When deciding to buy a home, is a home inspection important? Judging from the title of this blog post, they’re certainly worth your while. Ultimately, you wouldn’t drive a car without insurance. So why risk making the most important purchase of your life without a pre-purchase home inspection?

An AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection can spare you costly foundation and basement repairs, and the debt that comes with them. Our trained inspectors are here to help homebuyers evaluate the true condition of any home, up front and honestly – including those crucial areas beneath your living space. But before you schedule your inspection, here’s why inspecting foundations is so crucial in your decision-making process.

What foundation faults do our inspectors commonly find?

Basements and crawl spaces are the two most common types of foundation in Canadian homes. Sure, you won’t be spending the majority of your time down there but when you’re upstairs enjoying the warmth of your living room, these issues can menacingly lurk beneath your floorboards if left uninspected.

Bulges and curves

Spotting bulges or curves in block foundation or concrete walls could indicate foundation movement. In Canada, our nation’s extreme temperatures cause soil to expand and contract, sometimes putting pressure on foundation walls in turn.

Cracking

The soil surrounding home foundations is loose post-excavation. When this soil settles and nearby vibrations occur, it can cause cracks in your foundation.

Leaking

If you have cracks in your foundation, this spells big trouble. While plastic perforated piping (weeping tile) is installed on the outside of footing (concrete slab below the foundation) to collect accumulating water, this doesn’t always save the day. Ultimately, when too much water penetrates these cracks, you’ll experience a leaky basement that provides a damp, wet and poorly ventilated breeding ground for mould to grow.

Why do basements and foundations leak?

You know that loose soil we just referenced. In short, it’s easier for water to percolate through loose soil before accumulating. This loose soil is packed against basement and foundation walls when constructed. As water accumulates in the soil, it then seeps into walls causing damage.

What are the faulty basement and foundation warning signs?

When our trained inspectors perform pre-purchase home inspections and foundation inspections, they often detect basement and foundation warning signs like the ones outlined below. Remember, ignoring issues like these and hoping they go away won’t help either. Ultimately, foundation issues worsen over time and while they may not threaten the safety of your home immediately, they likely will over an extended period of time if left uninspected.

  • Cracking in interior/exterior brickwork
  • Bowing and honeycombing/flaking in walls
  • Imbalanced or sloping flooring
  • Floor tile cracking
  • Doors and windows that no longer fit their framework
  • Cavities between walls and the ceiling/floor
  • Damp walls and basement mould

In truth, most poured concrete foundations have typical shrinkage cracks (less than 1/8 of an inch) that are caused by concrete curing and drying. While these are considered par for the course, sealing any crack big or small with sealant can guard against water leakage.

How much do basement and foundation repairs cost?

It’s impossible to accurately calculate the average cost of basement and foundation repairs. After all, every home and their subsequent defects are different. However, here are some of the ballpark costs per defect to put you in the picture. As you can see, are these spiralling costs really worth your decision to waive a pre-purchase home inspection?

Foundation cracks

Based on 2020 data from U.S. company HomeAdvisor, foundation cracks typically cost homeowners CAD$300 to CAD$1,000 to fix. Cracks wider than 1/8 of an inch are ones that definitely require attention.

Foundation leaks

HomeAdvisor estimates that repairing foundation leaks costs Canadian homeowners between CAD$2,500 and CAD$8,900. Waterproofing typically includes excavating the ground to install new tile drains and coating the structure in sealant.

Settling and sinking foundation repair

If your home is settling or sinking, it will need to be raised to its original height. HomeAdvisor suggests that securing homes with piers can cost Canadians CAD$1,270 to CAD$3,800 per unit or alternatively, CAD$630 to CAD$1,650 for mudjacking.

Bowing wall repair

Bowing is when foundation walls lean and if this occurs, HomeAdvisor claims repairs using carbon fibre or steel reinforcement strips can cost Canadians between CAD$445 and CAD$1,270 per strip.

Book your AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection today

Remember, waiving a pre-purchase home inspection could mean waving goodbye to your hard-earned savings and hello to costly basement and foundation repairs. Never waive your right and book an AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection (including a foundation inspection) to uncover every detail for you to reach the right decision.

Our qualified inspectors can help identify basement and foundation faults, and recommend simple, low-cost solutions to address the problem. Please note, while conditions may be pointed out during a home inspection, it is virtually impossible for inspectors to give a conclusive opinion on the worsening of conditions over time. AmeriSpec has over 30 years of home inspection industry experience. When you need to take the next step, call our team at 866-284-6010.