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Spot Foundation Issues Before Buying a Home

You've found your dream house, and you're ready to put in an offer. Before you commit to such a large purchase, there's one more important step: foundation inspection. Why? Because even seemingly solid homes can have major issues that are only evident upon closer inspection. Consider these telltale signs of structural issues.

Beware of The Following Signs

  • Look for cracks in the foundation. If you see cracks on or just below the foundation, it could be a sign that there's a problem with the foundation's integrity.

  • Pay attention to any drywall cracks (walls and ceilings!)

  • Notice if the house is sloping or leaning in any direction

  • Check the basement for any signs of water damage or high moisture levels

  • Look for any signs of rubbing or difficulty when opening and closing windows and doors

Cracks in Ceilings and Walls

Cracks in the interior drywall can result from any number of problems, the most obvious being a shifting foundation.

Vertical hairline cracks in walls are the most common result of foundation settlement and shouldn't be overly worrying. Horizontal cracks are something to be more concerned about as they typically represent larger (and more costly) foundation issues.

Pro Tip: You should be concerned about cracks if they are large enough to fit a coin into!

House is Leaning or Sloping

Arguably the clearest sign of structural issues is a leaning or sloping structure.

If a home is sloping in any direction, it is most likely due to a failing foundation. If any leaning of the structure is noticed, know that costly structural work is ahead to restore the foundations integrity.

Windows and Doors Do Not Close Properly

When buying a home, it's important to check that all doors and windows can open and close without much effort.

Sticking and difficulty when opening or closing doors and windows could be a sign of a foundation settlement and shifting. Luckily, this isn't always the case, and could be something as simple as loose hinges, incorrect flooring height, or improper installation.

Always ask the extra questions to ensure that these issues are not something more serious than expected.

Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

Water seeping into a home's basement, crawl space, and foundation walls can be a frustrating problem to deal with.

During spring melt or times of heavy rainfall, damp or flooding basements can be a common issue. Before purchasing a home, check for any signs of foundation cracks. Water will find its way in through even the smallest cracks.

Check the homes drainage systems. Ensure that all grading and landscaping is flowing water away from the house. Double check that all eavestroughs and downspouts are set up correctly.

If You Notice These Signs, The Home May Have Foundation Issues

If you notice these signs, it could mean that a home has structural issues:

  • Cracks in the ceilings or walls (remember, horizontal cracks = larger issue)

  • Sloping or leaning of the structure

  • Cracks in the foundation

  • Try closing all doors and windows to see if they fit properly. If they don't close properly, look for any gaps around doors and windows that may indicate shifting of the wall.

  • Look at your floors—if there are any gaps between floorboards or tiles, this can be an indication of shifting in the structure as well.

  • Check the basement for any signs of water damage


In summary, there are many signs of foundation issues that you can look for when you’re viewing a home. While some of them may be minor and easy to fix, others may indicate serious structural damage. The best way to know for sure is to have the house inspected by an experienced professional before making an offer on it.

For all foundation issue concerns in Winnipeg, call Belvidere Construction at 204-837-3739



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