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Inspecting a House: Foundations, Structural Supports, and Decks

Learn to distinguish problems that are cosmetic from problems that are structural

A foundation can be loosely defined as whatever the house box sits on to support the weight of the structure. The foundation or supporting structure can be anything from solid block or concrete to posts and columns, wrought iron, or rock taken from the property. It has been said that as long as the foundation is in good shape, almost anything in the house can be fixed. That may be an exaggeration, but it does stress the importance of making sure the house is sound.

In this excerpt from Inspecting a House, author Rex Cauldwell shows you how to evaluate the condition of a house foundation and what to check for on the piers and columns that support porches and decks.

Rex Cauldwell is a master plumber, master electrician, building inspector, and licensed general contractor with more than 25 years of experience. He is a frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding and author of Wiring a House and Safe Home Wiring Projects. Photos by: Rex Cauldwell; drawings by: Ron Carboni
From BookInspecting a House , pp. 100-113 February 15, 2001