Everyone knows the story of the three pigs. From that story, we learned that we should all build our houses out of brick if we are to keep the wolfs at bay.
Our houses have to deal with all kinds of wolfs. There are water-wolves, earthquake-wolves, tornado-wolves, wind-wolves and the dreaded lightening-wolves.
No matter what we build our houses out of, they all need to be maintained or the wolf WILL get in.
In a recent house I inspected, that was 111 years old (built in 1902), I discovered, much to my buyers chagrin, that the wolf was having his way with the brick foundation. Those pesky mortar-wolves were patiently eating away at the foundation. Almost anything after 111 years would likely show deterioration and certainly all three of the pigs are dead by now regardless of their choice of building materials. The brick foundation has done its job quite well considering the number of significant quakewolves it has stood up to.
But now it is likely beyond repair—or at least extensive repairs that would amount to a new foundation will be necessary. The mortar joints and bricks are crumbling and some beams are no longer supported at all.
Someone will have to make a decision as to whether to let the wolves have it—or to try and keep them at bay for a few more years.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board