2010 Titan Micropile Installation School

clock May 4, 2010 04:40 by author blogadmin
The annual Titan Installation School teaches proper installation and testing of the titan hollow bar system to contractors around the country.

 

 

June 15-17, 2010

Once again TEI will hold our annual Titan installation school from June 15-17. This school trains the attendees on the proper installation and testing of the Titan hollow bar system. Included is instruction on general load calculations for micropiles, how hydraulic drifters operate and case studies from local hollow bar contractors. This is an excellent opportunity for contractors that are thinking about getting into the hollow bar business to see first hand how hollow bars are installed and what equipment investment is required. The Titan school is also perfect for sending employees to get training, but most of all it is a great opportunity to meet other contractors from around the country and discuss ways for everyone to improve their business. This school is held with the help of Contech Systems, the Titan Ischebek and Obermann distributor for North America.

For more infomration please visit www.teirockdrills.com



Guidelines for Homeowners: Groundwater Control

clock May 2, 2010 19:37 by author blogadmin
Follow these important guidelines to control the groundwater around your foundation and prevent foundation damage.

 

Groundwater management is essential not only in keeping your basement or crawl space dry, but also in avoiding damage to the foundation. Below grade structures (basements crawl space, and slab on grade foundations) are designed to resist a combination of both hydrostatic and soil pressures. The terms soil pressure (the pressures exerted upon a wall by surrounding soils) and hydrostatic pressure (pressure that is exerted by water due to its weight) for the purpose of this article are used to describe how these pressures affect the foundation of your home.


Most homeowners often do not consider foundation problems, and basement or crawl space seepage as avoidable with routine maintenance; however a great number of foundation repairs and basement waterproofing problems can be prevented by handling rainwater and surface drainage properly. Improper groundwater drainage can result in pooling water around the exterior foundation which leads to hydrostatic pressure on the foundation walls. Hydrostatic pressure can result in foundation damage, allowing foundation walls to crack, deflect inward, settle vertically, and allow water infiltration into the basement or crawl space of your home. Groundwater can enter your home in numerous ways. Common examples of water penetrations are foundation wall and slab floor cracks, tie rods, or pipe penetrations.


Groundwater management begins with an assessment of the existing site conditions. As the homeowner you have two fairly broad choices for site condition assessment. You can perform routine maintenance yourself to alleviate potential foundation damage, and control basement seepage, or seek professional advice from a contractor specializing in foundation repair and groundwater control. In the event that foundation damage is present the best course of action is a professional evaluation of both the foundation, and the site conditions contributing to the foundation damage.



RHODE ISLAND HELICAL PIER INSTALLATION COMPLETE!!

clock April 27, 2010 04:32 by author blogadmin
Helical pier installation was used to support the foundation for the new Ocean House Luxury Hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

 

OCEAN HOUSE, WATCH HILL, WESTERLY, RI

After two weeks at the new Ocean House Luxury Hotel, New England Foundation and Stabilization Co. completed the ECP (Earth Contact Products) Helical Torque Anchors to support the proposed event tent on the south lawn of the property that overlooks Watch Hill.


The Helical anchors were recessed into lawn boxes that can be accessed when the tent is erected and will provide support to the tent guy wires, allowing proper tensile support in a strong wind load area, and ease of erecting and removing the tent during event set-up and tear down.

 OCEAN HOUSE HOTEL

HELICAL PIER INSTALLATION

 

   Once the piers were installed they were cut and capped using a custom pier cap that was welded to the pier pipe and connected to a clevis that will allow for easy attachment of the tent guy wires. 

 

Due to a septic leaching field, one line of the Helical Anchors had to be designed to straddle between the septic fields and the guy wire attachments were connected via channel welded to the Helical Anchors. 

Once the anchors were installed and capped, the site contractor graded the lawn and placed the lawn boxes that will be recessed into the lawn.   

Due to cold weather striking early, the new turf was not able to be placed, therefore temporary lawn was hydro-seeded and fenced off while the remaining landscaping continues. Next spring this lawn will be ready for use and tents will be assembled and disassembled with ease for events along this beautiful shore line. 

http://www.nefsri.com/

To learn more about ECP Products please visit

http://www.earthcontactproducts.com/


Foundation Problems?

clock April 17, 2010 18:53 by author blogadmin
If you are having foundation problems, such as leaning and bowing walls, there are competent foundation repair contractors that are available to help you.

 

 

The one thing that nobody tells you about homeownership is the major problems that can happen. There are appliances that quit working, roofs that leak and basement walls that crack or settle. Foundation settling or shifting can be caused by many things. Before any foundation repairs can be made these items have to be identified and accepted. In the medical world the old adage is “cure the disease, and then treat the symptoms”. This is applicable to foundation repair also, we need to find out what is causing the issue, why is it causing a problem and then finding a solution to the problem.

The most common reason for foundation problems is water. Often it’s a lack of moisture and sometimes it is too much water. Issues with gutters, downspouts or drain tile are common. Drainage blocks are mostly due to leaves, debris, or failure. In a few cases the blockage causes the sump pump to reuse water that erodes and saturates soils along the basement. Rain water should be diverted away from the foundation to stop hydrostatic pressure on the foundation and floors. In times of drought water might need to be applied near the foundation to maintain more consistent soil moisture content.

Many times foundation problems, followed by foundation repairs, manifest themselves in the form of serious cracking of slabs or basement floors. Basement floor slab cracking can happen for several reasons. They can be significantly thinner than the plan requested or the sub base of stone may be significantly thinner than originally called for. Heaving often ends cracking as well.

Most drywall cracks appear in the corner of doorframes or windows and result from differential movement between framing and the drywall. Some wood frame movement can be due to standard processes such as shrinkage or temperature expansion.

