DIY Foundation Inspections: A Step-by-Step Guide

Your home’s foundation is a critical component of its structural integrity, and it’s essential to keep it in good condition to ensure the safety and stability of your house. While professional foundation inspections are crucial, conducting regular DIY inspections can help you spot potential issues early and prevent costly repairs down the road. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how to perform a DIY foundation inspection to keep your home on solid ground.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you begin your DIY foundation inspection, gather the tools you’ll need. These may include:

  • A flashlight: To help you see into dark and tight spaces.
  • A tape measure: For measuring any cracks or irregularities.
  • A notepad and pen: To record your observations.
  • A level: To check for sloping or uneven floors.
  • Safety gear: Depending on the access points, you may need safety gear such as gloves, a dust mask, or knee pads.

Step 2: Exterior Inspection

Start your inspection on the outside of your home. Walk around the perimeter and look for the following signs of foundation issues:

1. Cracks in the Foundation Walls

Inspect the exterior foundation walls for cracks. Pay close attention to any cracks that are wider than 1/4 inch or appear to be growing. Note the location and size of these cracks in your notepad.

2. Bulging or Bowing Walls

Check for any areas where the foundation walls appear to be bulging or bowing inward. These can be signs of pressure from expanding soil or water intrusion.

3. Water Pooling

Observe how water flows around your foundation during rainfall. Ensure that water is draining away from the house and not pooling near the foundation. Pooling water can lead to soil erosion and foundation damage.

4. Vegetation and Trees

Look for tree roots or large vegetation that may be too close to the foundation. The roots can extract moisture from the soil, causing it to shrink and potentially lead to foundation settlement.

5. Cracks in the Ground

Inspect the soil around your foundation for any visible cracks. Dry, cracked soil can indicate that the soil is shrinking, which can affect your foundation.

Step 3: Interior Inspection

After completing the exterior inspection, move inside your home and check for signs of foundation issues:

1. Check for Uneven Floors

Use the level to check your floors for any sloping or unevenness. Pay attention to any areas where the floor feels uneven or where furniture seems to tilt.

2. Doors and Windows

Check if doors and windows open and close smoothly. If you notice that doors are sticking or windows are difficult to open, it may be a sign of foundation movement.

3. Cracks in the Walls and Ceiling

Inspect the interior walls and ceiling for cracks, especially in the upper corners and near doors and windows. Note the size and location of any cracks.

4. Basement and Crawl Space Inspection

If you have a basement or crawl space, inspect these areas as well. Look for signs of water intrusion, dampness, or cracks in the foundation walls.

Step 4: Documentation

Record all your observations and measurements in your notepad. Be as detailed as possible, noting the location, size, and appearance of any issues you’ve identified. This documentation will be valuable if you decide to consult a professional foundation repair contractor.

Step 5: Follow-Up

After completing your DIY foundation inspection, it’s essential to take action based on your findings:

  • Minor Cracks: Small, non-expanding cracks in the foundation may not be cause for immediate concern. However, monitor them over time to ensure they don’t worsen.
  • Major Issues: If you’ve identified significant foundation problems, such as large cracks, bowing walls, or uneven floors, it’s crucial to contact a professional foundation repair contractor for a detailed assessment.

Step 6: Contact a Professional

While DIY inspections are helpful for regular monitoring, it’s essential to have your foundation inspected by a qualified professional at least once every few years, or sooner if you suspect significant issues. A professional can provide a more in-depth assessment, identify underlying problems, and recommend appropriate solutions.

Regular DIY foundation inspections are an excellent way to stay vigilant about the health of your home’s foundation. By following this step-by-step guide and promptly addressing any issues you discover, you can help ensure that your foundation remains strong and stable for years to come.

If you have concerns about your foundation or require a professional inspection, contact Done Right Foundation Repair today. Our experienced team is ready to assist you in maintaining the structural integrity of your home. Call us at one of our locations or visit our contact page to schedule an inspection. Your peace of mind and your home’s foundation are our top priorities.