3 Questions To Ask A Structural Engineer When You Are Interested In Flipping A Home With A Damaged Foundation

If you're interested in buying a house that needs some work, providing the necessary repairs and then selling it quickly to make some quick cash, you're not alone. In the last year, that practice which is also known as flipping has become more popular than it was previously. However, it's important to note that while cosmetic issues can typically be replaced or repaired for a decent price, a cracked or damaged foundation is a different matter. Therefore, it will be helpful to ask the following questions of a structural engineer after having the home looked at by an inspector if you are concerned about the possibility of a damaged foundation.

#1-What Type Of Foundation Does The House Have?

It is first important to note that in recent years there have been some improvements in the field of building foundations. For instance, about 25 years ago the common practice was to use a concrete block to create a foundation and now it is not unusual to create foundation walls that are reinforced with a layer of steel and only have the footings made of poured concrete.

The type of foundation that the home uses can impact the cost of the repairs, as explained later. A structural engineer's knowledge allows him or her to guarantee the safety of older structures and can design options for repairing a damaged foundation. As a result, it is essential to consult with them when you are determining the viability of your investment.

#2-Where Is The Damage?

It will be helpful to remember that while asking where the damage is may seem like a simple answer, it's not. Specifically, it can refer to both the area on specific aspects of the foundation where the damage has been documented and how deep underground the damage is located.

For example, the home in question may feature a shallow foundation, which can exist as little as 3 feet under the ground. Alternatively, it may have a deep foundation, which can be up to 200 feet below the surface. A shallow foundation is frequently used when the soil under the home can safely support the weight of the home while a deep foundation is used when the soil is weaker. It is also common to use a deep foundation for very large and heavy buildings.

#3-How Much Will This Cost?

Once you know what type of foundation is supporting the home and you are familiar with the depth of the foundation, as well as where on the actual foundation the damage has been found, you'll be better able to understand how the costs will accrue. It only makes sense that if you have a deep foundation, there will be higher costs.

In addition, if the inspector or structural engineer observed any horizontal cracks in the foundation, it is likely to mean that soil with water froze and upon expanding, broke the foundation. Unfortunately, this problem is the most expensive and you will almost surely need to replace the entire foundation. Conversely, if you are informed of cracks the size of a strand of hair showing up in the mortar between concrete blocks, it is nothing to worry about. In that instance, it is often possible to repair this minor problem by injecting epoxy into the area and allowing it to dry thoroughly.

Some tiny cracks need no extra work at all and they pose little risk to the rest of the foundation or the safety of your home. In general, as long as the crack is no larger than 1/16 of an inch, you should not be concerned about it. The exception would be if you live in an area that is prone to termites or if you know that the home already has them. In that situation, you should make sure to have the home fully evaluated, just as you would with more significant damage.

In conclusion. a damaged foundation is frequently the cause of extensive and expensive repair work. Before investing in a home that has any degree of foundation damage, it is a good idea to first have the home inspected by at least one inspector and then ask a structural engineer the above questions.