No matter what others have told you, foundation settlement is not normal, no matter what the age of the home. There are many signs, like wall cracks and changes in the operation of doors and windows, that may point to the fact that the foundation is sinking and settling. You want to purchase a dream home that is structurally sound and embedded perfectly on and in the soil.
Inspecting a Home Before You Buy
While outside, check the structures walls for signs of foundation settlement, for instance is there any stair-step cracking. The name explains exactly what the crack looks like. Very common in brick and stucco walls, these cracks are typical of foundation settlement, and might well point to cracks in the structure’s foundation walls too.
When walking through the home’s interior, take note of any cracks that air and water could possibly penetrate. Mother Nature can wreak havoc with mold growth in places we don’t often pay attention to. Keep in mind that air quality testing is the fool-proof way of detecting if any toxic mold or mold spores are already present in the home.
Where ever you see an opening in a wall, with a door or a window, that area becomes the weakest part of the wall. It is these zones that will tell us that the foundations are not in a good way.
Notice if the doors or windows are ‘out’ of square? Namely not flush with their wooden frames and have actually ‘stepped-out’ of their sliding track. Do the windows stick when trying to open them? Are there cracks extending from the corners of these doors and walls?
And then be terribly aware of any new paint jobs that might have covered up cracks from foundation settlement. You do not want to be hoodwinked into buying a home with expensive repair costs attached.
Cast your eyes downwards and check for any gaps where the floor meets the walls. If there is, then the home has sagging or uneven flooring, pointing a clear concern to crawl space trouble. The columns in the crawl space might be spaced too far apart or the joists and girders are weakened most probably due to moisture, humidity and mold. Most definitely time to get the Home Inspector out if you are serious about putting an offer in on this apparent dream home.
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