House Foundation Inspection | DIY Checklist

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CONCRETE FOUNDATION CHECKLIST

The following checklist is specific to concrete foundations only.

As foundations age and a house settles, some crack propagation can be expected. Over time, water ingress may occur with subsequent damage to not only the concrete foundation itself but also to the interior structural and finish components. Foundation failures are always expensive to repair and the sooner identified, the better. Fortunately, most cracks will never require attention. Nonetheless cracks are certainly not insignificant. Use this checklist as a quick reference to determine if your house foundations have any of these ‘red flags’. If so, consult an expert for further review.

FOUNDATION CRACKS PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Cracks wider at one end than other. Serious. Foundation rotating with footings.
Concrete wall moved on either side of crack. Serious. Soil expansion creating movement.
Crack is horizontal along the wall. Serious. Soil expansion creating movement.
Crack is vertical along the wall. May be minor issue.
Crack is diagonal along the wall. May indicate footing movement.
Crack zig-zags or steps along the wall. May indicate footing movement.
Multiple cracks in parallel or appears to be a sheer type. May indicate footing movement.
Crack edge is crisp or sharp. New crack. Monitor.
Crack edge is worn. Old crack. May not be an issue.
Recent excavation in neighbourhood. Construction activity impacting foundations.
Active seismic zone. Creates new cracks.

 

FOUNDATION CONDITION PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Concrete crumbles to hand touch.                                         May be a sign of concrete mixture failing.       
Concrete chips away easily. May be a sign of embedded rebar rusting.

 

FOUNDATION MOVEMENT PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Lean in foundation wall.                                                          Serious.                                                                   
Bulge in foundation wall. Serious.

 

FOUNDATION MOISTURE PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Evidence of mold (staining, smell).                                       Moisture ingress.                                                  
Evidence of swelling on floor, drywall or baseboard. Moisture ingress.

 

FOUNDATION ATTACHMENTS   PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Windows in foundation wall difficult to open/close. May be concrete crack at corner.                       
Window glass cracked in foundation wall. May be concrete crack at corner.
Doors in foundation wall difficult to open/close. May be concrete crack at corner.             
Joist brackets stressed.     Wall movement.
Parging on exterior of foundation wall above ground.      May be hiding cracks.
In a crawlspace, beams are leaning or have collapsed. Structural movement.

 

FOUNDATION LANDSCAPING PASS ATTN N/A COMMENTS
Ground slopes towards foundation.                                      May cause water penetration.                            
Water ponds near foundation. May cause water penetration.
Window well may have clogged drain. May cause water penetration.
Expansive soil at foundation. Pressure on foundation.
Roof gutters drain underground. Possible clogged perimeter drain.                
Mature trees or bushes near foundation. Possible roots entering cracks.