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Different Types of Home Foundations

clock October 28, 2013 10:13 by author
There are different types of foundations, so choose the right foundation to avoid settlement and slab cracks.

Home Foundations

Home FoundationsThough most home foundation are made of concrete, there are a few key differences in the many variations. Some factors that affect what type of foundation you should choose for your home include the soil type in the area, the climate, and the size and design of your home itself. Some soils require a home to have a very deep rooted foundation, while other soils are better at supporting the structure. Also, some types of foundation are not able to withstand cold weather or flood conditions as well as other types. Choose the right foundation to avoid foundation problems such as a sinking or settling foundation, or slab cracks.

The most common type of home foundation is a poured concrete foundation. There are many types of concrete foundations, including the slab foundation, and the basement foundation. In a slab foundation, a concrete slab that makes the foundation is poured onto a bed of crushed gravel. This improves drainage and makes the foundation ideal for areas where the ground does not freeze in the wintertime. A basement foundation is a bit different. This concrete foundation rests in a hole in the ground and is supported by concrete footings, which are poured pads that serve as a base for the walls. These footings are both wider and longer than the walls and work much like feet in distributing the weight of the wall and the above structure. They are often used in places that have cold winters.

The next type of home foundation is the crawlspace. This space is located between the bottom of your home and the soil, and is usually just tall enough for your to crawl into. This type of foundation is great for areas with lots of clay in the soil. They are also one of the most affordable types of foundation. A crawlspace does, however, need to be insulated to prevent water damage from occurring.

Home Foundation Options for Every Situation

For use in areas where the winters are very cold, a frost-protected foundation is the suitable choice. These foundations are usually T-shaped and the footings extend deep below the frost line to provide extra support for the slab. Frost-protected foundations can, however, be installed without digging below the frost line. These are called frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSF), and use insulated concrete to protect the foundation from the cold.

In areas that are prone to flooding, a raised foundation is best. There are two types of raised foundations: pier-and-beam and stem wall. Both require lots of care and planning, as they must protect against water as well as support the weight of the structure. A pier-and-beam foundation works by using concrete or brick blocks reinforced with footings. These blocks are placed about 8-12 inches apart to raise the home above the flood line. Stem wall foundations are similar, but instead of having spaced footings, they have continuous footings.

Permanent wood foundations are another type of foundation. They are recommended by many manufacturers as an alternative to crawlspace, basement, and stem wall foundations. This type of foundation is made of lightweight, preservative-treated, decay-resistant wood. Because they do not require concrete pouring or casting, permanent wood foundations are convenient and easy to install. They are also moisture resistant and easier to insulate than other types of home foundations.

To decide what type of foundation is best for you and your home, talk to a professional structural engineer. My Foundation Repair can connect you with some of the best in the business. Let us help you out today!


4 Steps to an “Economical Foundation Repair”

clock April 14, 2011 04:14 by author blogadmin
Homeowners need a professional engineer to provide a home inspection and to determine if your home needs foundation repair.


In the trying times of a recession, one doesn’t like to spend money on non-essential items.  Having your foundation repaired is an essential item, buying a new 50” Flat Screen TV on sale is a non-essential item.  Foundation problems do not fix themselves.  The signs of foundation problems might leave as the season change, but will return with greater possibilities of more damage.   Therefore, how can a homeowner receive an “Economical Foundation Repair”?  This can be accomplished by following four easy steps:  Hire a Professional  Engineer, Follow Recommendations of the Professional Engineer, Hire a Professional Contractor, Proper drainage.

1.       Hire a Professional Engineer:

Why do you need a professional engineer?  You want a professional engineer first to look and assess your foundation problems. This will explain why it has happened and how to fix the problem.  Therefore, when it is time to solicit bids for your project all contractors need to bid what is required by the professional engineer.   How do you find a professional engineer?  Search   or  your yellowpages book for the heading Engineers, from here look under subheadings for Structural. 


