Have a Foundation Crack? Consult a Structural Engineer for Home Safety

Marwa Hasan
Written by Marwa Hasan
Updated October 5, 2021
The exterior of a country house with green backyard
ArtMarie/E+ via Getty Images

Whether your home is aging or has recently gone through an unexpected event, hiring a structural engineer will give you peace of mind

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Do you have a saggy roof, sloping floors, or cracks on the wall? These could be signs of foundation failure. If these issues were found during a home inspection, you’d most likely be referred to a structural engineer. A structural engineer has the knowledge to look into the problem, conduct specialty inspections, and can also provide suggestions for repairs.

What Is a Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection?

A foundation inspection is typically a visual inspection performed by a structural engineer to assess the integrity of your home’s foundation.

This inspection will provide useful information about the foundation to know if the building is safe and usable through a written report of the engineer's findings and the scope of work for any needed repairs.

4 Reasons to Have a Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection

You may think a general home inspector is qualified to inspect your home. But, in some cases, you must get a comprehensive report from a professional engineer. 

Here are some scenarios where you need to hire structural engineers to ensure the foundation of your home is solid.

1. Selling Your House

If you wish to sell your home fast, you may want to make sure it’s free of any structural issues that will get flagged during the pre-sale inspection. This will allow you to figure out if there are any repairs you’ll need to fix to get your home ready to sell.

2. Buying a Home

Potential homebuyers may hire a structural engineer to ensure the quality of the structure. This could save them from buying a home with any major issues, and could also help them negotiate the price for the home they want to buy. 

In many cases, it can be a mortgage lender requirement to make sure it’s a sound investment.

3. Remodeling Your Home

When pulling building permits or remodeling your home, sometimes the general inspector will highlight issues in your foundation. It’s important to verify with a structural engineer to ensure your foundation is safe and can endure any potential plans or extensions.

4. Foundation Is Cracking or Sinking

Depending on the weather where you live—downpours and freeze-thaw cycles may affect your foundation and cause water infiltration and cracking. Step cracking, cracks that are a quarter of an inch or larger in the foundation, bowing foundation walls, or movement of any kind, are signs of a critical issue.

If your foundation has shifted and affected the rest of the structure by showing signs of foundation failure (i.e., gaps in the floors, doors are stuck, diagonal cracks in the walls), this means the house is settling, or the soil is shifting due to a storm or earthquake damage. 

You might want to hire a structural engineer to analyze the condition and offer the necessary solutions.

How Much Does a Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection Cost?

Couple on a garden looking at a house
xavierarnau/E+ via Getty Images

You are probably wondering how much a structural engineer foundation inspection would cost you. Most structural engineers charge by the hour. Those rates can vary from about $200 to $350 per hour.

Pricing for structural engineering inspections may also depend on the size and complexity of the project. But a typical home inspection will take about two to three hours to complete, which may cost you around $400 to $700.

In some cases, it can be hard to quote the job until the engineer physically inspects your situation onsite, so be sure to communicate with the structural engineer before hiring them.

What to Expect in a Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection Report

Although a structural engineer would provide customers with their findings verbally, they will also provide written reports.

The structural foundation report is a stamped engineer report that includes photos, diagnosis, designs, suggestions, and the scope of repair. This report will be sufficient to satisfy the mortgage lender, building department, insurance company, buyers, or sellers. 

The report should include the following:

  • Specifying the areas in your home that got inspected

  • Identifying the root cause of structural damage that they found

  • In-depth recommendations for how to fix the problem and how to maintain the foundation in the future

Whether you’re buying, selling, or have signs of foundation issues, getting an inspection is crucial. Your home is your haven and should be a place where you and your family feel safe and secure.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.