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Crawl Space Inspection: Cost, Process, & More

Table of Contents

If you’re interested in scheduling a crawl space inspection, this article is for you. Some homeowners aren’t aware of what’s going on below their main floor. Unfortunately, this can allow unseen problems to worsen and affect the rest of your home. Once you’ve finished this article, you’ll know how much a crawl space inspection costs, the typical process, and more.

What Is A Crawl Space Inspection?

A crawl space inspection is when a structural engineer or foundation repair company inspects the space between your first floor and the ground surface. If builders decide a slab foundation is too difficult to build based on the property’s grade, they’ll likely build a crawl space to save materials and time. Since crawl spaces are out of our daily sight, it’s good to perform regular inspections. If you spot something serious, then it’s time to call a professional inspector.

Here’s what’s involved in a typical one-hour crawl space inspection.

1. First, the inspector will ask the homeowner to show them their area of concern. The most noticeable signs are usually bowing, warped, and cracked floors.

2. The inspector will walk around your home and take measurements using a tape measure, walking wheel, and laser tape measure. These will be used to create a computer-aided drawing of your home, where they’ll mark the problem areas.

3. Next, pictures are taken outside and inside your crawl space, looking for any issues, like cracks and damaged supports.

4. Once visual inspections are completed, the inspector will measure your first floor elevations using a Ziplevel altimeter, which can measure height discrepancies up to 1/10th of an inch. This will determine if your crawl space foundation is settling.

5. Lastly, the inspector will write a full report on anything they found in your crawl space, including their recommended solutions, permit information, cost, and if a structural engineer needs to be involved.

How Much Does A Crawl Space Inspection Cost?

Crawl space inspections offered by foundation repair companies are usually free for homeowners. If your home is on the market, in escrow, or you want to inspect a home you’re buying, most companies charge a $1,000 fee that goes toward the repair cost. If you hire a private structural engineer, they usually charge between $500 to $1,500, depending on the depth of the inspection and the size of your crawl space/home.

Who Can Perform A Crawl Space Inspection?

Structural engineers and foundation repair professionals are both capable and licensed to perform a crawl space inspection. If you hire a foundation repair company, choose one with reputable and experienced specialists. You don’t want to risk hiring a company with no reviews or referrals. Skilled professionals have years of field experience and know what issues affect crawl spaces in their area.

For example, foundations in dryer climates with clay-rich soil can experience differential settlement. This is when sections of your home and foundation settle into the soil at different rates. This can cause one half of your home to be deeper than the other. A local licensed company will know your city’s building codes, what to look for inside your crawl space, and have the correct permits to perform different repair solutions.

What Comes After A Crawl Space Inspection?

If the inspector finds an issue that needs to be addressed, the solution will be based on what’s affected in your crawl space.

Weak floor joists and beams

If the joists and beams holding your first floor are deteriorating, you may notice sloping above. To counter this, experts can install crawl space jacks. These galvanized steel jacks are connected to a concrete base on your ground floor and secured to your existing or new girder beams. These jacks are adjustable so that professionals can lift your floor slowly and with precision.

Weak posts and pads

If your crawl space has cracked or leaning wood posts, or posts with numerous shims installed to keep the floor level, it’s probably time to replace them. If your posts are touching the ground, chances are moisture is slowly rotting away the wood. If the pads holding the posts are crumbling, the post won’t be able to support the floor above by itself.

Preventing earthquake damage

If you live in an area that experiences earthquakes of any magnitude, seismic retrofitting can prevent your crawl space from failing during a seismic event. Many homes and crawl spaces in earthquake-prone areas are not properly retrofitted. By securing your posts, pads, and subfloor, you can help prevent a major structural collapse.

Stem wall repair

The stem wall is the outer perimeter wall enclosing your crawl space. Many older homes have failing stem walls, or they’re built with inadequate materials. Stem walls made of rock cannot resist lateral forces from earthquakes and will crumble sooner than later. If your stem wall is stable but has cracks, experts can inject a high-strength epoxy that fills and seals the opening.

WRITTEN BY

Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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