Foundation, Basement, & Crawl Space

The foundation is the support system on which every residential and commercial property is built. It is what connects your home to the ground and provides structural integrity. The three common types of foundations found in the Southwest are concrete slabs, basements, and crawl spaces.

Concrete slabs are the foundations we find most frequently in properties around our area; they are made from 4”-6” thick slabs of poured concrete and are extremely durable. Though susceptible to cracks over time, the warmer climate of the Southwest allows for concrete to last much longer than in colder parts of the country.

Crawl spaces are quite common with properties on wooden pier and beam foundations as well as manufactured homes. Located between the bottom floor of a property and the ground, crawl spaces are cost-effective and provide unparalleled access to plumbing, electrical wiring, and ventilation systems. However, crawl spaces are also known to be less energy efficient and more open to invasion from pests.

Basements are spaces that are either partially or fully below the ground level of a given property. While they can provide additional livable and storage space, basements are not a common feature of properties in the Southwest. The clay-rich expansive soils beneath western Texas and New Mexico are known to rapidly expand and dry which can reap significant structural damage on the walls of a basement.

Foundation Inspection Process

Per InterNACHI® Standards of Practice for Foundation, Basement, and Crawl Space inspections, your residential or commercial property inspector will inspect, describe, and report on all visible components within your property’s respective foundation.

The inspection will vary between residential and commercial spaces, but will usually include inspection of:

  • Foundation type

  • All visible structural components, such as beams, trusses, and reinforcing rods

  • The location of under-floor access openings – if present

Your inspector will identify and report on any potential defects or needed repairs, such as:

  • Signs of active leaks

  • Wooden structural components in direct contact with or near soil

  • Indications of foundation shifting such as cracks, misaligned door frames, or unlevel floors

  • Any cutting, notching, or boring that presents potential structural or safety concerns