Many of these are apparent before you have an inspection and many have already been corrected by the homeowner. So two important considerations are to work with an agent who knows the area well and have a reputable home inspector advise whether an additional specialist is recommended for further evaluation.
Donâ€™t let this deter you from the many great housing opportunities in Chapel Hill, Carrboro or the surrounding towns. It is a great place to live!
Only licensed professional engineers can determine if a home needs a structural repair. A foundation repair company should NEVER be contacted first. You only need a foundation repair company if an engineer lays out specifications for a repair.
I have had several listings in Chapel Hill where sellers obtained estimates ranging from $10k to $30k from foundation repair companies. After hiring a licensed professional engineer they found out all the cracks were cosmetic and no repairs were necessary.
As a Chapel Hill native, Realtor, Licensed General Contractor and Licensed Home Inspector I am very familiar with these scenarios.
Trammel Brothers Realtors
I have dealt with homes with foundation issues and the only way to tell is to have a home inspection before you purchase and the home insp will no if it warrents having a company that specializes in foundation issues look at it Ram Jack is a very good one.
Coldwell Banker Triad
I hope this helps.
When clay type soils dry out, they shrink significantly (think of a dry sponge) -- so much that the ground can become covered with cracks, and load bearing structures can settle. But after the missing moisture is replaced by rain, the soil expands, the cracks are gone and the settled structure is pushed back, though rarely to the exact point it started. This is when structures can begin to twist or undulate.
Because clay soil absorbs so much water, it expands during wet weather, and that expansion can push both laterally and vertically.
Expansive clay soils can put enormous pressure on your basement, foundation piers or foundation walls. When the pressure becomes more than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inwards, or settle or lift unevenly. A licensed home inspector, licensed contractor or structural engineer can advise you on the severity of any movement, and what if any corrections are needed. A well-designed home constructed with good materials that has proper rain drainage (think grading, roof, gutters, downspouts) will keep the soils around the house from having a high fluctuation in moisture content. Builders in this area have been dealing with these issues for a very long time. With very dry and very wet seasons, some movement will occur, but the resulting cracks should be minor and will likely be considered cosmetic. Let the experts make that determination. And, yes, regardless of clay soils, this is one of the best places in the country to live â€¦. But then, thatâ€™s no longer a secret.
I would highly recommend you get a structural engineer to look at any home before you buy. I say that because I just looked at a home for sale that had a substantial horizontal crack on the foundation. The seller was notified, and the next time I visited the home, the crack had been "covered up" and I doubt an inspector would have found it.