8 Tips to Hire a Home Foundation Inspector

José R. Mendoza
Written by José R. Mendoza
Updated September 21, 2021
An inspector discusses with couple at their house
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Foundation repairs can be stressful, but having the right inspector can put you at ease

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Even if you try to do everything right and take actionable steps to prevent foundation damage, it can still occur. Signs of foundation damage include cracks in your floors, basement walls, along your windows and doors, and more. When you notice these, you’ll want to call a pro right away to make sure your foundation performance doesn’t suffer, and the problem doesn’t get worse. 

Hiring the right local home foundation repair inspector can give you the peace of mind that your home base will be taken care of and make the entire foundation repair process run more smoothly.

1. Seek Out an Unbiased Home Foundation Inspector

Many home foundation inspections are done by a home inspector (especially if you are buying a house) or a foundation company’s estimator. It is wise to hire a company that at least has a licensed, unbiased foundation engineer on staff who oversees the inspection, the analysis, and the recommendations before you receive them. Be sure to ask about this before you hire the company.

2. Hire a Certified and Experienced Foundation Company

The individuals performing your home’s foundation inspection and analysis should hold training certifications from credible organizations in the industry, such as independent foundation associations. Do your homework and conduct a diligent search of the business you are hiring.

Make sure to get quotes and estimates from at least three companies, ask for samples of work they have done, and inquire about their certification credentials. You can even ask for references from other customers to really get a sense of their past work.

3. Get an Onsite Inspection and a Thorough Report

Setting up an onsite inspection will help the inspector assess the situation and determine if there’s any damage to the foundation. Although inspectors can get a sense of the state of the foundation during the check, they will also analyze the data collected offsite and deliver a complete report with findings and an action plan later. 

Most structural engineers won’t give you a complete repair plan on the spot without analyzing the findings first. Ask to see a sample report before hiring to see how detailed the report is and if it meets your expectations.

The exterior of a house with a porch
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4. Ask the Company if Its Investigation Methods Adhere to the Industry’s Standards

When you hire a foundation repair inspector, they should follow industry standards, including providing a thorough visual assessment of the entire foundation in and out, walking around the premises, looking for floor settlements, and checking for interior damage inside your home. They should also complete a written report of the findings, providing details about solutions your property may require, if any.

If your foundation repair inspector finds concerning damage in your foundation and they are not themselves a professional engineer, they should recommend having a structural engineer inspect the property. Again, be sure to ask about all of these early in the hiring process.

5. Employ a Home Foundation Inspector Familiar With Local Conditions

This aspect is more important than you might think. Soils and building practices vary greatly across the U.S. That's why it's a good idea to consider hiring a company that has previous work experience in your town or city. A service provider that is based outside of your area may not be as familiar with the soil conditions as companies based locally.

6. Check How The Foundation Company Communicates

Communication is key. Even if you have the best inspector in the world, it will be frustrating and unhelpful if they don’t communicate well. Make sure they take the time to help you understand the process, as well as any critical issues beforehand and communicate those using visual aids. 

Before you hire a company, make sure they can explain foundation problems in layperson’s terms. Ask how they will contact you with further details, whether that is via email, text, or phone call, and make sure that aligns with your communication expectations.

Two inspectors examining foundation of house
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7. Be Present During the Foundation Inspection

Get to know exactly what the foundation inspection consists of and who will perform it. Knowing what to expect will set you up to get the right solutions for your home. During the inspection, walk along with the inspector as they perform their assessment. Be sure to ask questions, take notes, and get clarification when questions pop up.

8. Choose a Foundation Repair Company That Offers Multiple Solutions

Following the inspection, companies will often give you a specific solution to your foundation problem. However, a good foundation repair company will also mention a wider range of solutions you can try, including ones that involve technologies they do not have. 

While this can be tough to know before you hire them, be sure to familiarize yourself in advance with the company's foundation repair solutions. A repair company should be frank and honest if the repair is outside their scope of service and not try to offer the service they can’t guarantee. If they recommend something they haven't discussed with you before, get a second opinion from a different company.

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