A recent inspection on a beautiful house that had undergone extensive foundation repairs proved interesting. I don't think the foundation repairs worked!
We did the inspection just at the tail end of enormous rains, which had been happening for over two days.
The house is positioned on a sloped lot - high at the front, and low and the rear.
First of all, I noticed outside that the grading was sending water from a 30' hill beside the house directly to the foundation - from the top corner of the house, all along the wall, toward the lower corner at the bottom. There were two window wells.
The house, built in the 60s, had a large addition added to the rear in 1997. The addition has no appearance of being tied into the original house. It looks like it was built and placed there. The lower level is completely underground and I cannot see how the foundations of the two structures were seamed.
I found five foundation leaks with my thermal camera. The worst seemed to be coming in where the addition's new foundation wall (poured concrete) meets the old foundation wall (concrete block). Even if the seams were sealed with hot epoxy, or some form of injection, enough water pressure will certainly overcome it with time.
This image to the right shows the point where the two foundations meet.
The entire wall of the addition has a combination bookcase and doors. It is very attractive. But the camera will only see the room-side of the built-in, not all the way to the foundation wall.
The edge of the stairs are probably 3' from the foundation wall. The point at the top of the purple in the image to the right is about 1 - 1.5'.
The palette I have chosen shows warmer temperatures as orange and yellow, and cooler temperatures as lavender, blue and purple. Surely moisture would show up as cooler temps. It was still raining!
There is active moisture here! Moisture can be seen on the built-in, and certainly on the floor!
Seaming three images together, as my camera doesn't do panoramic shots, is difficult when you are holding the camera by hand, as here are three different images combined. It isn't perfect, but I think you get the idea!
Obviously the moisture has spread all across the floor! How much water has gotten in is unknown, but it is getting in! It makes its way to the lowest point, as you know.
The homeowner is absentee. The house is being managed by the Realtor listing it. And I feel badly knowing that so much effort was made by the homeowner to correct previous problems and they were so unsuccessful. You have seen this house before! Twice!
My recommendation: when you have repairs done to a house, especially expensive things like foundations, roofs, and the like, have a home inspector look at it! And if water was the problem, the best way to diagnose the quality of the repair is with a thermal camera. The images that result are hard to dispute.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560