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Home Inspections

clock December 22, 2009 05:27 by author blogadmin
A trained contractor looks at your foundation problems and provide a home inspection which involves an in-depth visual examination of your home's structure.

 

No matter if you are having your home inspected by a professional inspector, structural contractor or professional engineer all aspects of the inspection should be handled in a similar manner. A home inspection is an in-depth visual examination of a structure - from top to bottom, inside and outside. It is an analysis of the present physical condition of the home or structure. The home inspection should be a process that the inspector and customer/homeowner communicate the findings during the inspection. Upon completion of the inspection the inspector should provide a written report on the finding of the examination and analysis.

During the inspection the homeowner/customer is key to the communication process. At no other time are the details about the property more important to convey. The better the information and history of the structure is conveyed to the inspector the more complete this visual inspection will be. It is the inspectors responsibility to educate the property owner and make sure that he understands the finding of the report. This communication is not only done through the final report but throughout the inspection.

Guidelines for home inspections:

  • Communicate during the inspection
  • Communication is a 2-way street
  • Good and bad news must be communicated
  • Educate property owner
  • Remember scope of inspection
  • Review final report together

 

From the pre-inspection meeting through the final report review communication is the key to success. The property owner must communicate the history of the property to give the inspector insights to renovations, repairs and problems, the inspector must communicate the scope fo the inspection, the visual clues and final analysis. Both parties have the same goal - to evaluate, assess and formulate a plan for repair. Without this communication a full proof plan cannot be obtained and such the property owner will not be completely staisfied witht the repairs.

This day and age property owners have access to more information than ever before. Not all information is good but be assured there is more information available. Websites such as www.myfoundationrepairs.com and www.mywaterproofing.com give consumers to good background and solution oriented information. This information leads to better questions and a more realistic expectation of what can be done to solve their problem.

Deciding on who is going to perform your inspection is the only question at this point. A professional engineer is always the best suited person to perform a through evaluation of your property. They have nothing to gain by steering you in a sinlge direction, they are bound to have your best interest at heart. Hiring a professional engineer is truly hiring a professional that has only your best interest in mind and has the knowlege and experience to insure your property and money is taken care of. Structural repair contractors are the next best source for inspectors. A reputable structural foundation repair contractor has personel on staff that are trained and experienced in foundation problems. Yes there are contractors out there that do not have the experience and ethics behind them to give you an unbiased report. But when it comes time to perform repairs you will be working with them whether you hire a professional engineer or home inspector to do the report. Many times the prudent thing to do is to get a reference from the contractor or have a couple contractors give you an evaluation and compare their methods and final reports.



Do Pressed Concrete Piers Work?

clock December 13, 2009 21:56 by author blogadmin
Understanding pressed concrete piers is necessary before having your foundation repair work done.

 

Have you ever noticed how many foundation repair companies use pressed concrete piers? Pressed concrete piers are the most typically used piers for several reasons, the question is, are these reasons good ones? For the contractor they are the most cost effective pier to install. For the contractor they are least expensive to purchase. For the contractor they are the easiest to install.

For the contractor concrete pressed piers require the least amount of material for him to purchase. For the contractor they require the least amount of equipment to install.While this is a real reflection of the low costs of concrete cylinders and the work to install these piers, it’s also a reflection of the quality, or lack thereof, of the contractors who install them. Many pressed pier contractors are using cheap hydraulic bottle jacks to press these cylinders. This low tech approach is one of the reasons that many foundation engineers will not recommend their use. These are the reasons that pressed concrete pier contractors advertise the lowest prices. If a low price is more important than a real repair then pressed concrete piles is your answer.

An ironic advertising gimmick that pressed pile contractors use against steel piers is that steel rusts. What they do not tell you is that they use thin steel shims between the concrete piles and the footing. They forget to tell you that they use steel cables inside the piles to keep things aligned or add to lateral strength. If you notice they do not use galvanized steel they use black, thin unprotected steel. There are even some contractors using steel piles below their concrete pier section to achieve a deep foundation pier. This is a clear admission that their pressed concrete cylinders do not drive deep enough to effectively support your foundation. So if they integrate steel in their piles, why do they not switch to a high quality galvanized steel piling system? Simply, the cost will increase and they cannot compete.

Another gimmick that pressed concrete pile contractors use is high pressure water jetting. This is when the contractor uses pressurized water to soften the soils below their pier as a means to drive the pile deeper. Sounds good, its reasonable, right? Well, lets think about what generally causes foundation failures; water. Yes water is the number one culprit of foundation failure. Now these contractors are injecting water under your foundation in an attempt to fix it? Ask any engineer if he recommends injecting water under your foundation as a good way to stabilize the home. It is pretty obvious that his answer will be “not under any circumstances”.

When you have foundation problems and you are looking for a solution, remember a few simple things before hiring a contractor. First, is the cheapest solution likely the best solution? Second, will the piers be driven deeply enough to provide support? Does the contractor use specialized equipment and products recommended by a professional engineer? Finally, will the techniques employed by the foundation repair contractor truly fix your problem or will it only mask the problems?

 



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