Homes with a crawlspace sometimes show recurring damage patterns. Often a few vertical cracks in the crawlspace open and close seasonally. Due to their shallow foundation nature these cracks grow noticeably during intense times of drought or rain. Among several potential factors , these shallow footings may rest on expansive soil that experiences more acute cycles of shrink and swell, which is often aggravated by landscaping.

Repairing damaged foundations represents the greatest engineering challenge for a known problem. Wrongly supported pilasters, concrete piers , random crack filling, misapplication of carbon fiber strips and the engineering conviction that wider footings stop settlement are  examples of potential ill-conceived foundation repair methods.

The foundation fix starts with a total foundation inquiry by a competent foundation engineer. This engineer will visit the symptoms and measure the settlement of the structure while reading the appearances of damaged foundations. Upon completing his inquiry he will then give a written outline of the problems with suggestions for a cure.

Possible cures can be steel resistance piers, helical anchors, micropiles, tie-backs, plate anchors or waterproofing. With correct drainage, when these underpinning products are installed, per manufacturer’s specifications and under the guidance of the foundation engineer you can be warranted that your problem will be solved.

So, if you are having foundation problems, don’t panic. There are solutions to help, there are qualified engineers to help you and there are competent foundation repair contractors available to enact these solutions.

 



FRA Annual Meeting 2010

clock April 17, 2010 18:27 by author blogadmin
The 2010 Foundation Repair Association Annual Meeting gives members and nonmembers the opportunity to visit with exhibitors and other sponsors.

 

The 2010 Foundation Repair Association national meeting--Seminar and Sports Outing are scheduled for April 22-24, 2010.  The meeting will be held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, Texas.  Members and non-members alike are welcome.  Dinner Thursday evening should provide not only fine nourishment but also an excellent opportunity to visit with our generous exhibitors and other sponsors.  Outstanding speakers won't disappoint with their contributions to the educational opportunities on Friday.

There's something for everyone; visit the website to see the complete list.  Please call the FRAI office if you wish to make a reservation for Thursday's Dinner:  1-866-561-3724, or wish any additional information.

Besides all the fun and visiting, the information and skills to acquire, you'll probably leave with renewed enthusiasm and energy for your pursuits -- maybe even one of the door prizes being given away Thursday evening and during the day on Friday. 



Groundwater Control

clock April 6, 2010 09:45 by author blogadmin
Water drainage foundation systems prevent the build-up of water against foundation walls by eliminating hydrostatic pressure. In the absence of water pressure there is no longer a force to push water through a crack or cold joint in a foundation.

 

Foundation water drainage systems rely on two fundamental principles:

 

  • Keep rain water away from the foundation wall perimeter
  • Drain groundwater with sub-grade perimeter footing drains before it gets to the foundation wall

Water drainage foundation systems are different from waterproofing systems. Waterproofing relies on creating a watertight barrier without holes or other means for water to enter. It can’t be done with concrete. Even boats need pumps or a place for water to run. Water drainage foundation systems prevent the build-up of water against foundation walls, thereby eliminating hydrostatic pressure. No pressure, no force to push water through a hole or crack. Remember, we know concrete walls will have holes or cracks.Mixing control joints with water management is a fundamental requirement for functional foundation systems that provide an extended useful service life.

Damp proofing should not be confused with waterproofing. Damp proofing protects foundation materials from absorbing ground moisture by capillarity (like a wick). Damp proofing is not intended to resist groundwater forces (hydrostatic pressure). If water management is used, 100% waterproofing is not necessary. However, control of capillary water is still required (dampproofing). Damp proofing is typically provided by coating the exterior of a concrete foundation wall with a tar or bituminous paint or coating.Draining groundwater away from foundation wall perimeters is typically done with free-draining backfill such as sand, gravel or drainage boards with drainage properties. At the base of the foundation a footing drain will carry away the water either to daylight or a sump pump. It is a fairly simple process of directing water to a piping system that will carry the water away from where it can do damage.Remember, step 1 is to guide rain water away from the foundation. Step 2 is to drain the ground water to a collection point so that it can be safely removed.



Sump Pumps and Plumbers

clock March 17, 2010 19:30 by author blogadmin
When it comes to replacing your sump pump rely on waterproofing contractors to get a quality job.

 

So your sump pump needs replaced, who do you call? For many the first reaction is to call a plumber. Typical plumbing contractors are often the first call for many homeowners. Often they advertise that they offer this service, they claim to be qualified and they did unclog your sink that one time. Yes they were expensive but he got it unclogged. The problem – they are not specialized in replacing sump pumps nor do they understand your homes whole waterproofing system.

Your sump pump is the key to keeping your basement dry. It is what will allow you to finish off your basement without worry of potential basement flooding. When quality sump pumps, battery backup sump pumps and sump basins are installed correctly you can increase the amount of living space in your home. You will decrease humidity levels and get rid of the musty basement smell. If these are not installed correctly or cheap components are installed your investment in your basement can be ruined.

Unfortunately, plumbers often feel that sump pump installations are beneath them and so they will not size the sump pump correctly, they will not match the sump with the correct basin, they install basic plumbers grade equipment and the overall quality of the job leaves much to be desired. Throughout the industry these types of installations are referred as a sump-in-a-hole install. Plumbers do this to make a fast buck, or in many plumbers cases, many fast bucks.

Waterproofing contractors, on the other hand, are in the business to protect your home from water problems. They use better equipment, they understand sizing and application and they rely on referrals from happy homeowners. So, do not settle for a plumber – call a professional waterproofing contractor.

 



Basement Sump Pits

clock March 12, 2010 05:39 by author blogadmin
Dont rely for a "builders grade" sump pit to protect your home. The ECP bell shaped sump pit is the most efficent and highest performing sump pit available.

