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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Ingleside Illinois
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    Smile Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Next week I will be inspecting a 35 YO home with a wood foundation. I haven't seen one in my 8 years and wonder just what I should be looking for, what are the Gotcha's and how often do they fail. This is a divorce situation for a friends daughter and I'd like to make sure I look/find everything I should. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    WESTMINSTER CO
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    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Next week I will be inspecting a 35 YO home with a wood foundation. I haven't seen one in my 8 years and wonder just what I should be looking for, what are the Gotcha's and how often do they fail. This is a divorce situation for a friends daughter and I'd like to make sure I look/find everything I should. Any help would be appreciated.
    friends or any inspection you should looking to find everything you should


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Memphis TN.
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    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Next week I will be inspecting a 35 YO home with a wood foundation. I haven't seen one in my 8 years and wonder just what I should be looking for, what are the Gotcha's and how often do they fail. This is a divorce situation for a friends daughter and I'd like to make sure I look/find everything I should. Any help would be appreciated.
    Hi Bill,

    Look for any Signs of Moisture.

    *see attachment for building details.

    http://www.hillspg.com/pdfs/Perm%20W...Foundation.pdf

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    1,628

    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Torn plastic water barriers on the exterior from the home owner cutting them with the weed whip. Bowed walls on the interior. It will most likely be at least partially finished. If you can see an unfinished area and it's insulated, push on the insulation to see if it's water logged. The last one I was in was fully finished and carpeted. My feet got wet walking across the carpeted basement floor.

    I've inspected many of them around here and only one was in descent shape, but it was brand new. The rest have either had severe water problems or had begun to collapse. If it were my friend's daughter I'd give her a call and tell her to find another house.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    1. Prone to leakage below grade
    2. Buckled foundation walls
    2. Non use of pressure treated wood
    3. Damaged exterior insulation/water proofing
    4. Specialized knowledge required to construct
    5. Sags in floors
    6. Off gassing of pressure treated wood - concern for immuno-compromised peoples
    7. Limited lifespan
    8. Insurance may be higher premium
    9. Improper backfill
    10. Improper drainage


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    274

    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Not saying to pass up work, but I agree with Ken, if this is a friend I would tell them to stay away from this house too.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Next week I will be inspecting a 35 YO home with a wood foundation. I haven't seen one in my 8 years and wonder just what I should be looking for, what are the Gotcha's and how often do they fail. This is a divorce situation for a friends daughter and I'd like to make sure I look/find everything I should. Any help would be appreciated.
    I note your stated location "Ingleside, IL" up in most appropriately named "Lake" County, that being in NE Illinois.

    One of the problems (also plaguing other foundation systems) is ignorance of HOs and flippers not maintaining the foundation grading/drainage system, allowing silt & decying vegittion to choke it, near foundation plantings, piling more "dirt" up upon it the drainage backfill, layering various mulch and plastics upon and against, a real problem with the clay (silt & expansive) soils your area is known for and water(both flowing, hydrostatic pressure, and freeze/thaw issues plus rot & radon issues for the region, and of course - the rare but at least three such events since the mid 70s - seismic activites on top of the dramatic weather events which include copious amounts of wind driven rain and the less than flat topograpy riddled with swmps, sloughs, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc. and little-to-no maintenance of same and the explosion of building on what once was expansive open space and farmed agricultural open space.

    Quite a number of local juridictions in NE Illinois have banned (by deletion ammendments to model codes) permanent wood foundations, esp. basements, therefore repair-replacement-rehabilitation like-for-like may be impossible. The clay soils, massive-ground cover (explosion of building in last four decades), etc. have stressed drainage, lack of funds has decreased maintenance of waterways resulting in errosion, silting and higher levels during "events" of streams/rivers/lakes/ponds in the area making the vast majority of lake county is prone to flooding or near flood zones and elevations required in same have increased. A 35 y.o.+ sub-grade wood foundation is likely nearing the end of its life in the area - unless marine grade ply was used, and other than ABS, plastic subsoil drainage system was employed, even if perfectly maintained; esp. with the added ground cover stresses of the area in addition to the years of beyond-average snow & rain fall; and the re-drawing of flood planes, etc.. - Point being one needs to verify repairs/rehabilitation/replacement is even POSSIBLE by controlling law. Next materials and types of "treatment" for wood has changed SIGNIFICANTLY - so much so that compatibility with existing materials and requirements to use SS brackets, plates, fasteners, etc. and imcompatibility with galv (fasteners, etc. & electrical tubing - emt/boxes) adds to cost of repairs, rehabilitation, replacement. If wood pier system orig also likely nearing end of life for supports & may be lacking lateral bond sub-soil.

    Most important is being able to determine if the basement, sub-grade crawl, or other permanent wood foundation (upon ? footings?) is "stick built" one, or a combination flooristructure/wood foundation truss system (which could have been site-built or factory built) if it is a basement or sub-grade crawl space- and if either has been modified. Insulation materials, as well as water proofing materials used "in the day" likely compromised.

