Problems with your home’s foundation can affect almost every other part of the home. One survey found that 8.9% of inspection reports included evidence of foundation issues. Florida homeowners in St. Petersburg and elsewhere may expect foundation problems due to poor soil conditions. A skilled home inspector in St Petersburg FL can discover the tell-tale signs that could point to foundation problems or damage.
Florida’s unique geographical location is the primary source for many of the factors that can cause foundation problems. The most significant of these factors include:
- High water table
- Many nearby rivers, lakes, streams
- Severe weather risks
- High flood risks
These and other factors can cause drainage issues that contribute to erosion and soil surging, over-settling, deterioration of load-bearing walls, and direct water damage to the foundation. The foundation is a primary structural system of your home and any signs of a problem should be addressed immediately. Damage to the foundation has a ripple effect throughout your home’s structure. This is why many signs of foundation failure are noticed in other locations away from the foundation.
House Settling vs. Foundation Damage
Every house will “settle” over time after construction is completed. This is a normal process that typically does not impact the structural integrity of the home. The main sign of settling is small cracks in walls or the foundation itself. Structural engineers and construction professionals know about settling and they build homes to withstand this normal process.
Spotting foundation cracks may be worrisome, but the majority of them are a product of settling and nothing more. Modern homes can handle up to an inch of settling and slab foundations are usually designed and built to accommodate up to four inches of settling due to soil movement.
The National Association of Home Builders evaluates cracks in a foundation according to size:
- Negligible: Hairline to 1/8″
- Moderate: 3/16″ to 9/16″
- Severe: 9/16″ to 1″
- Very Severe: Over 1″
This is a general guide for reference only. A trained and experienced home inspector in St. Petersburg, FL can determine if any cracks warrant a deeper investigation by a structural engineer.
Note that this is just a general guide: you should consult with a structural engineer to determine whether cracks in a specific house foundation are cosmetic blemishes or a genuine concern.
Other Signs of Possible Foundation Problems
Foundation problems often show up first in other areas of the home. Every major structural system in your home is linked to others and to other components. What happens in one area impacts other areas. Shifting or damage to the foundation causes ripple effects in other places that are more obvious.
Common indicators of foundation problems that are typically located by a home inspector in St. Petersburg, FL include:
- Cracks in interior/exterior walls or floors
- Misaligned or sticking doors or windows
- Gaps between walls, windows, or doors
- Slanting or sagging floors
- A leaning chimney
- Musty odor in the crawlspace (signaling excess moisture)
- Damp walls, leaks, or water intrusion
- Nails working their way out of framework
Contact a Reliable Home Inspector in St Petersburg FL
A reliable home inspector in St. Petersburg, FL from Beryl Project Engineering can spot these and other issues with your home that point to serious problems. Anything of concern will be recorded on the inspection report that you will receive within 36 hours of completing your home inspection. Our trained and experienced inspectors will also indicate if they think a further inspection by a structural engineer is necessary.
Contact Beryl Project Engineering today if you need a home inspection before buying or selling a home or if you believe your home may have foundation problems.