 

The ECP Sump Pit is the most efficient, safe and innovative sump pit liner available today! No longer do you have to settle for a glorified trash can or builders grade sump pit in your basement floor. This sump pit is molded from high quality, impact resistant polyethylene. This tough, seamless, corrosion proof construction together with the system’s innovative and patented bell design has set the standard for the future in wet basement drainage.  

The first thing that you will notice about the ECP Sump Pit is the unique design. This bell shaped design not only makes every sump pump system more efficient but it also increases the life of your sump pump system. The “bell” shape will keep more than twice as much water surrounding the sump pump thus preventing short cycling of your sump pump, effectively increasing the life of your sump pump system. It is efficient, affordable and guaranteed for life.

 

Benefits:

• Efficient Design

• Clear Lid for Inspection

• Built in Sump Pump Platform

• Prevents Sediment from Clogging Sump Pump

• Prevents Short Cycling of Pumps

• 33% More Total Water Capacity

 

This bell shaped sump basin also reduces soil moisture content thus reducing your basement humidity levels due to the fact that it performs as a subsurface drainage system. The perforated sides allow previously trapped ground water to freely enter the system and alleviate any potential damaging conditions. These engineered perforations create a natural well effect, which will eliminate hydrostatic pressure around and under your home creating a dry basement.


Solar Power and Helical Anchors

clock January 28, 2010 08:28 by author blogadmin
The use of helical anchors and solar power are efficient solutions and renewable energy sources for your home or business.

 

The use of helical anchors is making the installation of large solar panel facilities simpler and more efficient. Efficiency is one of the key ingredients for solar panels. Solar panels can be the optimal solution for you with minimal disruption to your home or business. Solar Power is a safe choice. Solar power is available in quantity at peak usage times. Current solar panels offer up to 50% more power than panels of just a few years ago. Solar panels that are more efficient provide the strongest return on your investment.  Higher efficiency means more savings per square foot. Helical anchors help make this all possible.

Helical ground anchors are engineered deep foundation members that provide high compressive and tension holding power. Their unique design can eliminate concrete foundation members that are often the source for construction delays. Helical anchors can be configured for most renewable energy applications in most soils. Installation of helical anchors is very fast and can be performed using relatively small equipment in hard to access site conditions. A verifiable load capacity can be determined for each location to assure owners of long term stability.

Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency are three things that solar power and helical anchors have in common. The fourth item is renewability. Solar power is obviously a renewable energy source that will help satisfy our energy appetite. Earth Contact Products, a major helical supplier to the Solar Industry, uses recycled steel in the production of their helical products.  According to their website, http://www.earthcontactproducts.com/Recycling.asp , “Our tubular products … are therefore at least 95-98% recyclable”. This commitment to recycling and Green Initiative makes helical anchors and solar power very Earth Friendly and Efficient.

 



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?

 



Micropile Underpinning of Indiana School

clock November 21, 2009 08:31 by author blogadmin
Micropile underpinning was installed at a Indiana school that was experiencing foundation settlement.

 

Project: Washington Middle School Evansville, IN

General Contractor: Danco Construction Co.
 Micropile Installer: United Dynamics, Inc. 2555 Cannon St New Albany, IN http://www.udipdi.com           800 359 4471 

 

Project Information: 

 Washington Middle School was being renovated and it was discovered that it was experiencing some differential settlement. Soil borings indicated the presence of fill material below the foundation. Traditional steel resistance underpinning and helical underpinning were selected originally by the design engineers as the choice of remediation. Upon review of the soil information, UDI was concerned with the capabilities of these underpinning methods due to the soils information provided. It would be possible for the helical piers to encounter cobbles/floaters in the fill thus negating the installation. The use steel resistance piers likewise could become compromised by the nature of the fill. To solve this UDI proposed the installation of small diameter hollow bar micropiles. The main advantage of the method would be the penetration of the fill material into the 'good' material below the cobbled fill.       

The passive installation of the micropiles would also allow for a greater factor of safety in strength and parameters. UDI mated Titan's 40/20mm hollow bar micropiles with Earth Contact Products MP 350 Underpinning Bracket (75,000-99,000 lbs capacity) to provide a competent underpinning system. UDI excavated the site and prepared the footings during the first day of operation. Once the brackets were mounted, UDI installed the micropiles, coring and simultaneously grouting the bars as they drilled 35' through the cobbled fill and into the good strata. Upon completion UDI’s crew was able to stabilize and lift the structure with the MP350 micropile bracketing system. By utilizing this application, UDI was able to complete the project with a three man crew in just over three days. UDI's vast experience in dealing with different underpinning techniques provided an economical solution to an otherwise difficult situation. 

 



Helical Pier Installation at Ocean House Hotel

clock November 10, 2009 19:14 by author blogadmin
Helical pier installation at Ocean House Hotel

By: New England Foundation & Stabilization Co.

Today marks the 6th day we have been at the new Ocean House Luxury Hotel. New England Foundation and Stabilization Co. was brought on site to install ECP (Earth Contact Products) Helical Torque Anchors to support the proposed event tent on the south lawn of the property that overlooks Watch Hill.  

 The Helical anchors will be recessed into lawn boxes that can be accessed when the tent is erected and will provide support to the tent guy wires, allowing proper tensile support in a strong wind load area, and ease of erecting and removing the tent during event set-up and tear down. The Helical Anchor installation is expected to be complete this week.

Please review the site photos below. We will post further photos and information once the project is complete.

 



World of Concrete Trade Show Official Conference Las Vegas 2010

clock November 4, 2009 21:05 by author blogadmin
World of Concrete 2010

 

World of Concrete is the industry's ONLY annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries. Featuring indoor and outdoor exhibits with the industry's leading suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, exciting demonstrations and competitions, a world-class education program, and the information you need to help sustain and grow your business. Start the year off strong at World of Concrete!

