Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


07:51AM | 11/13/04
Member Since: 11/12/04
2 lifetime posts
We've put an offer on an old home (1923) and recently had our inspection done. When the inspector made his way into the crawl space, he came out with some unexpected news.

The home's foundation does not appear to be resting on a footer. The house has definitely settled some as can be seen by the slope in the living room floor. However, approximately 20 years ago, a previous owner had posts (resting on concrete footers) installed throughout the crawl space to bring in added support. These posts are in good condition.

What likely occurred is this...

The home was not originally built with a footer in place, and the crawl space was very narrow making the floor joices close to the ground. This ultimately led to some termite problems. A previous owner attempted to remedy this situation by digging out the crawl space to give it more depth, installing the posts mentioned above, and replacing damanged beams. Now that the crawl space has been deepened and posts installed, the foundation no longer goes to the bottom of the crawl space floors. So, it now sits on top of a mound of soil - no footer in place.

One side of me says that this could be a huge problem, but the other side of me says that the house has be standing for 80 years. Yes, it has had some settling, but the posts are now in place as an attempt to remedy this. Other than the slight slope in the floor, there are no apparent cracks in the walls or problems with windows not opening properly. This tells me that the settling likely occurred prior to the previous owner's fix and that things may be in decent order.

Am I being blinded by the great location and my love of this house?

Glenn Good

06:31PM | 11/13/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
A foundation resting on a mound of dirt with no proper footing under it has a potential for future settlement problems. How severe the risk of future settlement is can only be judged by a structural engineer through an on-site inspection.

A general contractor would then be qualified to estimate the cost of any needed repairs or additional shoring recommended by the engineer, or to return the foundation to its original condition.

The fact there are no apparent signs of cracking or window/door problems is not proof positive that the house will not continue to settle. Cracks can be repaired and doors and windows adjusted or trimmed. How long has the crawl space been excavated? By excavating the crawl space close to the foundation wall the previous owner could have weakened it and even contributed to future settlement.

Has an exterminator been asked to look at the termite problem and the extent of the infestation? A contractor should also be asked to look into any hidden damage caused by the termites that may not be apparent.

If you like the house and location enough to put additional money into it then buy it. If additional repairs are not within your budget, move on, or hire an engineer to look it over for you before you purchase. If the engineer tells you that the house requires additional work, then you will have to ask a general contractor to estimate the cost.

Good luck and I hope it works out well for you in the end.


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05:02PM | 11/14/04
Member Since: 11/12/04
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for the feedback.

There have been some updates. I crawled under the house with our contractor to get a better look at things first-hand following our inspection. What we found, is actually worse than we had initially anticipated.

In the corner of the house where the problems are by far the worst, we found several of the floor joices showing signs of dry rot (where they sit on the foundation wall). In addition, I could see evidence of undermining below the foundation wall. At the same location where the joices were rotting, I was able to stick my hand above the foundation and could not find any evidence of a plate on which the wall was standing (only saw dust). I think the wall plate had actually rotted away, enabling me to tap on the siding from inside the crawl space. AND, I could see daylight coming through while in the crawl space from the outside. My sense is that poor drainage, combined with the already shoddy foundation has created some significant problems for this corner of the home.

All in all, a pretty disapointing event. Nonetheless, we informed the seller of what we found, and they were obviously shocked. They were selling the house as "move in ready", so we had to be the ones to break the news to them, that it is not move in ready, and actually has a fairly substantial structural flaw.

The good news, is that they have agreed to "do whatever it takes to remedy this situation" and will be talking to a structural engineer and qualified contractor on Monday morning (focusing on those with experience working on older homes). They even called us to ask about a series of other homes we saw jacked up getting foundation work done, so that they could seek out recommendations on qualified help.

I remain optimistic. The house is in a great location and has a ton of potential. If we can negotiate around the foundation problems, which it sounds like we have a good chance of doing, we will still likely move forward. Having a structural engineer involved eases my mind to some extent, as they will not be likely to come up with a temporary and cosmetic fix. The question remains - will they choke on the cost. However, they are now in a tight spot. Now that this problem is known, they would have to disclose it to any other future seller, so I see us as being in a pretty good spot.

Thanks for your response...

I'll let you know what happens.


11:38AM | 04/13/18
I bought a new house and from what I have been told I have a big problem with the way they did the grading neighbors run off water all heads to me I sit down and their homes are higher I requested records from the City and it states they cannot find the inspection of the footer the builder will not correct the problem with the grading and water coming into crawl space and it drains slowly and some sits there for a long time I am extremely concerned when reading about footers. I have 6 1/2" water in water meter in driveway I had the utility company come out and they said no leak he walked around my house puzzle with all the water in there and said lady you have a very bad grading problem I had the City out and a Civil engineer stating its a problem but even though I pay city taxes its on a private road and they cannot help me And when I requested the records on the house they cannot find the footer inspection . I never had a dryer vent installed it was blowing in insulation for months dryer hot and no kitchen vent installed blowing ac in crawl space for 3 plus months the list is end less and I am in the middle of all of this Michele

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