What is a Foundation Inspection (CAD Drawings to Measurements)

Foundation inspections prove the first step, the kick-off, the great dawning of time and space when it comes to foundation repair. Foundation inspections are the alpha and peace of mind is the omega (and, God, there’s a joke about Greek life in there somewhere).

Alright – hyperbole aside, foundation inspections evaluate the condition of a home’s foundation based on empirical data that is visiblemeasurable, and quantifiable.

The measurements taken, the corresponding signs and symptoms, and all the data considered are not random or arbitrary.

Just as a diagnostic doctor works through various signs and symptoms before rendering a diagnosis, we consider all the information. And, lucky for us, there are only two primary “diseases” foundations suffer from:

  • Foundation Settlement (when a foundation sinks)
  • Foundation Heave (when a foundation raises)

Both issues above are caused by expansive soil. Expansive soil exerts a tremendous amount of wear-and-tear upon a foundation, the corresponding pressure working its way up into the frame and structure of the home resulting in obvious signs and symptoms.

In fact, many times before a foundation inspection is scheduled by the homeowner, they recognize structural abnormalities or, at the very least, cosmetic issues –  

  •   Sloping floors (the numero uno clue that something is amiss with the home’s foundation)
  •   Cracks zipping through the drywall, stucco, tile, or cement slab itself
  •   Sticking doors and windows (hard to open, hard to close, frames askew)
  • Leaning Kitchen Cabinets (like the King of Pop’s 45° leaning dance move in the Smooth Criminal music video)

After collaborating with our foundation repair specialists, we have developed an exhaustive, carefully curated checklist of signs and symptoms you can download for FREE –    

We recommend downloading the checklist, printing it off, and super-sleuthing around your home in search of signs and symptoms

You can then show this to your foundation repair specialist upon their arrival and be able to point them in the areas you believe are the most affected.

In this blog post, we are going to cover the basics of foundation inspections and what to expect.

Foundation Inspections 101

Foundation inspections are generally completed by either (a. a salesman or (b. a foundation repair specialist.

While some might consider this an arbitrary distinction, it’s not. While both are, at their core, financial representatives of the foundation repair company – foundation repair specialists have the best interest of the homeowner in mind (meaning they don’t overcharge or push disingenuous “preventative maintenance”).   

Our foundation repair specialists wear many hats:

  •   Inspector – we’re the Sherlock Holmes’ & Hercule Poirots of the foundation repair world  
  •   Architect – we design and execute the proposal and foundation repair plan
  •   Project Manager – we see the foundation repair project all the way through to the end, meaning we are in contact with our clients throughout the entire experience.  

So, keep this distinction in mind when you ultimately receive multiple bids (which we highly encourage).

We also strongly recommend you only employ foundation repair contractors who are insured. We cover this in-depth in our article: Why Hire a Licensed, Insured, & Bonded Foundation Repair Contractor.

When a foundation repair specialist arrives, the detective works begins. First, measurements of the outside of the home are taken via a walking wheeltape measure, and laser tape measure.

These measurements will be utilized to draw an accurate to-scale CAD drawing of your home, which will be included in your foundation repair proposal.  

Pictures are then taken of the signs and symptoms from the interior and exterior of the home.

We are especially looking for large cracks (big enough to fit a quarter in) and slanted floors (we may perform a golf-ball role test).   

This pictorial evidence is later uploaded to your own personalized Buildertrend account.   

After the inside and outside of the home have been heavily scrutinized and documented, we perform our floor elevation measurements with a Ziplevel Altimeter (a.k.a. a fancy electronic water level).

Ziplevel Altimeters are accurate at measuring height discrepancies up to 1/10th of an inch, proving amazingly exact.    


After a zero benchmark has been established from the most level part of the home, a series of measurements are taken in every single room of the house.

We can then determine where exactly the home is sinking or heaving and by how much, helping us focus our scope of repair.

Rule of thumb – if there is a large discrepancy between the floor elevation measurements in your home, there’s an issue.

These measurements also come in handy when deciding upon maximum practical recovery during a foundation repair lift.   

And, finally, if you have a raised foundation the specialist will go into your crawlspace and look for any possible damage:

  •   Spalling
  •   Missing posts and pads
  •   Cracked concrete pads
  •   Termite damage

If you live in Southern California, we may also suggest that you partner with the Brace & Bolt Program to seismically retrofit your home to protect you and yours against earthquakes.

This is generally the end of the inspection. Remember, most of our foundation repair inspections take anywhere between 60 to 90 minutes (be sure to peruse our article How Long Does a Foundation Inspection Take and What Can Add Time).  

And, good news, many foundation inspections we perform determine that the foundation does not require any foundation repair at all.

At the end of your inspection, you should receive your CAD drawings and a proposal in your email inbox by the end of the day. If you choose to sign, then the foundation repair process officially begins. 

Dalinghaus Foundation Repair Specialists

Here is a list of our current foundation repair specialists with links to their Youtube playlists (also, be sure to check out their bios):

We perform upwards of 312 inspections a year per specialist with one goal in mind: to provide the best customer service in the industry and ensure peace of mind.

Choose Dalinghaus for Your Foundation Repair Needs

 Here at Dalinghaus Construction, Inc.: we respect your time. We tailor-fit your home’s repair plan to meet your unique needs.

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. can help you fix your sinking foundation once and for all with helical pierpush pier, and polyurethane underpinning

We do foundation underpinning the right way. With over 100 years of combined experience and 4.9 stars out of over 300 reviews – we are here to ensure that you never settle

If you live in SoCal or Arizona and would like a FREE foundation inspection, click the link below 


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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