Exhibits February  2 – 5th 2010

Seminars February  1-5th 2010 

EXHIBITS:
Original equipment manufacturers from around the world, like Earth Contact Products, displaying their products for the commercial construction, concrete and foundation repair industries.. WOC attracts approximately 1,600 exhibitors and occupies more than 800,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space.

WHO ATTENDS:
Commercial Contractors, Concrete Contractors, Construction Managers, Dealers/Distributors, Structural Repair Contractors, Designers and Specifiers, General Contractors, Masonry Contractors, Architects, Engineers, Brick and Block Producers, Repair Contractors, Residential Contractors,  Specialty Concrete Contractors, Pipe and Block Producers, and Precast/Prestressed Producers, and more...

EDUCATION : WOC offers both 90-minute and 3-hour seminar sessions; more than 100 skill-building seminars with top industry experts. This unsurpassed program provides training, updates and certifications. 
 Some contractors, like Earth Contact Products, have private educational seminars about their products and industries. For example, ECP is offering a Technical Seminar for their contractors and specifying engineers. This seminar is titled Basic Helical Design and Applications. This 5 hour technical presentation requires pre-registration by calling 866-327-0007. 

Do not miss out on this yearly gathering, in Las Vegas, of the best manufacturers and contractors from around the world. Visit the ECP display at booth #S11813



5 Home Repairs You Should Not Ignore

clock October 23, 2009 13:48 by author blogadmin
Ignoring these home repairs could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and compromise your family's health.

 

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2009

This article is the archived version of a report that appeared in June 2009 Consumer Reports magazine  

 5 home repairs you shouldn't ignore

Use our expert advice to stop trouble in its tracks Too little, too late

 

You might be tempted to put off fixing your home until the economy rebounds. Rebuild the patio? Sure, right after your 401(k) rallies. But some problems, if left unchecked, can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs (rebuilding a foundation wall, for instance) and might even compromise your family's health, such as mold contamination.

The trouble signs are easy to spot, provided you know what to look for. What's more, contractors aren't as busy now, so they're likely to be more flexible on price. Here are the five biggest red flags of home maintenance, with our advice on how to deal with them.

1. Runaway rainwater "If there are 10 things that can go wrong with a house, 15 of them have to do with water," says Bill Loden, a Madison, Ala., home inspector. Gutters, downspouts, and leader pipes collect rainwater and channel it away from the house. In very wet regions, leaders should extend at least 5 feet from the house. Check the entire gutter system seasonally for proper pitch and for clogs, corrosion, broken fasteners, and separation between connections and where gutters meet the fascia board. When inspecting gutters, extend straight ladders 3 feet beyond the roof at a 75-degree angle to the ground. The soil around the foundation should slope away from the house at least 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more. If you have planting beds along the foundation, make sure the grading of the bed, its edging, or the edge of the lawn isn't keeping water from draining away from the house.

2. Roof and siding Roofs are the most vulnerable to water infiltration, given their exposure to the elements and the laws of gravity. On a sunny day, use binoculars to spot cracked, curled, or missing shingles, which are signs that the roof is near its end of life. Also check flashing around chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys, and the rubber boots around vents for cracks. Siding is also susceptible to leaks, especially where it meets windows and doors. A $5 tube of caulk might save you thousands of dollars in structural repairs. If you live in a cold climate, check the siding under the roof eaves for water stains, which could be a sign of ice damming. Adding attic insulation and sealing gaps around pipes, recessed lighting, and ducts into the attic might help prevent future damming and lower your heating and cooling bills.

3. Pest infestations Termites and carpenter ants gravitate to moist soil and rotting wood, another reason to make sure your gutters are in good shape and soil around your foundation is graded properly. Also keep mulch, firewood, and dense shrubbery away from your foundation. Once termites infiltrate a home, they can bore through the structure in a few short years. Formosan termites, which are prevalent throughout the South, have been known to rip through studs and floorboards in a matter of months. To detect termites, probe the sill plate (also called a mudsill) that sits on top of the foundation with a screwdriver to check for rotted wood. To check for carpenter ants, look for piles of sawdust along baseboards. Regular termites also shed wings along windowsills, walls, and other entry points. Rodents gravitate toward disorder and debris, such as leaf piles around the foundation. Plug holes in the siding and the foundation walls with expandable foam. Don't forget to look up for signs of birds, bees, or squirrels in soffits and attic vents.

4. Mold and mildew Even houses in arid climates aren't immune. Hot outdoor temperatures can drive even small amounts of water trapped in the structure to condense on colder interior surfaces, leading to mold. Musty odors, dank air, and family members with chronic runny noses are warning signs. Check under carpets and around windows for visible mold or mildew. Also remove cover plates for cable-TV, phone, and Internet connections, and use a flashlight to peer behind walls and wallpaper for mold. Avoid mold tests sold at home centers and online. Each of the kits we tested had significant flaws that were serious enough to earn them a Not Recommended Rating in our 2006 tests. If indoor mold covers less than 10 square feet, treat it yourself with a homemade solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Be sure to don an N-95 disposable respirator, goggles, and heavy-duty gloves. Professional remediation is required for larger outbreaks, if the ventilation system is contaminated, or if an allergy sufferer lives in the home. 

