I’m sure you have seen a home that had a front stoop or stairs that have fallen or were shifted.  This also happens to sidewalks that are along side of a home.  When doing a home inspection settling stairs and sidewalks issues comes up more than I would like to see.

At my home inspection in Elmwood Park, Illinois the settling stairs had to be the first thing I noticed when approaching the home.  The side walks had the same pitch towards the home that is generally a bad thing.  Why?  The grading of a home is what basically pushes water away from the foundation.  If the grading (dirt), sidewalks, patios, driveways, stairs and porches are tilted or pitched towards the home like the Elmwood Park home inspection there can be problems with not only the tilted or settling stairs but with foundation cracks, water in the basement and so much more.

If you have problems with water entering you home from settling stairs, tilted patios and so on you will have possible repair cost in you basement that could be in the thousands.  I would suggest you repair the settling stair by one of two ways.

  • Mud jacking is a way to lift a certain area of the settling stairs to get them to go in a direction that will eliminate poor drainage towards the foundation.  With this repair you will still have to make corrections to the grading and drainage around the stairs to prevent further settling.  Generally this repair method is 1/3 of the price of total removal and reinstallallation.
  • Total demolition and re installation is the more expensive correction of  settling stairs.  The benefits of this repair is that you will have a new set of concrete stairs and you will know that  the grading a sub structure is repaired properly.  The grading and drainage around you settling stairs will still need to be corrected to prevent future issues with settling.

My clients from the Elmwood Park home inspection were leaning to repair the settling stairs with the mud jacking procedure. The cost to mud jack their stairs was $700.00 versus $2000.00 for new concrete stairs.

As you can see my clients from the  Elmwood Park home inspection found out that poor grading and poor drainage  can produce costly repairs around your home.   If you have further questions about this subject please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke


What is an angle stop?  This is a gate shut off  that is installed at every area water supply is located.  These stops are sometimes called emergency shut offs.  They are called this because if there is a issue at the location at hand you will be able to isolate the water shut down to that area.  I received a call from a soon to be client who had just frequented our blog and had some questions.  The first question was do I check for angle stops?  I replied “of course”.  My new client explained he wanted me to do a home inspection in Elmwood Park, Illinois where he was buying his son a condo on North Avenue and Harlem.  I explained that we inspect every portion of his sons new condo and if he wanted to see some of my happy clients to check out www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/testimonials.html  our site and see what some of our clients think.

I got to the home inspection in Elmwood Park where I met my client who were gung ho for this inspection.  I inspected all the areas I generally do, but his biggest concern was that there were angle stops.   He explained that he had purchased another condo in Elmwood Park for his daughter and the inspector didn’t check to see if there were angle stops.  The home inspection in Elmwood Park that I didn’t do caused my client some financial distress to say the least.  It seems there was a very small leak in the wall of this condo building that was connected to the kitchen of the condo that he purchased.  This area was causing damage to the unit below.   My client went to the home inspection in Elmwwod Park to shut off the water where he found there wasn’t an angle stop to shut off.  My client had to hire a plumber to do what is called a “tier shut off”.  This is where all the units that are on top of each other will lose water.  The riser that services water to all of these units will need to be shut down so that my clients plumber could install angle stops to all the water supply openings in his condo.  The cost of this mistake of the inspector was $1325.00.  The home inspection in Elmwood Park that I was doing was fine and the unit had working angle stops.

Do you have questions about how angle stops work?  Contact us at ~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com   Jim Kolke