Hello again homeowners and property hunters! This month I plan to focus on the importance of inspecting(if you're purchasing) or maintaining(for homeowners) the foundation of your residence, present or future. Most people take the foundation for granted, simply because it is out of sight for the most part. Homes with a full basement sit between two and six feet above ground level, thereby obscuring the largest part of the foundation. Homes built on frost walls, or as they are commonly known, crawl spaces, have the foundation covered by siding to camouflage the foundation for aesthetics. Simply put, covering the foundation looks better than bare block, concrete, or wood. Here is where the problems lie. When we can't see something easily, it is easier to forget about, and much harder to inspect for potential settling cracks, holes, or even rot.
Everyone dreams of making their home comfortable and pleasing to the eye; most forget or ignore the importance of what is under their feet! Keep in mind, if your basement, or foundation of any type is not solid, why bother spend thousands to fix a kitchen or bathroom, when you need to start at the bottom.
Reparing foundation (including the sub-floor) issues need not be all consuming to the average budget. The important thing is to catch problems early so as to keep repair costs to a minimum. For those looking at potential buys, DO NOT ignore cracks, settling, or damp spots in a foundation. If you have any concerns at all, it would be much cheaper to hire a contractor for a written opinion concerning your property than moving in and being confronted with a money-pit. Don't forget, if there are problems with the underside of a house, there will always be problems throughout. How a foundation weathers is a good indication of how the entire structure will last.
Being a life-long constructor, I could go on endlessly about foundation issues. Next time, we'll carry on into the infrastructure guts of a home, and what one wants to look for, and what to avoid. Til then, this is Howie Bowes from Century21 wishing you Good Luck in your property search. Bye for now!