5. Foundation cracks Some cracks are harmless, but others can mean trouble. James Katen, a home inspector from Gaston, Ore., suggests walking around the house with a No. 2 pencil in hand. Hairline cracks are probably the result of concrete curing or minor settling, he says, and can be filled with an epoxy-injection system. "But if the pencil can go into the crack up to the yellow paint on the pencil, that's a pretty wide crack and might be a sign of a major problem," Katen says. A ruler is another handy tool: Cracks wider than 3/16 inch, even vertical ones, can be a problem. Mark smaller cracks with tape and monitor their progress over the coming months. Also be on the lookout for horizontal cracks or bulging or buckling. Along with expanding cracks, those conditions require the attention of a structural engineer. The longer you wait to correct a problem, the more costly it will probably be.

More red flags

 ·                            Cracks at upper corners of windows and doors (uneven foundation settling)

·                            Mushrooms or fungus growing out of siding (moisture in the walls)

·                            Soft boards or loose rails on outdoor decks (decaying deck structure)

 



Hybrid – The New Foundation Repair Marketing Term

clock October 14, 2009 10:21 by author blogadmin
If you want to support your home or commercial building permanently, hire an engineer to get a quality steel piering system that offers a lifting system.

 

The service industry has always relied on marketing to promote their wares and service. Sometimes the truth is stretched in these promotions to create excitement in the consumer. Often times these promoters attach themselves to keywords or terms that are in vogue. Recently this has happened in the foundation repair industry with the term – Hybrid.

 

The definition of hybrid is – the combination of two or more different things, aimed at achieving a particular goal or objective. On the surface this sounds good and globally responsible ideas pop into our minds. In 2009 hybrid congers up the idea of “Green Technologies” and smaller carbon footprints, and this is exactly why marketers use the term hybrid.

 

In the foundation repair industry hybrid pier systems are the combination of two or more differing materials to achieve an objective. Sounds great doesn’t it. But, what is the objective? And, does combining any two or more materials always create a better product? Well with out question the objective is to sell more product for the manufacturer. This may not necessarily be good for the consumer, just more expensive. Next, just because you combine two or more materials together does not mean that it will perform better that either of the materials alone. Combining oil and water does not make better oil or better water.

 

 Today we hear about combining steel and concrete to make “hybrid” foundation repair systems. They will advertise “the best of both worlds”, “the strength of steel with the benefits of concrete”. Well this sounds good but you must look past the advertising and see the engineering. Placing steel piers below concrete cylinders actually will take away the advantages of the steel piers and hamper the strength of the concrete. They say that they use steel to achieve depth (reading between the lines – concrete cylinders do not drive deep enough to supply support) and concrete in the upper soil zones to prevent corrosion. If this is the case, then why do they use steel shims at the very top of their system? Next, if the steel piers are galvanized to structural standards how are they going to corrode?

 

The next thing to think about is how will they drive the steel piers to the required depth if they are putting shallow driving concrete cylinders on top of the steel pier sections? The truth is, they will drive deeper than they were with concrete segmented piles alone but not as deep as true engineered steel piering systems.

 

Another combination of steel and concrete is to fill the steel pipe with a cement or grout mixture to “increase strength”. Sounds good, but does it work? Well let us look at it from a logic stand point (marketing people hate this), if the grout mixture is not as strong as the steel will it really increase the strength of the system? No! Adding a weaker component to a strong component will not make the system stronger it only makes it a hybrid. Do not fall for this smoke and mirrors advertising. The simple solution is to ask an engineer what they recommend. Engineers do not fall prey to slick commercials and fast talking salesmen, they look at numbers, calculations and sound engineering practices.

 

So remember, if you want to buy a hybrid car to save money on fuel and leave a smaller carbon footprint – great buy it. If you want something to support your home or commercial building permanently listen to an engineer and require the highest quality steel piering system available that incorporates a manifold lifting system.

 



Building Swales to Protect your Home

clock October 4, 2009 17:51 by author blogadmin
Apply drainage swales on your property to protect your home from standing water and move a portion of the runoff into the ground.

 

A swale is a broad channel used for the movement and temporary storage of runoff. They can be made of concrete or formed with natural materials. Swales are the best way to move large amounts of water away from your home. Swales also can move a portion of the runoff into the ground and filter out runoff pollutants.

Drainage swales that are planted with native vegetation are commonly called bioswales. Swales can be effective alternatives to enclosed storm sewers and lined channels, where their only function is to rapidly move runoff from a developed site. On some sites, natural drainage courses may still be present and it is recommended that they be retained as part of the site drainage plan. Golf courses are probably the best example of the effective use of bioswales. In the design of golf courses, water management is key to controlling water conservation.

Many times swales can safely move water away from your foundation while conserving this same water for grass and other landscape plantings. Effectively moving water around a property can prevent foundation repairs while saving money on watering plants. In contrast to conventional curb-and-gutter concrete swales, bioswales can reduce both the rate and volume of storm water runoff around your home. Since this is achieved via absorption of runoff into the soil, swales in sandy soils will be much more effective than swales in clay soils. Swales are most effective in reducing runoff volumes for small storm events and on an annual basis can reduce storm runoff volumes by up to 15 percent in clay soils.

Drainage swales are applicable on virtually all residential sites. In suburban settings swales generally will be used in conjunction with foundation drainage. This effective combination can prevent water buildup around foundations which can cause foundation failures and water infiltration. While eliminating those areas in the yard that seemingly has constantly standing water or swampy areas, bioswales are the green way of conserving water. Take a look at your property today and devise a plan to protect your home while conserving natural water runoff.



The Chicken or The Egg – or The Farmer?

clock September 30, 2009 13:22 by author blogadmin
By hiring a foundation contractor, you can eliminate foundation problems such as doors that stick, brick veneer cracks, water damage, and drywall cracks.

  

When it comes to the age old question which came first the chicken or the egg, many have forgotten about the farmer. Without the farmers experience, technical skills and general knowledge we would not know what to do with chickens or eggs.

