The 4 Worst Problems We Find During An Inspection
Updated: Feb 28
It's disheartening to find major problems during an inspection. We never want to be the bearer of bad news but we often find things the homeowner had no idea about. The issues can pose a serious challenge and make the retrofit much more complex. Other times, its just flat out gross!
Here are some things we hate to see during an inspection:
1) Foundation issues
The worst-case scenario is that your foundation is crumbling away or nonexistent. In this picture, there actually is no real foundation under the wall, which means a new one will need to be poured. That's a lot of work! If the foundation is there but a metal tool can scrape away significant amounts of material, it's a sign the foundation may be inadequate.
Foundations can present problems in a number of different ways. What we would like to see is a poured cement foundation. We need a solid foundation so when the house shakes, the bolts that we install don't rip out or fail to transfer the load.
2) Rotten framing
Standing water or mold in a crawlspace can spell disaster by rotting posts, beams, and other framing. Members like posts that sit on concrete are especially susceptible to rot. It's also not uncommon for drainage issues from something like a faulty gutter to cause rot in a localized area.
3) Unreinforced Brick
If your foundation is made of brick, or you live in a very old brick building or your chimney towers above your child's play area - you may be living with a serious hazard. But don't be alarmed if you live in a brick house; this is usually a brick facade and it's not load-bearing. Falling bricks from chimneys and unreinforced masonry buildings are one of the main earthquake hazards in Seattle. Brick foundations are often not strong enough to support seismic loads, and are subject to collapse.
4) Rodent and pests
Retrofitting a house with rodent problems usually means cleaning the crawlspace prior. A new vapor barrier, new insulation, and pest control may be required before we can start with the installation of hardware. We will spare you the photos on this one, it can be disgusting!