Feet of Clay: Spot Foundation Problems in DFW Property

In North Texas, most expert DFW Home Inspections are completed at the request of home buyers. Typically a home inspection is carried out about a week before a buyer can buy and close on a home. Properties with problems would be better eliminated before they make it onto your short list.

Every area has its own set of unique issues and the DFW area is no exception. One of the most common problems encountered in North Central Texas is the clay soil which can create foundation problems. Savvy DFW homebuyers will always check out foundation conditions while house hunting and you can too if you know what to look for.

Depending on the quantity of rainfall in the North Central Texas area, the clay soil will contract and expand accordingly. The subsequent soil movement results in cracks in the foundations of most houses more than a few years old. Most of these will be minor – cracks are standard for buildings around the DFW area.

If the home has slab foundations the cracks will likely be around the edges of the building. These should not be serious and are unlikely to cause any major trouble. What you really want to be able to spot is if the cracks are going to lead to significant trouble later on. Here are some pointers on how to spot foundation problems in DFW Homes.

Have any nails popped out of the sheetrock? This could be another indication that the foundation has moved. Look for cracks that may have caused the gypsum board to part ways. Is there daylight showing around the foot of the walls in the garage?

Are there any doors or windows that jam or stick? Doors and windows that aren’t square won’t close properly and can be a warning sign. If there are windows that won’t raise properly this may be a sign of foundation movement. And while you’re about it, check the door and window frames for cracks.

Check for cracks in the inside walls and around or in the chimney and fireplace. Another place to look is where the walls and ceiling meet, checking for cracks.

Not all the signs of a foundation problem are inside. Indications that a foundation needs repair are also obvious from outside. Are there any stair-step cracks in the mortar around bricks? Is the chimney leaning? Large cracks in any exterior concrete can point to foundation trouble.

Another element to check is any soil separation around the foundation. And while you’re outside, take a look around the garden for any trees that are planted close to the house. Trees planted too close to a building produce a root system that can also crack a foundation.

Take the time to check carefully for these warning signs and be sure your great buy doesn’t have feet of clay.

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