 

This same general principal applies to problems with your foundation. The waterproofers will tell you that they can solve your problems and the foundation repair experts will tell you they can solve your problems, but without a foundation engineer you will not know the correct direction to go. In hiring a professional engineer you are purchasing knowledge, experience and unbiased professionalism to guide you through your project with only your homes best interest at heart.

 

Foundation settlement can be a difficult thing to assess or even notice right away. More likely you will notice doors and windows sticking, cracks in brick veneer, drywall cracks or water in your basement. Without proper measuring and assessment to determine the cause and best corrective action just raising your home may or may not solve the problem.

 

Similarly, stopping or redirecting water around your foundation may or may not stop foundation movement or potential failures. Is the water, the cause or the symptom? A professional engineer will identify the causes of foundation problems and then layout a plan to solve your individual issues whether they are water problems or if you need foundation repairs.

 

Remember, the chickens and the eggs cannot do anything without the farmers, to find a foundation engineer in your area visit www.foundationengineersnetwork.com.



ECP - Foundation Repair Workshop

clock September 29, 2009 03:49 by author blogadmin
ECP (Earth Contact Products) held their annual Foundation Repair Workshop that helped experts improve their business skills.

 

On September 22nd and 23rd, Earth Contact Products held their annual Foundation Repair Workshop in Kansas City. This workshop, intended to improve the business skills of foundation repair installing experts, had overwhelming attendance considering the economic climate. "Obviously ECP installing contractors are having a very good year, compared to their competitors" said Jeff Tully, GM of ECP. "The have come from around the country to learn how to be better and share ways to expand their level of service with each other" continued Tully.

The two day workshop covered subjects ranging from Advertising and Marketing to New Products and Services offered by Earth Contact Products. "The introduction of our concentric push pier has been a big hit" said Weston Opat of ECP. Opat went on to say "the ECP Model 200 is a concentric style pier designed for hard to reach foundation locations and crawlspace leveling work. It is the strongest concentric resistance pier on the market and features the ECP Manifold Lifting System that our other eccentric piers have been using for years."

Highlights, besides new product introductions included a night at the ballpark. All attendees were given the opportunity to attend the Boston RedSox vs Kansas City Royals baseball game at the newly renovated Royals Stadium. It was a great time for installing contractors to network and discuss business issues with others in their industry. The evening was complete when Zach Greinkie won his 15th game of the season with a 5-1 victory of the BoSox.



What the Farmers Almanac says about Home Repairs

clock August 22, 2009 10:15 by author blogadmin
According to the Farmers Almanac, the best time to make home repairs are August 21 to October 19. Avoid further foundation damages, by calling an expert.

 

According to the Farmers' Almanac, the Best Days for Home Repair are upon us. The 2009 Farmers Almanac reports that the timeframe to perform home repairs are August 21 to October 19. Do not hesitate, schedule your foundation repair and other home improvement projects to take advantage of the weather and other general conditions. Whether it be heaving, a settling basement, bowed walls or a water problem foundation problems will not go away until you focus your attention upon them.

 

Once you have had your foundation underpinned, the Farmers Almanac says that the best days to go fishing are September 3rd thru the 6th. You will not want to miss these days of relaxing and spending time with a friend fishing and enjoying this great time of year.

 

Other “best days” of note are listed below:

 

            Aug. 23rd – Cut firewood, mow to increase growth, dig holes, go hunting, wax floors

 

            Aug. 24th – Bake, cut firewood, mow to increase growth, dig holes, go hunting, wax floors, get married, buy clothes, entertain friends, host a party

 

            Aug. 29th – Cut firewood, mow to increase growth, castrate farm animals, dig holes, wean, potty train, wash windows, advertise to sell, travel for pleasure

 

                        Sept. 4th – Cut hair to retard growth, mow to retard growth, castrate farm animals, dig post holes, wean, quit smoking, potty train, wash wooden floors, paint, start a diet to lose weight, kill wild onions and weeds, host a party

 

            Sept. 8th – Dry fruits and vegetables, cut hair to retard growth, mow to retard growth, pick apples and pears, quit smoking, perform demolition, wash wooden floors, start diet to lose weight

 

            Sept. 14th – Can fruits and vegetables, harvest, get married

 

Now that your next few weeks are planned for you visit www.perfectpier.com for the newest engineered solution for foundation repairs.

 



Texas Foundation Repair and Soaker Hoses

clock August 16, 2009 18:59 by author blogadmin
Do not fall for the smoke and mirror engineering of using soaker hoses as a replacement for good foundation engineering.

 


The smoke and mirrors behind watering your foundation with soaker hoses.

It has been well established that foundation failures are widespread, especially in the State of Texas. Many experts claim that in most cases foundation failures are the result of an unregulated building industry, unskilled labor and builders cutting corners for the sake of higher profits or pure ignorance. For all those who live in a home built by a tract home builder this will not come as a surprise.

In recent years numerous experts around Texas have testified extensively about the increasing problem of home builders cutting cost corners and that the homes foundation is the first example given. It has also been acknowledged by engineers that home foundations are being designed to less stringent standards in order to build them cheaper. This lack of quality control has lead to unprecedented foundation repair work being needed.

Because of widespread homeowner complaints describing foundation failures, the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) asked for comments and recommendations from engineers across Texas. The consensus of those engineers who participated was to improve foundations by designing stiffer slabs. The results were astounding; the recommended guideline changes would increase foundation strength by 27% at an estimated cost of only a $1,000 for a 2,500 square foot one story home.

However, the disgraceful response by the building industry, to its critics, is that homeowners have a maintenance responsibility to “water their foundations” to protect the structural integrity of their homes. As if watering a foundation replaces sound engineering.

