Determine foundation with no access?

I need help as I am doing my first mock inspection. I am inspecting a condo that we live in, but could not determine the type of foundation that we have. How do you usually determine the type of foundation if there is no access to a crawlspace?

Hi Marc and welcome,

A few tips. Always state the age, type and location of the home. Then Photos.
Example. 2018 3-level townhome in New Jersey.

Determining the type foundation will require a little research and observation. Is there a crawlspace entrance? Is it locked? All crawls are required to have an entrance. You may be on a stem-wall slab, monolithic slab, poured concrete, CMU block etc. We have no way of knowing without photos.

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Agree with Brian about the photos. Take some pics of of the exterior of the first or main floor and post them here. That may help us to see what you are looking at.

And welcome to one of the best avenues for HI knowledge!!

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If it’s a crawl space, not a slab, you should be able to tell from the outside.

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Thank you for responding, here are the details.

3 level Condo unit 2 bed/2.5 bath built 1993 located in Irvine, CA.

I attached pics of the outside and garage.

I did not see any crawlspace entrance.

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Considered a slab on grade and build up. Everything is built up from there. Just need to determine framing and support going up from the slab footers, etc. wood frame, support piers (more than likely) concrete, metal…

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Thank you! I appreciate it.

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Oh, how I wish that was always true!

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Do you guys recommend not writing the kind of foundation if not sure what it is?

Apparently the IRC thinks 18" is considerable clearance. Not hard to pick out those who have never crawled over there in “code land”.

Marc, have you taken the “Inspecting Foundations” course offered here? It really gives you a good perspective on how to identify the various kinds of foundations. I don’t mean this this question as being demeaning by any means, but just trying to understand your learning from what is being offered here.

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No worries. I have not yet. I just finished the pre requisites. I will start on it now. Thank you so much.

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NO. Like with anything else when writing a home inspection report if you can’t determine what it is say so.
An example in your case would be something like appears to be a slab foundation but I was not able to confirm that.

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Marc, it’s great that you visit here to ask questions. I learn more here every day than I did in all my classes. Real World vs. Class World so read and ask questions often. Also, one of our most recent CPI certified inspector went through one of the most interactive training process using the Forums that I have seen. Perfect example of how the process should be done and credited to @ssadeghi Saman Sadeghi by following his steps.

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Stomp on the floor. It will give a little and sound kind of hollow in it is a wood floor/crawlspace and will not give any and feel like you are stomping on a sidewalk (solid), if slab.

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Welcome to our forum, Marc!..Enjoy! :smile:

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Something different. As I am preparing the paper work on a new inspection I always cross reference listing data with state tax information, its public. It is generally very accurate and will tell me just about everything about the house.

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Just write it down as unknown don’t guess if you can’t see it don’t describe it gets you into trouble. We inspect what we can see no x-ray vision here.

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Welcome back to our forum, Albert!..Enjoy! :smile:

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@tglaze Thomas, thanks a lot! I appreciate the kind words. I really enjoy the message boards - and there is a ton of great info and knowledgeable people to learn from!

@mtumamak Marc, if you’re interested, I shared some tips in another post. You my find my process helpful in your education.

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