You’re buying a house and the regular inspector says there’s a problem with the foundation. Or maybe you have been seeing some cracks in your walls and the brick outside for the past few years and are starting to worry that you might have a foundation in need of repair.
Or maybe you just had your drain line cleared out by a plumber and they hinted that you might also have a cracked foundation. Yikes! No matter what the circumstances, you think you might need someone to look at your home for a professional assessment, or inspection, or consultation or something like that . . .
Inspections, Consultations, Assessments, these are all words that mean the same sort of thing in the foundation repair world. A foundation *insert favorite term here* involves looking at the outside and inside of the home, and making a plan for fixing it. Most companies will also provide you with a drawing or sketch that details plans for repair on the home as well as a quoted price.
What will an inspection cost? How does an inspection work? When can I get one and who should I trust? These are all common questions when dealing with the prospect of a foundation repair inspection. Inspections from different companies are similar in many ways and all serve as a crucial first step in completing the needed repair on your home.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been serving our community for over 35 years with both foundation inspection and repair services throughout the Brazos Valley. After looking over thousands of homes in the Bryan-College Station area, we can tell you what one of these inspections should include and how they work.
Understanding the foundation inspection process is helpful to everyone involved in the repair. This step cannot be skipped, and it is helpful to know what to expect from your foundation inspection.
What is a foundation inspection?
Depending on the company, an inspection, sometimes called a consultation, and in our case, an In-Home Assessment provides the plan of action for repairing a home’s foundation. A foundation repair expert will look over your property and listen to your concerns as you point out problems you might be seeing around your home.
A foundation professional will also spot signs and issues that you may not even be aware of that are signals of foundation damage and the need for repair.
During the inspection, measurements will be taken, damage and failure points on the exterior and interior of the home are reviewed. Then, a plan will be developed for the best way to repair the foundation of your home. The estimated cost of the repairs is the most important thing you want to hear, and that will be covered too.
Aspects of a foundation inspection can vary from company to company. Some companies include a drawing of the home to look at and plan out the next steps. Others will provide a report based on calculations. Some may just give you a verbal estimate and discussion.
A foundation inspection is the most important part of the pre-repair process and is critical in identifying and addressing the concerns of the homeowner and ensuring that any problems found have a clear and detailed plan to handle them.
In some cases, after visiting with a foundation repair professional, the plan might even be to wait and see how things do or don’t progress over time and seasons. Sometimes the best course of action can be to not do anything yet, or ever, depending on how the home is being used and what the owner wants for the home.
Cost of Foundation Repair Inspection
The cost of an inspection varies from company to company. Some companies offer a free estimate while other companies charge a fee. In any inspection, consultation, or assessment, a plan for repair is developed and cost quoted.
The difference between one company and another could be in the amount of detail provided and the investment of time taken to hear a homeowner’s concerns. Or the difference could be simply the difference in your impressions of the actual contractor as a person, and how they make you feel.
Free inspections might be just as detailed as a paid version. Free foundation consultations can include a sketch just as a paid inspection does, and both could look very professional. On the surface, free inspections might not seem that different. Free inspections could be just as good at meeting your needs.
The cost of paid consultation inspections varies but typically ranges from $200 to $350. This cost might seem high at first look, but think about why there might be a charge for this. Is your peace of mind worth a fee? This charge can be applied to the cost of the repairs in most companies if a commitment is made for the work to be done.
The foundation inspection is a crucial step in foundation repair. Whether you decide to go for a paid or receive a free inspection, the goal is the same. Inspections allow for planning how the repair will go and the steps needed to achieve the repair.
Why would someone pay for a foundation inspection?
Typically, contractors build in the time value of a free inspection into their final cost somewhere. You might still be paying for that time, you just won’t know it from a clear line item on the bill.
Free inspections honestly might not be as honest as a paid inspection. Remember, getting something for *free* is a common and universal sales tool to make you think you’re getting something for nothing. But what you really could be getting is a “guaranteed foundation problem” rather than an honest assessment of your home.
When you are looking at spending a large amount of money, maybe 10K to 20K on the low end, don’t you want to make sure you really need that work? Would a small fee be worth it to you to get an honest opinion?
Maybe think about it this way: before having a major medical operation or procedure, do you pay a doctor or maybe several to give you their assessment? Usually, you would pay a diagnostic charge to a mechanic to tell you what is wrong with your car. Lawyers charge for their professional expertise and opinions.
Most companies would likely apply any cost of the consultation towards the cost of the repair, so then it’s not really an issue for you. That’s what we do here at Anchor.
Maybe it’s not the cost that is important in a foundation inspection.
Maybe it’s not whether the inspection is paid or free, maybe the real difference is in the feeling you get from interacting with the contractor. Do they sound like they are interested in your needs? Do they take the time to listen and respond with helpful information? Do you feel any pressure to act?
