Cracks in a foundation can be very serious.  How serious the cracks are depends on their location and the condition they are in.  When I find a crack in a basement the first thing I look for is if there is any history of water penetration.  The next concern is if there is displacement or shifting of the foundation walls.  This is exactly how I what I did while performing the home inspection in Chicago for my clients.

There are two types of cracks.  There are structural and non stuctural.  I talk about the non structural first.  Non stuctural cracks are cracks that can develop from settling of the foundation, settling of a homes structure and expansion and contraction of the concrete that the foundation is made of.  Most of the  cracks that I see in a basement foundation are non stuctural but may still need attention.  These cracks can develop from poor grading along the foundation of the home, window frames in the foundation walls, loading from beams and poor compaction of the material under the foundation footing walls.  The foundation walls of the Chicago home inspection had cracks in the foundation that derived from poor grading and concrete expansion.  These cracks did not have past or present water penetration.

If you do find a crack that does or does not have water issues I still advise to repair it.  These cracks can become active and repairs are minimal most of the time.  Depending on the size and water penetration of the crack will determine what type of repair the contractor will do.  Foundation repairs generally cost $200.00 a crack.  You can see other repair prices at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.  Repairs can be done quickly but the cause of the crack will still need to be corrected.  This is the same advice I gave to my clients from the Chicago home inspection.

Structural cracks are the more serious type and if found should be evaluated by an structural engineer.  Structural cracks could have been non structural cracks that were left not repaired and developed into structural cracks.  If you see horizontal cracks or bulging of the foundation that is the first sign of structural issues.

These type of issues will require more investigation and probably more costs to repair.  My Chicago home inspection did not have any structural type cracks.  If you see these type of issues and need immediate help contact me ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.  Letting these issues go without repair can possibly cause damage to the structural of the home that you own.

As you can see cracks in a foundation should not be left active.  Repairs to the issues that helped create these cracks also will require repairs as soon as possible because they still may allow they cracks to continue developing.  If you still need more help contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/testimonials.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke

While performing a home inspection in Waukegan, Illinois my clients asked me if their new homes basement got water before.  This a very hard question even to the most seasoned home inspectors in the industry.  It is easy to throw a blanket statement out to your clients to appease them.  I want to give them the most honest answer I could come up with.  To do this I must inspect the exterior of the home and the interior of the basement walls withe moisture meters, thermal imagers and with my prior experience to possible inform me of past water inclusions.

When you look at the exterior of a home you want to look at the soil or grass that is touching your foundation.  The dirt or grade should be pitched away from the home.  One of the first reasons you might get water in your basement is from the lack of leaders on your downspouts.  Leaders should be 4′ – 6′ long and pouring on a splash block to allow the earth around the home to absorb the rain water.  If you don’t have these installed and want to know pricing for these issues you can see them at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

The leaders, gutters and grading are some of the main reasons for water issues in basements.  If these items are in the proper order then the chance of these items being the culprits are very limited.  The next reason for water issues in a basement are due to sewer back up.  Sewer back up is when your sewer literally backs up into your home through a floor drain, toilet or shower drain.  The only way this can be stopped is by having a back flow prevention device built into your sewer system.  These systems can cost any where from $7000.00 -  $15000.00 depending on how elaborate the system needs to be.

The next issues would be cracks or penetrations in the foundation.  Depending on where you are at in the country this could be a big issue. If the basement walls are all drywalled over then the use of a thermal imager with moisture meters is the only way to inspect for possible issues.  If you bought a home recently and the basement was recently painted you could still see past evidence of water issues on base boards, door frames, doors, mechanical systems, piping and more.  You just have to be patient and the answers will come to you.

Hopefully this will help you stop water issues in your basments but if you have more questions you can contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke

Recently on a home inspection in La Grange Park, Illinois we found that the grading (pitch of the dirt) had a negative pitch towards the house.   Our clients were baffled on why this was such a major issue on the health of the home.  I explained to the client that the rain water will follow the pitch of dirt towards the home down the foundation wall and erode the dirt below the footings and cause water penetration which can lead to structural issues in the home.

On this particular home inspection in La Grange Park, we did find that the grading was a “defective issue”.  The word “defective” could possible “scare” clients or Realtors about the integrity of the home.  On further review of the home, I found that there was no structural damage at the time of inspection.  My advice was to hire a landscaper to increase the grade away from the home.  This is generally an inexpensive repair to the home and could also be repaired by the new home owner.

In the picture below, you can see the components that would make an ideal grading on a home inspection in La Grange Park.   A lot of times this item is overlooked and could cost you thousands of dollars in foundation repairs.  You can see in the illustration that the grading directly affects the footings and foundation which in turn will affect the home up to the roof.

If you are unsure of what to look for when inspecting for grade give us a call and we will assist you.  We are in La Grange Park doing home inspections on a regular basis.  We do not mind stopping by and pointing you in the right direction.

If you have issues like these and need help with any remedies please contact us at~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector