Author: Dominic Cain
Foundation damage can be extremely dangerous especially if left unnoticed for long periods of time. It is important to make sure that there are no problems with your foundation that might present a danger to you or anyone near your building. This article will describe some site factors that may indicate a threat of incoming foundation damage or existing damage that you cannot see.
Depending on where you live certain types of events that could be potentially damaging to your foundation may be more common than in other areas. For example on the wet coast you may be very accustom to having an earthquake every now and then. While you may be prepared to protect you belonging within you home, each earthquake is a potential threat to your foundation. On the east coast you have hurricanes. The midwest has tornados. Virtually everywhere has some factor that can affect your foundation and it is important to be aware of them and check your fondation anytime any of those events happen to you.
Not only should you be aware of what types of threats may come today you should also be aware of what has happened in you area in the past. For example if the area you live in was part of a landslide or mudslide some time ago it may be relevant to the structural integrity of your foundation today. You should research the history of the land your house is constructed on. Read more.
While some things on or near the surface are extremely easy to see and research some larger threats may require a bit more in depth research to gather information on. These threats are hidden well below the surface of the earth. Threats like sinkholes or underwater streams shifting the land under your house are both threats that you may not see coming. However many places offer insurance for these types of disasters and some even offer free geotechnical analysis of your area to inform you of what threats you may face.
Construction Related Damage
If you live in an area under heavy construction. Not only is it extremely loud and a hassle to navigate at times, but it also poses as a threat to your foundation. Depending on how large the construction projects are they could cause a massive change in the earth which may damage your foundation. Many of the necessities in construction pose as a threat depending on how close you are to the construction. The most obvious is if they need to do any demolition of existing building using explosives. The vibrations created from this are similar to a tiny earthquake and can cause some shifts in the neighboring land.
There are great many things out there that can potentially cause harm to your foundation. From natural disasters to mad made explosions, things can and likely will happen near your home that can affect your foundation. While admittedly some things are less likely to cause any significant damage to you foundation than others it is still important to keep track of these threats and monitor our foundations as needed to prevent any disasters. Hopefully this article has made you aware on some things you should look out for. More details in site: http://crosstownengineering.com/engineering-services/
Recognizing the signs of foundation damage can mean the difference between a lower repair costs and the incredibly expensive foundation for replacement and/or concrete foundation for repair. Therefore, an inspection made by a qualified expert foundation repair or expert foundation contractor is the best manner to troubleshoot such potential problems.
At the point when the foundation is poured, small cracks can appear as the concrete dries and cures. Shrinkage cracks are vertical and small. They typically appear on foundation walls, but do not affect the structural integrity of the home. Settlement cracks are a more serious problem. Unlike shrinkage cracks, they will often extend into the structure, weakening the entire building.
There are lots of reasons for such soil compaction, like the soil which were not properly compacted first. Moisture can also cause settlement. When soil gets wet it expands. And when it dries out again, it shrinks. Certain kinds of soil, such as clay, may expand and/or contract compared to others. This means the type of soil the home is built on can influence the amount and rate of settlement. Trees that are looking for more water underneath your home may also cause for soil disruption which will lead to settlement.
Foundation settlement can also be caused by frequent or dramatic changes in the soil’s moisture content. When soil becomes wet, it expands. As it dries, it contracts and loses its volume, creating more space for the foundation to drop further into the ground. These moisture issues often come about from plumbing leaks, excessive rain, and poor drainage.
Settlement can also take place when the roots from trees and foliage planted near the home absorb too much water from the soil. A poorly designed house or foundation can result in too much settlement as well.
Most houses experience some degree of settlement (downward movement) after they have been built. Additional and more severe sinking can occur if the home was constructed on poorly compacted soil or when the building’s weight compresses the soil beneath it.
There are several methods that can be used to repair foundation cracks, including filling the cracks with bonding agents that create a waterproof seal. When addressing the problem, it is also important to discover what is causing the cracking. Correcting the underlying issue will prevent the situation from reoccurring.
If the settlement is uneven or extensive, the foundation will become stressed and start to crack. Large cracks generally appear due to continuing motion that occurs over a long period of time. Foundation cracks will not only weaken the structure, they make it easier for water to enter the building. Water seepage can further damage the home, in addition to causing potentially serious health issues due to mold and mildew buildup.
