Having your home inspected prior to purchase is always prudent. A qualified home inspector will identify existing issues and highlight any future areas of possible concern. One of the major problem areas is the foundation of the home. Most homes in West and North Vancouver are constructed on a concrete basement foundation while some are built on “slab on grade”. Basically, a slab foundation indicates no basement, just a slab of concrete on which the house is built while a traditional foundation means the house has a basement. Foundation problems may be extremely expensive to repair. When a home inspector identifies an issue he will often advise buyers to consult with a structural engineer for further assistance. Many foundation problems are obvious even to someone with no construction experience. Here are a few things to look for:
Watch for any signs of moisture in the basement or crawl space. Water can seep through foundation cracks and may cause musty smells, mold and saggy or uneven flooring.
Exterior Wall Cracks
All cracks are not a sign of damage as some are a result of normal settling. However, extensive cracking should always be investigated. The general rule of thumb is if a dime can fit into the crack have it checked out.
Bowed Walls/Crooked Doors
May indicate moisture issues or soil movement beneath the foundation.
Poor exterior drainage or expanding soil can cause the foundation to crack and settle resulting in a tilting or cracked chimney.
Broken drain tile, clogged gutters or improper grading may all cause water to collect against the foundation. Pooling water close to the house is a potential red flag.