Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Settling In Whatcom County -- Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House)

I work as a Bellingham home inspector, serving all of Whatcom county and frequently Skagit county and Island county. On the job, I see a number of old homes. When a home is older, and the foundation is post and block (pier), it is very common that some settling will have taken place over the years. In fact, that is so common in my experience that one of my disclaimers on an older home with that type of foundation notes that this could be ongoing.

When possible, if there are smooth floors without carpets, I will put a large glass marble on the floor and see which way it rolls. Sometimes when I give it a nudge, it goes nowhere but often it will roll down a slope in one or more directions. That was the case the other day.

Here the marble headed -- consistently -- to the east. Sometimes, when an inspector goes into the crawl space, it is hard to tell what the exact structural problem causing a slope might be. It can be as subtle as unprofessional repairs that left the floors uneven. In this case, it was quite apparent that the primary issue was settling. Below is a shot of a pier and a post at the higher west end.

The piers under the house are simply set on dirt with no poured footings of any type. These piers, and based on the look of the landscape attempts were made to solve this problem before, are resting on disturbed soil.  Bottom line: They are sinking and this sinking has led to structural issues below. This problem, along with many others in the crawl space, will require the services of an experienced and qualified contractor.

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections


Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 16 commentsSteven L. Smith • August 30 2009 01:23PM
Settling In Whatcom County -- Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the…
I work as a Bellingham home inspector, serving all of Whatcom county and frequently Skagit county and Island county. On the job, I see a number of old homes. When a home is older, and the foundation is post and block (pier), it is very common… more
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