    Highly unlikely if present the basement or crawl space floor would have had an undamaged poly barrier before poured (if even had one), AND MOST IMPORTANT - due to the area's propensity for high radon concentrations in basements & crawls in the area esp. in homes of that vintage & older - the inability to seal and devise a remediation system which will work are of concern - even if the basement is merely occupied with mechanicals and/or storage.

    It is also unlikely a sub-soil drainage system of that vintage (or older) in the area, materials & design was designed to prevent/resist too-high radon concentrations, if built to minimum standards held at that time by the various home-rule authorities, esp. if unincorporated at the time of construction.

    You didn't indicate if the basement, crawl, sleeper, pier (?) permanent wood foundation was for a mfg. home or a site built home or a "prefab"/modular home, nor were you precise about location - so working from your profile general information. Recall several munis in Lake, Cook, DuPage, etc. which hve expressly prohbilited perm. wood foundations for habital/residential structures (ex. accessory blgs/etc.) for decades, which also by local ammendments to codes prohibit rehabilitation/replacement of same and severely limit repairs.

    We've had some discussions on truss systems (referenced earlier above) before and several on "stick/site built" before some for example in WI & the U.P. of Michigan in the last four years or so included several pictures (including several effected by improper modifications & maintenance of exteriors for same (e.g., modifications for deck additions, etc.). Some are disguised as discussion topics on "log" homes - most of which were not actually "log" or timber framed homes but had faux or log-look cladding/siding. At least three different discussion topics in the last 3 years or so on the floor/woodfoundation truss systems - two IIRC for the midwest and one in the mid-to-far west -- one of those may have been a combo floor/crawl foundation truss system. I participated in several of those discussions and there is a host of information & pictures from all those that participated in same.

    Finally, not sure what you meant to imply by the mention of a "divorce situation"...pre-listing inspection? determining status of the marital home in conjunction with an appraisal for property settlement purposes? The reason the foundation type is so rare in the area is they do not last, nor function well in the area due to the geologic conditions (e.g. soil type, water tables, flood planes, weather, seismic, deep soil deposits, deep frost/freeze zone (42-48") for the area, propensity to have sustained super sub-zero freezes every few winters ("alberta clippers, siberian expresses", etc. and propensity/need for shelter in event of tornado, etc. A complete geo-technical survey might be required depending on the circumstances, minimum recommended research of status in jurisdiction having authority, research regarding flood plain status, existing information regarding to location specific geologic surveys, and perk testing before endeavoring to rehabilitate or plans for same.



    HTH.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-02-2013 at 10:29 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ingleside Illinois
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    118

    Smile Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    Not saying to pass up work, but I agree with Ken, if this is a friend I would tell them to stay away from this house too.
    Unfortunately they have lived in it for 12 years. They asked for the inspection because they are divorcing, my friends daughter who lives there would like to stay. He father was not a fan of the wooden foundation but did not it had one until after the fact, he's tryng to convince her to sell, so this is really a post sale inspection in all likelihood.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    It might be feasible to jack the house up and pour a new concrete foundation under it. There are guys that do this kind of work, no big deal when you got the blocks and the jacks. So if you figure she gets the house for half price, maybe has equity already. There is some hope there, since it is still standing at 35 yrs.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It might be feasible to jack the house up and pour a new concrete foundation under it. There are guys that do this kind of work, no big deal when you got the blocks and the jacks. So if you figure she gets the house for half price, maybe has equity already. There is some hope there, since it is still standing at 35 yrs.
    One I inspected received an estimate for a new foundation...lifting the house, removing the foundation and 1100 square feet of finished living area...installing a new block foundation...unfinished price was $100,000.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    274

    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Unfortunately they have lived in it for 12 years. They asked for the inspection because they are divorcing, my friends daughter who lives there would like to stay. He father was not a fan of the wooden foundation but did not it had one until after the fact, he's tryng to convince her to sell, so this is really a post sale inspection in all likelihood.
    Well, that could put you in an odd position, because if your report is being used to lower the price of the home the "ex" could claim you are reporting in the interest of your friend. The other issue is you might find things that are wrong that they did not know about before, sometimes good, sometimes bad, not sure which way in this case, and could go back to "you just reported that because you are a friend", even though it is a genuine issue.

    You probably already know, but just be fair, report what you see, report the condition of the home.


    Curious, any opinions if he should mention in the report he is a family friend for disclosure reasons???


  12. #12
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: Advice NEEDED FOR UPCOMING INSPECTION

    Curious, any opinions if he should mention in the report he is a family friend for disclosure reasons???[/QUOTE]

    If he does an impartial and thorough inspection and report, the relationship is irrelevant and extraneous. IMO it should not be reported.


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