At a Texas building standards public hearing, a committee member described how homeowners are instructed by builders to put a soaker hose around the perimeter of the home, and never turn it off in order to keep the foundation from cracking, and to keep it stable. He then asked how much water was needed to maintain a foundation. The well respected engineer responded; you cannot maintain a foundation by watering because “you can never water enough.”
The engineer went on to say that the cost of water over even a relatively short period of time would far exceed the cost of the $1,000 needed to stiffen the foundation significantly when it is initially built.

So finally we have it on good authority that the excuse for foundation failures caused by too much rain, lack of rain or trees is a fairy tale, and that these so called “Acts of God” are really acts of man in order to increase builder profits. Remember the Texas Home Builders Association has a very large lobbyist organization in Austin.

Texas has highly expansive soils, as well as many other states however, no other place but Texas are homeowners instructed to "water their foundations." Other states officials and foundation experts laugh when they hear that in Texas homeowners are blamed for foundation failures because they didn't properly water their foundations. The solution to expansive soil problems is to properly engineer foundations to withstand the adverse effects of expansive soil. This can be accomplished during construction as well as after construction is complete by trained professionals under the guidance of independent foundation engineers.

In the meantime, if nothing is done, new homebuyers are at risk, and the new home foundation problem will continue to worsen while builder profits take priority. While continuing down this road will make the new home building and foundation repair industries very profitable, the consumer will suffer.
One solution for existing homes, that are having foundation problems, is to have proper foundation repairs done by trained professionals. There are several foundation repair methods that will solve current problems and they all have certain things in common. First, they install deeply beyond the active soil layers. Whether it is helical anchors or steel push piers, depth is the first priority. Secondly, correct foundation repairs use engineered systems to install. Simple bottle jacks and shims are not engineered systems, they are cheap techniques for temporary repairs. Lastly, quality foundation repairs are performed by trained foundation repair professionals under the supervision of independent engineers. Using these guidelines homeowners can be assured that they have a properly designed deep foundation system supporting their home.

In summary, do not rely on smoke and mirrors. Consult with a foundation engineer who will help develop a plan to solve your unique foundation problem.

 



Foundation Repair – Foundations & Water

clock August 16, 2009 17:34 by author blogadmin

 

When it comes to structural foundation repairs, the most common damage is due to water. Water or the lack thereof causes many problems, from settling, to bowed basement walls, to cracks and heaving. There are differing ways that water can get affect your foundation.

Steps to Prevention:

Waterproofing your basement is the best way to prevent possible foundation damage due to water. Going through with this action can possibly save you thousands of dollars in foundation repair costs, and maintain the value of your home.

There are many possible causes of water damage to your foundation. The most common cause is the possibility of having soil that has a flat or negative slope. This will cause water to pool and collect against or near your foundation. Another possibility is that the builder of your house did not properly waterproof your foundation, by using damproofing opposed to waterproofing methods.

This is the most dangerous type of damage due to the fact that you cannot easily see the signs of damage. The main cause of these types of damages is also hard to detect, which is why it is very important to contact a plumber as soon as you suspect water getting into your basement area. They will be able to inspect areas you will not be able to see in your home and see if there are any leaks or possible entry points of water.

If the plumber detects any leaks it is very important that you consult with a contractor or engineer for an inspection of possible foundation damage. Catching foundation damage early, before it gets a chance to develop can save you a lot of money and aggravation.

The next most common cause of foundation moisture problems is poor gutters. Blocked or sagging guttering prevents proper drainage of water. This lack of proper drainage causes pooling water around your basement which leads to hydrostatic pressure on the walls. This pressure builds up resulting in potentially catastrophic damage.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to protect your home. Ignoring the needs of your house will not only leave you homeless, but it will also cause you to lose all of the hard earned money you used to pay for your home. Maintaining proper drainage will pay huge dividends when it comes to your foundation.

 



Crawl Space Foundation Repairs

clock August 1, 2009 19:43 by author blogadmin
ECP's Model 200 Crawl Space Pier System is a foundation repair method that is used to lift, lock and secure your home's foundation.

 

Crawl space foundations are a very popular type of construction throughout the US and many homeowners know that many crawlspaces have one inherent drawback – sagging floors. Floors that are sagging or not level create many issues for homeowners from cracked tiles and squeaky floors to potentially failed foundations. These issues require that homeowners seek a solution for supporting these floors to original height and levelness. The problem is the many flawed systems designed to provide homeowners relief.

 

The first aspect to review when looking for foundation repair solutions is to understand the cause of the problem. In the construction of a crawlspace foundation, piers are placed below the support beams to give support for the home. These piers can be made from a variety of materials ranging from concrete blocks to wooden posts. These piers rest upon either shallow concrete pads or lightly compacted soils. Over time these piers move with the soil due to fluctuation in soils moisture, freeze – thaw cycles or soil compaction due to water intrusion. As the pier sinks into the soil the floor is no longer supported, hence sagging floors.

 

Many poor foundation repair contractors place ill-conceived solutions such as steel posts or by simply encapsulating the crawl space with a vapor barrier in an effort to control the moisture. By supplementing a crawl space foundation with steel posts, resting on the soil or even a shallow foundation (<7’ deep), is a temporary fix at best. Obviously resting a new support in the same fashion as the failed piers will not work for long. If the foundation repair or waterproofing contractor installs an encapsulation system without a deep foundation support system this will only slow the settlement without solving the problem.

 

Installing a deep foundation support system is best done by using a steel push pier system that drives steel pier pipe down to a load bearing soil well below soils that are affected by moisture. Earth Contact Products, the leading resistance pier manufacturer, has developed such a system. ECP’s Model 200 crawl space pier system is specifically designed for crawl spaces and other limited access areas. This system uses the weight of the structure to drive the pier pipe to a load bearing stratum and then using a unique manifold system the structure is simultaneously lifted and locked into place providing a solid, secure foundation for your home.

