Foundation inspectors look for indoor and outdoor warning signs of foundation problems, such as windows and doors that begin to jam, cracks on walls or over concrete floors, and bulging in the walls. The purpose of the foundation inspection is to determine if the foundation is structurally sound.
Foundation inspectors examine the outside of a property to make sure the property is stable and not prone to cracking or sinking. If the home has a slab foundation, the inspector walks around the house checking for cracks in brick veneers, slabs and fascia boards. If the house has a beam and pier foundation, the inspector goes inside the crawlspace to check if it's musty or wet. He inspects the beams, joists and peers. Wetness indicates a foundation drainage problem.
The foundation inspector checks inside the house for additional problems, such as cracks in the floors, ceiling and walls. Some cracks are a result of shrinkage issues and are nothing to worry about. However, cracks on masonry joints that are shaped like stair steps and are wider than 1/4 inch could indicate serious foundation problems. Horizontal cracks are very serious and could mean the homeowner needs a new foundation.
If the home has framing problems, such as windows and doors refusing to close or open properly, it could indicate the framing is pulling away due to foundation problems. The inspector also uses elevation equipment to determine if the foundation is not level.