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enter image description here I am looking at a house that with a crawl space (see image). The crawl space has the full height of a basement, windows and a door leading outside in the back. It has French Drains along the downhill base of the house and plastic lining covering a rock floor. I saw water on top of the plastic in a few places. The foundation walls are footing and stem walls (I think). They appear nice but have some vertical cracks in several places upon closer inspection. The house was built in 2002.

Is the water concerning given the French drains installed? Are the wall cracks normal for the crawl space foundation... should they concern me?

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  • How is this question significantly different from this other one of yours: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/208894/… – jwh20 Nov 16 '20 at 15:31
  • Could you provide photos of the cracks, my dad always said there are 2 types of concrete the type that is cracked and the type that will crack. Over time it continues to get harder. But we can’t say it’s normal or abnormal without any reference. – Ed Beal Nov 16 '20 at 17:17
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The simple answer is I would never buy a house without a proper inspection by a licensed inspector. In some areas, you can find engineering firms that will do both structural and mechanical inspections and could tell you if those cracks are a problem. I suspect they're not, given that concrete is expected to crack at some point and part of the point of the metal reinforcement is to mitigate the effects of cracks. But if the cracks are prevalent across the foundation walls, I might be concerned. Get a professional opinion. The few hundred dollars you spend on an inspection could save you from financial ruin.

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  • Most home inspections are actually quite cursory, and they don't vouch for foundation, so you would actually need a structural engineer to assess it, which is more involved and expensive than a routine home inspection. – dandavis Nov 16 '20 at 20:15
  • Which is why I specifically mentioned "engineering firms" that do provide this level of detail. These are found in areas where slab on grade is the most common foundation method, but are likely available in other areas. This is where an experienced realtor can help out and point you in the right direction. And in my experience from my years in Texas is these inspections aren't much more costly than a run-of-the-mill inspection. The last engineer-backed structural and mechanical inspection I had done cost $600. Well worth the peace of mind. – daneb Nov 17 '20 at 17:18

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