What I'm Seeing Now

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I Don't Think The Foundation Repairs Worked!

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 12 commentsJay Markanich • September 12 2011 02:27PM

Comments

Hi Jay, I enjoyed reading your post. It would be funny if it weren't so scary.

Posted by Rob Magnotta, Huntington Beach & Newport Beach Coastal Specialist (Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Irvine REALTOR) about 9 years ago

As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words.  In this case, it may be worth a few 1000 dollars!

Posted by Gayle Barton, Forsyth County Real Estate, Cumming GA Homes For Sale (404) 710-0204 (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Georgia Properties) about 9 years ago

Rob - I think this is going to be a big deal.  If I was that homeowner, I would be very, very upset with that company.

Gayle - for sure you are right.  And I don't know exactly what repairs had been done or where, but know there are many spots now that are very wet!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good evening Jay. Love the thermal pics. They go where our eyes can't. Thought about picking one up but thought I would leave it to those who know it best.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 9 years ago

Randy - go get one!  They are fun!  This was one wet basement!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay,

Water issues can be very tough and expensive to deal with. I am curious on what method they did to try to remedy the situation. Obviously what they did was not enough to correct the issue.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Don - this time the new contractors will have to tear out the walls and rebuilt bookcase to see what was done and what is going on now.  It will be a big job I think.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

That much water coming through the wall is never a good sign.  It will be interesting to find out what proposal the new contractor has to seal the seam - without just pushing the problem back to the concrete block area.  I'm thinking there will need to be some external drains put in as well.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 9 years ago

Who knows Steven.  It's going to be a lot of work.  They have to tear everything off the walls just to see it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

HI JAY!  I am ever impressed with all your inspection posts -- now - where do I find one of those thermal cameras?!! 

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Jay, After seeing your "filter"ed picture of the question mark, the thermal camera is not as impressive anymore ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Gabriella - I get ads for them 4 or 5 times a week.  What, you don't?  The prices are coming down.  You can get a really good one for $10 or 12K.

Chris - maybe if I put cellophane over the thermal camera?  Now that would be something!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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