What’s Involved In A Home Foundation Inspection?

If you want to schedule a foundation inspection for your home, this is the right place to start. This article will teach you everything you need to know about foundation inspections, including how they’re performed, who’s qualified to perform one, when you need an inspection, and how much they usually cost.

What Is A Home Foundation Inspection?

Foundation Inspection

A home foundation inspection is when a structural engineer or foundation repair professional inspects your home for signs of settlement, heave, or damage. A home’s foundation needs to be structurally sound in order to provide your building and family with a safe environment. While some foundation repair issues are not structurally threatening to your home, they can still become a nuisance over time.

Here’s what an entire one-hour inspection involves.

  1. First, we ask the homeowner to show us their areas of concern. Professionals want to know what made the homeowner call them.
  2. Then, a specialist will walk around your home and take measurements using a walking wheel, tape measure, and laser tape measure. These measurements will be used to create a computer-aided drawing (CAD) of your home.
  3. Pictures are taken of the inside and outside of your home, specifically looking for cracks, sticking windows, sticking doors, leaning chimneys, and leaning fireplaces.
  4. After visual inspections are completed, professionals will perform floor elevation measurements using a Ziplevel altimeter. These tools can measure height discrepancies up to 1/10th of an inch.
  5. Lastly, the specialist will write a full report detailing any problems, their recommended solutions, permit information, whether a structural engineer needs to be involved, and a repair estimate. This report will outline if your home requires underpinning, wall anchors, polyurethane deep injections, or some other form of foundation repair.

Who Can Perform A Foundation Inspection?

You’re going to want to hire a company that has reputable and experienced foundation repair specialists. These experts have been in the field for years and know what sort of problems to look for. They also know if a problem even requires repair. For example, some signs of foundation settlement fall under “uniform settlement.” This form of movement is slight and usually occurs during the first few years of a home’s construction. If a specialist determines that your home is experiencing normal settlement, they’ll let you know.

You’ll also want to hire a local licensed company that knows your city’s building codes and is experienced with different foundation types. For example, foundation repair companies in California need C61 and D30 Pile Driving/Pressure Grouting licenses. It’s crucial that this company communicates with you and explains its process so that you can understand.

When Do You Need A Foundation Inspection?

You need a foundation inspection if you notice signs of foundation damage, have recently experienced an earthquake, are trying to buy/sell a home, or want to add renovations.

  • Earthquakes and natural disasters – If your home experiences an earthquake, call a foundation repair company as soon as possible. Other situations include sinkholes, flooding, mudslides, and snowstorms. Even if you don’t notice any visible damage to your foundation, an expert can find something that doesn’t even look like a problem. Minor, hidden problems can grow to become a disaster over time. 
  • Foundation damage signs – If you notice any of the following warning signs, call a foundation repair company now.
    • Sticking doors and windows
    • Cracks in windows and door frames
    • Ceiling cracks
    • Sloping floors
    • Drywall cracks
    • Stucco cracks
    • Gaps between windows, doors, and walls
    • Floor cracks
    • Leaning chimney/fireplace
    • Slope (downhill) creep 
    • Footing cracks
  • Buying or selling a home – If you plan on selling your home, a foundation inspection could increase your property’s value. If your inspection shows that your home is in great condition, it’ll boost your home’s desirability by at least 30%. If your inspection alerts you to something that needs your attention, you can quickly fix it before you get into any legal trouble. If you plan on buying a home that has not had a recent foundation inspection, schedule one and factor in the repair cost into your offer. 
  • Renovations – If you’re planning a major addition to your home, such as a new floor, you’ll need to know if your current foundation can support it. If your foundation cannot hold the weight of a new floor or it needs extensive repairs, an inspection will let you know before you go through with construction. 
Wall Crack

How Much Does A Home Foundation Inspection Cost?

If you call a foundation repair company, their inspections are usually free for homeowners. If the home is on the market or in escrow, some companies charge a $1000 fee that goes towards the costs of repairs. If you hire a private structural engineer, they can charge anywhere from $500 to $1500. This price can also increase based on the depth of the inspection and the size of your home.

Who Should You Call For A Home Foundation Inspection?

If you live in Southern California or Arizona, call Dalinghaus Construction! With over 30 years of experience, we’ve dedicated ourselves to building the best foundation repair company in the area. We offer free inspections and personalized estimates to all our clients, treating each one, regardless of project size, the same.


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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