This might be slightly off topic here, but I thought I'd ask.

I had a friend of a friend lose his home during these devastating fires in Oregon and California. I am trying to help out and was wondering if the foundation is reusable or not.

Did the fire damage it and weaken it to the point of needing to be redone?

Or can it be re-used? How to tell?

burned house

  • Good question, sad answer. Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 20:59
  • At the extent of the damage it is doubtful that the stem walls are still sound. I am also in lane county and looked at a friends home last month that was a slab. The concrete is not sound sections were spalling and that was below the fire I would expect it to be worse on the walls but they are not clear enough to tell. Any spalling or sections with divots to me would not need an engineer to say it is unsound.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 21:51
  • @EdBeal Thanks, Ed. This fire was near Roseburg, OR, I think it's Douglas County. I personally wouldn't rebuild on the current foundation, but the guy has very limited resources and I don't think the house was insured. So I just wanted to ask. Sad for everyone. But at least he's alive and didn't get killed by the fires, like so many others have. Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 22:02
  • We did have an extended family member loose one in Ashland, I think of this area because it is across the river and so many lost homes close to our location.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 0:01
  • I feel sorry for your friend's loss. I too had a friend who had undergone such a tragic experience 1 year back, I was there for him during his tough time. He was confused about what to do next, I suggested he should 1st start with restoring his home. I found some restoration service providers on the internet and called a good one of them. If you need to help him, you can try their service to restore the home (priorityrestoration.com/restoration-services/…) and it'll be very helpful for your friend to start a new life
    – emma wats
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


The answer cannot be determined from a photo. Please consult a structural engineer who can inspect the foundation and determine if it's still suitable for building.

Yes, this will cost something but it's going to be far less expensive than building on a unsuitable foundation. It's also likely that the AHJ is going to require that anyway before issuing a building permit.

  • Thank you. I'm going to accept that as the answer. That's kinda what I thought, but just wanted to throw the question out there. + Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 22:03

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