Checkpoint summary


  • Note foundation-wall construction type: poured concrete, concrete block, brick, stone, and so on.
  • Check for cracked areas of concrete; crumbled and flaking bricks; cracked, loose, missing, and eroding mortar joints.
  • Check for long open cracks that do not line up and have shifted sections.
  • Note long, open, horizontal cracks and signs of bowing in the foundation wall.
  • Are sections of the structure sagging and no longer vertical? (Consult a professional.)

Wood-support framing

❍ Inspect all vulnerable wood-support members (sill plates, girders, joists) resting on the foundation wall for rot and insect damage.


  • Note floor joists or girders that sag or have notched sections.
  • Is there bridging or blocking between the floor joists?
  • Inspect wood columns, support joists, and subflooring for cracked sections and evidence of rot.

Water seepage

  • Is the ground adjacent to the house pitched so that it slopes away from the structure?
  • Are there concrete patios and paths that are improperly pitched (toward the house)?
  • Are there basement windows or stairwells that are vulnerable to flooding?
  • Do downspouts -have extensions? -discharge against the foundation? -terminate in the ground?
  • Is there a sump pump?
  • Is there water in the sump pit?
  • Is the sump pump operational?
  • Is the water being discharged away from the house or to a dry well?

❍ If the structure has been waterproofed, is there a guarantee or warranty available? Did you request a copy?

Basement walls

  • Check for areas of scaling, peeling and flaking paint, damp spots, and signs of efflorescence.
  • Check construction joints, tie-rod holes, and pipe openings for signs of seepage.
  • Inspect wall paneling and base trim for stains, warped sections, and rot.
  • Check underside of basement steps for water marks.
  • Note areas of rust at base of metal columns and sheet-metal furnace casing.
  • Check for dampness, noting musty odors and signs of mildew.

Basement floors

  • Check for extensively cracked and heaved floor sections (usually the result of a high water table).
  • Record all areas of active seepage and puddling.
  • Check joint between foundation wall and floor slab for silt deposits.
  • Check for porous areas and signs of efflorescence on floor and around perimeter.
  • If floor is covered with tiles, are there swollen floor-tile joints?
  • Is there efflorescence between joints?
  • Inspect the house trap pit. Is it dry? Is the cleanout plug secure or loose?

Furnace room

  • Check for exposed wood-frame members (wall studs, ceiling joists) that are in close proximity to the boiler or furnace.
  • Check for large openings between the ceiling and the chimney.
  • Is the room adequately ventilated?
  • Check for asbestos insulation around the furnace and heating pipes.

Crawl space

  • Inspect foundation walls, posts, and wood-support framing for deterioration and signs of water seepage.
  • Check overhead subflooring and support joists for insect damage and/or rot.
  • Check for adequate ventilation.
  • Is this area damp?
  • Is there a dirt floor? Is it covered with a vapor barrier?
  • Is area insulated? Is insulation loose or incorrectly placed?
  • Are there water-supply pipes that are vulnerable to freezing?
  • Are there heat-supply ducts or pipes that should be insulated?
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