Both free and paid inspections are common in the foundation repair industry. It is recommended to reach out to a local contractor to see whether a free or paid inspection is offered. Ask for details about what you can expect to receive from that company after the inspection.
Listen to your instincts when choosing the right contractor. Getting more than one inspection or consultation may be needed to help you feel good about your decision.
3 Common Steps in a Foundation Inspection
After reaching out to your chosen contractor, and having a phone conversation about your home’s problems, an on-site inspection is likely scheduled. These are some of the most common steps taken during the consultation process. No particular order of inspecting a home is right or wrong. All repair companies have different methods when inspecting a home and often add and remove some steps listed here.
1. Reviewing the Exterior of the Home
It is common for most foundation inspections to begin on the exterior of the home. Getting familiar with the outside of the home allows the inspector to breakdown any potential problems that may be visible or occurring outside.
Common inspection points are windows and any failure or separation of trim on the outside of the home. The inspector will look at the direction of diagonal or stair-step cracking. Gapping or stretching of caulk lines can also help the contractor in assessing the problem. All these signs aid in determining where the damage is to the foundation and which way the foundation is settling.
Inspecting the soil around the home, gutter runoff, brick cracking, and the foundation itself are all included in the exterior inspection of the home. After reviewing damage points and problem forming red flags on the exterior, the inspection moves inside for a more complete picture.
2. Going Over the Interior of the Home
Going through the house is important, and having access to the whole home is needed. If all areas of the home are not available for review, the inspection may not be able to be completed.
Most inspections start where the homeowner has seen symptoms of damage. These problem spots are either communicated to the inspector in person during the assessment or in advance through phone conversations and pictures.
After taking a look at the areas where homeowners noticed the issues, the inspector will look for less noticeable signs that a homeowner might not even realize are an issue or an indicator of a problem.
Inspecting the interior of the home is key to finding where the issues are occurring to the foundation. Measurements of the rooms in the home are taken to provide the inspector with clear dimensions for the scale drawing of the home and the location of any problem found.
3. Drawing of the Home and Work Proposal
After completing the exterior and interior review of the home, the next step is providing a drawing that includes the damages, recommended repair methods, and a detailed plan to fix the foundation problem with your home.
Measurements were already taken to ensure accurate dimensions on the drawing. The main goal is to provide a detailed diagram that is the actual plan to repair the home. Some companies deliver drawings in different ways.
It is common to expect a traditional paper drawn diagram. In today’s digital world, inspection reports that are done through software and delivered electronically are common as well. In this final delivery, a proposal for work and cost is offered for homeowner consideration.
How soon can I get my inspection?
How soon someone can come to see you ultimately depends on supply and demand. If there are a lot of homeowners wanting inspections right now and demand is high, an inspector will have to schedule farther out. If there is time available sooner, the foundation repair inspection could certainly be scheduled within a few days.
Typically, any foundation repair contractor should be able to get to you within 2 to 3 weeks but it all depends on what might already be booked.
We can assure you that most foundation repair issues are not emergencies. Most problems have taken many years to form, so it’s okay to wait a few weeks in most cases. Much like a cavity that needs to be filled at the dentist, it’s something that needs to be done, but not much will change about the situation if your appointment is a few weeks or even months away.
Would you like Anchor to do Your Foundation Inspection?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we provide our customers with a digital drawing of their home that includes the repair diagram upon completion of the In-Home Assessment. This provides a clearly defined plan of action for repair and eliminates uncertainty about what needs to be done to support your home properly.
Our paid In-Home Assessment can also include verbal discussions for other problem areas like improving drainage, guttering, irrigation, etc. This information is invaluable to the homeowner in the future to gain an understanding of how they can care for their home.
“Of course, I will share with you what I see as problems or potential problem areas around the home in my role as a foundation repairman. More importantly, I’ll share my thoughts with you from the perspective of a homeowner myself, as well as a neighbor, and friend.”Craig Tripp – President, Owner, CEO, Foundation Repair Extraordinaire
We charge $225 for our professional In-Home Assessments and spend a great deal of time listening to homeowner concerns and answering any questions on your mind. Our customers find that the information we provide is worth the price.
Before even coming out for a paid visit, we will ask for pictures and have a FREE and detailed phone or video call with you to determine if a home inspection is really needed. We don’t want to waste your time or your money with a visit if repairs are not needed.
In case you are wondering, the $225 for our assessment is 100% applied to the cost of any committed repair proposal. Homeowners value the information we provide as both an honest and transparent professional opinion of their foundation’s condition and need for repair.
If you are unsure whether you need a foundation inspection, it is important to know the signs of foundation damage. Common signs such as sticking doors, cracked tile, shifting trim, and other common symptoms can help determine if you need an inspection. If you are ready to get started with Anchor, go ahead and fill out our contact form today to get in touch with our foundation repair experts. We are ready to provide you with 100% transparency and offer a voice of trust in handling all your foundation issues.