Concrete Slab Floor Level Survey
Standalone or “secondary” inspections starting at $225
Slab foundations are everywhere: Modern “slab foundations” are the most common foundation and flooring system used, consisting of a “single pour” reinforced concrete footings & concrete subfloor. A proper installation of a slab foundation would include levelness to within about 1.5″ from one end of the structure to the other (on an averaged sized home). Foundation contractors actually shoot for a perfectly level installation but in reality it’s more likely to be with within a 1″ to 1.5″ tolerance. The wooden stud wall framing begins on top of the slab floor within a few days (of the original concrete pour).
Inspecting slab foundations is difficult: Prospective homebuyers might be surprised to learn that nearly all inspection companies rely solely on a visual inspection to assess the condition of slab foundations. For years this has been the standard that homebuyers should expect because the finished flooring usually prevents viewing the slab. Unfortunately, a visual inspection alone can sometimes miss potentially important material defects.
Risks associated with slab foundations: Hidden foundation damage, sometimes manifesting itself in the form of a cracked slab, is one of the most biggest risks buyers may encounter when purchasing an existing home. In a “worst-case scenario”, the engineering assessment and permits alone for major foundation repair work can easily exceed $10,000. Repairs, such as driving piles and stitching a cracked slab back together can easily cost $30,000. Possible causes for foundation damage include improperly compacted soils, expansive soils, poor grading and drainage, sinkholes, and installation errors.
Avoiding defective slab foundations: As mentioned above there are risks associated with purchasing homes with slab on grade foundations. We are working harder (and smarter) to reduce the risk of this worst-case scenario from ever happening to our clients by including a “slab foundation floor level measurement” with each of our single family home inspections.” We offer this innovative and valuable service at no extra charge, when we perform the physical home inspection. Structural engineers, charging $550 and up for an initial site visit, perform a similar analysis to collect key data for their reports and repair recommendations. Note: we are not claiming to be structural engineers but there is some overlap, and we may be able to tell you when hiring one is necessary.
Our engineering grade measurement device checks the levelness of the floor at approximately 20+ locations – we measure elevation differences in the finished flooring and even make adjustments at areas where the floor thickness changes. If the levelness is off by more than the construction tolerance then there is a chance that there is a foundation concern – and we will let our clients know. Another way to think about how foundations crack is the “cracker analogy”: large sections of concrete are similar to crackers in that they can flex some but after too much strain they will eventually crack (aka “cracked slab”). If we encounter abnormal out of levelness, a foundation specialist and/or structural engineer should be consulted to investigate further. Most of the homes we inspect are within the construction tolerance and there’s a high probability that there is no underlying problem…in other words “piece of of mind” from buying the “worst case scenario”.
Contact Us When You Need The Following:
- Foundation Inspection
- Full Home Inspection
- Structural Home Inspection
- Roof Inspection
- Apartment Inspection
- Infrared Home Inspection
- Real Estate Inspection Services
- Home Inspection For Buyers
- Property Inspection Service