An experienced foundation repair expert can inspect your home for cracks and determine if there are any foundation problems that need to be addressed. In earthquake zones, regular foundation inspections and maintenance are essential. During a quake, a structure that has been weakened by cracks and water seepage can cause building walls to crumble or even the entire home to collapse. Keeping your foundation in good condition will prevent further damage and the need for more costly repairs. It will also help to maintain the value of your home.
Foundation design types vary geographically. Local soil conditions, climate, and material and labor availability influence foundation design styles. Many homes in the Midwest and northeastern part of the U. S. have basements while southern as well as the western U. S. houses are to be built with solid concrete higher-grade foundation unit systems. Both foundation types are functional and respond to the needs of the locality.
Foundation inspection varies from house-to-house and from building-to-building. Foundation failure does not appear to be related to geography or locality. Often, a residential area with expansive soils may be interpreted as an area with a higher than average risk of foundation failure, where the failure is attributed to the poor soil conditions. In reality, the failure is correctly placed upon novice level design, construction, and foundation evaluation techniques.
A building foundation system separates your home or building from the supporting ground. It prevents your floor, walls, and roof from moving along with the soil it sits on and helps protect you and your family from the outside elements.
Foundation and wall cracks may suggest impending problems such as abnormal water infiltration or other structural irregularities. If your home foundation is very rigid and or so flexible so I guess you may then see different signs on distress such as brittle material cracks inside or even outside on your home. This does not necessarily mean your foundation is physically broken. It may be that your foundation performs poorly due to improper design and construction.
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But how do you know if your foundation is broken and needs repair? What type of structural engineer should you hire to inspect and determine if your foundation system has problems? To find out, ask your prospective inspector the following questions:
- How long have you been designing and building foundations? (Correct answer: I have over ten years foundation design and construction experience).
- What is your educational background? (Correct answer: I have an accredited engineering degree from a college or university);
- What type of foundation inspection training do you have? (Correct answer: I have a professional engineering license within the state of ________ and I have inspected over 500 foundations.
The bottom line is this: If you suspect you may have problems with your foundation, hire a licensed professional structural engineer to evaluate it.
That way, you’ll get a state licensed professional with the best combination of education, training, and experience to diagnose and properly repair your foundation. Your piece of mind and the health of your home or building foundation are well worth it.
If your prospective foundation inspector does not answer these three questions correctly as noted above, then it’s likely that inspector is a novice. Do you really want to trust the most important (and likely most expensive) part of your house or building to a less skilled home inspector?
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If you have noticed cracks within your foundation which keep getting worse and/or if the doors or the windows of your house do not properly close, then you may need a construction company that you can hire to repair all your foundation.
Before enduring further damage, you may consider hiring a structural engineer who can make a complete and thorough analysis on your building foundation and can make recommendations on the exact kind of repair you will be needing.
It is hardly a bad opinion to search out advice, especially on certain project with the expense of the concrete foundation repair. In many situations, for a fairly low fee you can hire an independent and trusted professional for structural engineer to do an inspection on your foundation and recommend a method of repair that’s best for your situation. And, remember, every repair issue is different.
Another benefit of hiring a structural engineer is that they will usually be able to tell you steps you can take in the future to prevent your foundation problems from reappearing.
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It is also possible that if your foundation is not in such critical state which an engineer will surely and simply recommend lots of preventative measures like keeping your ground around in the home being watered properly year-round. In this case, you could end up saving thousands of dollars by not having to hire a foundation repair company.
The advice should be way less biased simply because the engineer is going to get paid whether you need foundation repair or not. If you do need foundation repair the method he recommends stems from his professional opinion untainted by visions of commission dollars dancing around in his head? Most states in the U.S. are going to have a governmental licensing authority and most will also have a trade association website where you can search for member engineers.
You should look for a professional licensed individual or engineering firm that provides the following: A thorough inspection of the inside and outside of your home for foundation related issues and inspection of the crawl space if you have a pier and beam home. A foundation elevation survey performed and evaluated by a licensed professional engineer. There are special tools available that can measure deviations in the level of the foundation or slab.
For example, in Texas you can find structural engineers on the database of the Structural Engineers Association of Texas. In your state, look for member associations on the national website of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Check your local Yellow Pages and web directories. Remember the importance of choosing an engineer with no financial ties to a repair contractor.
The downside of having an engineer just to analyze the property you have is that this can be expensive, which ranges from $300 to more than $800 depending on the factors such as the size of your property and how much work the engineer must properly assess all your damages. When you own such a small space which an engineer has crawled through just to complete their inspection, then this can make the cost higher and the time it takes them to make proper assessment.