not reappear.

If you are in area where soft soils are common you will want to do a thorough inspection of the foundation walls. Small cracks are due to the normal amount of shrinkage that takes place in most concrete. Large cracks are a different matter and can be indicative of a structural failure of the concrete. When concrete fails it is the reinforcing steel that is holding the wall in place. If the house was poorly built in the first place or built over soft soils, look closely at any and all cracks. If the house is two story, the greater loads imposed on the footings justify a closer look. If you have the combination of soft soils and a high water table and there are significant cracks in the concrete, you may want to reconsider buying that particular house as the cost of repairs can be high.

As always, there are so many factors involved when evaluating a house it is advisable to get another opinion before proceeding.
About the Author
Looking for a way to turn old houses into cash? House Renovation Experts Find out how to generate income and build wealth How To Renovate Houses
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources