As a Professional Home Inspector serving North Texas, I see foundation repairs on many homes I inspect. Some say that in North Texas, it is not a matter of if but when a home’s foundation will need repair. Foundation repairs are very common in our area and good home inspectors know the signs of previous foundation repairs and those homes in need of foundation repair.
Foundation repairs should not be taken lightly but don’t have to be a “deal killer” of a reason to run away from a home. In my opinion, foundation repairs should be followed by repairing of the cracked interior and exterior walls that lead to the foundation repairs in the first place. All to often as aTexas Home Inspector, I see foundations which have been repaired but the cracks in interior and exterior walls and other signs of foundation trouble have not been repaired.
If the evidence that lead to foundation repairs has not been repaired, a home inspector has no way of knowing of the foundation repairs are in fact performing as intended. Cracks in brick masonry and interior drywall cracks that remain after foundation repairs still appear as defects and possible foundation issues.
When foundation repairs have been made and, the signs that lead to the foundation repairs have been fixed, the home inspector is looking to identify any new evidence of movement or settlement. Providing a home inspector with any information about previous foundation repairs is important. Knowing when the foundation repairs where completed and knowing when the wall cracks where repaired goes a long way towards a better home inspection report.
In my inspection reports, I report foundation repairs in several ways. For example:
1. There is evidence of previous foundation repairs. There are cracks in the interior and exterior walls which prevent the inspector from identifying if the foundation repairs are performing as intended. Interior and exterior wall cracks should be repaired and monitored over time for evidence of new or additional movement.
2. There is evidence of previous foundation repairs. The interior and exterior wall cracks have been repaired and there is no new or additional evidence of movement or settlement. The inspector recommends that the interior and exterior walls be monitored over time for evidence of new or additional movement or settlement.
I think that most would agree that option two is a better option. It identifies that foundation repairs were made and that the evidence that lead to the repairs has been repaired.
In addition to the reporting items above, I also recommend in my home inspection reports that the buyer obtain as much information as possible about the extent of the foundation repairs and any information about a transferable warranty if any.
A transferable warranty on foundation repairs is important. It gives the prospective buyer comfort to know that if the foundation moves or settles, they are there to take care of the problem.
So what items should be repaired to “finish the job” you ask? Some of these include:
1. Cracks in exterior wall cladding
2. Cracks in interior wall and ceiling finishes
3. Separated frieze boards at exterior trim
4. Cracks and deflections in poured concrete
5. Gaps in attic framing members
6. Cracked/broken floor tiles
7. Gaps in other floor coverings
8. Wrinkled corner drywall tape
9. Doors that rub or stick
10. Windows that are difficult to open
In summary, when your home has foundation repairs, “finish the job” by repairing the wall cracks, concrete cracks and other evidence that lead to the repairs. And, use a foundation repair specialist who provides a transferable warranty. Providing documentation of the foundation repairs to your inspector and agent is also a good idea.
Foundation repairs don’t have to kill a sale and shouldn’t, if the job is well done, documented and “finished”.
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