2.       Follow recommendations of the professional engineer: 

Engineers are not doing work for the sake of doing work.  They have been trained in school as well as in the field of what is right or what is wrong.  How much experience do you have?  The recommendations should be carried out, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t question the reason why.  A good professional engineer will explain the reasons for the recommendations.   He or she is only looking out for the safety of you the customer and your home.


3.       Hire a professional contractor:

When hiring a professional contractor ask your professional engineer for referrals to call.  Get a couple quotes on the exact work the engineer has requested to be done. Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured with referrals of similar work.  Review and have the contractor explain all work he is quote.


4.       Proper Drainage:

After all work is completed, make sure you have the correct drainage completed.  This might involve new gutters, down spots, French drains, or foot drain and sump pumps.  The major contributing factor to foundation problems is water.  Make sure you get water away from you foundation as quickly as it appears.  If you take the steps in proper drainage you could save money down the road from having to get other parts of your foundation repaired.


In conclusion, as a homeowner, to get an economical foundation repair one must get a professional engineer involved.  This will save you time and money in the long run by fixing your foundation correctly the first time.  The contractor you have chosen should complete the work required by the engineer.  Then it is your obligation as a homeowner to make sure your house has the correct drainage.  If you have questions on the correct drainage, be sure to ask your structural engineer. If one follows the 4 steps mentioned your success rate of economical foundation repair can be achieved; as well as, preventing future foundation problems elsewhere in your home.   After your home has been repaired in the most economical fashion you then can go out and purchase a new flat screen TV to enjoy in your structurally sound home.


Cost of Foundation Repair

clock September 3, 2010 05:27 by author blogadmin
Low bids for the cost of foundation repair look enticing but they do not guarantee quality underpinning service. Hire a professional engineer to help you.

No matter what the source of your foundation problems, whether it is water, settlement, heaving or a combination of these factors foundation repair is a problem that must be taken seriously. The signs can be water in the basement, cracks in drywall, cracks in basement or concrete slabs or even misaligned doors and windows. When these signs are noticed your first thought becomes – What are these repairs going to cost me? Where do I start?

Unfortunately, this question is difficult to answer and cannot be answered with one statement across the board. Do you need basement wall cracks filled? Do you need tieback anchors or carbon fiber support for bowing basement walls? Is you slab foundation sinking or heaving? There are many questions that need to be answered and must be answered by a foundation expert like a foundation engineer or a qualified foundation repair contractor. These services can range from free for an opinion to several thousand dollars for a soil boring and a professional engineers full report. Generally foundation repair contractors offer their opinions free or for a nominal charge depending on the detail. Professional engineers can be hired to protect you throughout the repair process for a few hundred dollars to a full report and soils analysis for $2,000 - $2,500.

Now that we have determined the cause of the damage and the method of repair that is best suited for your home it is time to hire a qualified foundation repair contractor. The tendency here is to look for the lowest bid. The problem is that the lowest bid does you no good if the contractor is not qualified or uses inappropriate foundation repair methods. If you hired a professional engineer he can help you with the contractor selection process and may even have a list of preferred contractors.

So, we have our engineer and he has helped select a qualified foundation repair expert. You are now able to determine a cost for your repairs. Below is a list of typical repairs and a range of costs associated with each repair method.

·         Crack Injection - $400 - $600 per crack

·         Carbon Fiber Reinforcement - $350 - $500 per strap

·         Tieback or Wall Anchor - $400 - $650 per placement

·         Underpinning Piers - $650 - $2,100 per pier (large range due to different construction standards throughout the country)

·         Sump Pump Upgrading - $700 - $1,500 

Remember the costs associated with repairing your foundation are relative to the safety issues and decreased value that would be associated with an unrepaired foundation. The overall repair bill may be $1000 - $10,000, but if not repairing your home decreases the value by more you will be money ahead. While having foundation issues may seem overwhelming, the process can be fairly painless unless you do not follow the steps above. Inappropriate repair methods or repairs performed my unqualified contractors can create larger issues than your current state of affairs. Remember, if you hire an independent professional engineer you have an expert on your side who will lookout for your best interests.




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