 



Engineers and Foundation Repairs

clock July 31, 2009 17:17 by author blogadmin
Foundation engineers have specific responsiblitites to those that hire them. They are an unbiased professional that will keep your best interests in mind while evaluating and designing your your foundation repairs.

 

Overview of the Guidelines for theEvaluation and Repair of Residential Foundations

By the Texas Section of theAmerican Society of Civil Engineers 

Objectives

The most common purpose of an engineering evaluation of a residential foundation is to assess its performance. This involves observation and evaluation of cosmetic(nonstructural) distress and structural damage. The evaluation may also provide opinions of probable causes of distress or damage, assessment of risk of further damage, recommendations for remedial measures, and cost estimates. If the evaluation determines that remedial measures are appropriate, the engineer may be asked to provide the design and construction documents. 

QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ENGINEER

The evaluation and repair design shall be performed by a professional engineer licensed in the State that the work is being performed. Engineers in responsible charge of this type of work must be competent to apply scientific and engineering education, training, knowledge, skill and experience to the investigation and analysis of constructed facilities. This determines the cause and extent of diminished performance and the means of remediation. Engineers should be competent in the related disciplines or should retain outside consultants as needed. 

Professional Ethics

It is essential to avoid conflicts of interest to maintain the credibility of the evaluation investigation. The evaluating engineer must demonstrate qualities of character that will ensure impartiality. These qualities include objectivity, confidentiality, honesty and integrity. 

LEVELS OF INVESTIGATION

The engineer should recommend an appropriate level of investigation to fulfill the objective of the evaluation. However, the scope of services shall be jointly established and agreed to by both the client and engineer. The engineer should personally visit the site and be in responsible charge of the investigative activities. If requested by the client, the engineer may only provide evaluation of reports by others, but this should be described as consultation, not investigation. For the purpose of aiding the client in determining the type of evaluation desired or actually performed, the following three levels of investigation are offered as guidelines. 

Level A

This level of investigation shall be clearly identified as a report of first impressions and shall not imply that any higher level of investigation has been performed. This level of investigation will typically include, but is not restricted to:

 

 1.   Interview the occupant, owner and client if possible, regarding a history of the property and performance of  the structure                                              

 2. Request from the client and review the provided documents regarding the foundation, such as construction drawings, geotechnical reports, previous                    testing and inspection reports, and previous repair information

3. Make visual observations during a physical walk-through

4. Observe factors influencing the performance of the foundation

5. If requested by the client, provide a written report, containing at least the following:                        

a. scope of services

b. observations, site characteristics, and data deemed pertinent by the engineer

c. discussion of major factors influencing foundation performance and rationale in reaching conclusions concerning the subject residence

d. conclusions and any recommendations for further investigation and remedial or preventative measures 

Level B

This level of investigation should include a written report including the items listed above for a Level A inspection and also the following items:

 1. A determination of relative foundation elevations, considering floor finishes, in sufficient detail to represent the shape of the foundation or floor   adequately.

 2. A drawing showing relative elevations  

Level C

This level of investigation shall include the items listed above for Level A and Level B inspections and additional services, testing and related reports deemed

appropriate by the Engineer. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

 1. Site specific soil sampling and testing

 2. Plumbing testing

 3. Material testing

 4. Steel reinforcing survey

 5. Post tensioning cable testing 

This level of investigation should also include a more detailed level of reporting, which may include the following:

 

 1. Scaled drawings

 2. Description of factors that affect soil moisture

 3. Observations of cut and fill

 4. Tree survey

 5. Photographs

 6. Detailed distress survey

 



Water Drainage and Waterproofing

clock July 30, 2009 16:31 by author blogadmin

 

If you want a dry basement and a sound foundation, you must have an adequate foundation drainage system. The water content in the soil surrounding your house can fluctuate seasonally. There is always a point at which you can dig and hit water. Geologists often refer to this as the water table. This water table rises and falls in response to the amount of precipitation in any given time period. The water table in many parts of the country can rise to within a few feet of the surface during wet spells. Water will take the path of least resistance. If there is no exterior waterproofing, water can go sideways through a crack in your foundation, or it can go down alongside your foundation into a pipe. I'm sure that you will agree that it is a better idea for the water to go down into the pipe.

Exterior foundation drainage systems, which are installed properly, serve an important roll. Foundation drain tile systems are the means by which groundwater can be transported away from your basement. Keeping water from pooling around your foundation is the most important step in keeping you home dry and your foundation stable. Water that is trapped around or under your home is the number one reason so many foundation repairs are needed across the country.

Interior drainage systems work extremely well for many customers. Depending on your circumstances, interior drainage may be an effective solution. Many water control system companies claim to be waterproofers and only offer this method as a solution to every basement water problem. If a company proposes opening the floor on the inside for any reason, they are offering an interior drainage system. Only an exterior excavation to the footer or bottom of the foundation accomplishes waterproofing. Everything else is water diversion. Never only contract for an interior water control system if dampness, seepage, and or cracking on the walls are your concern, as this may result in further damage to your foundation. In combination with exterior waterproofing and or structural repairs interior drainage can be very effective.

Be very care of companies that only offer and push interior drainage as the only solution to your water problem. While a good interior drainage system does a very good job of removing water from under your slab and diverting water vapor that penetrates walls they do nothing to solve the original problem of water forming around your foundation causing hydrostatic pressure and potential structural damage.

 



Earth Contact Products Hires New Engineer

clock July 24, 2009 08:21 by author blogadmin
Earth Contact Products hires a new engineer, Chad Banister. He is responsible for customer technical support, product testing and regional technical seminars.

 

Chad Banister has joined Earth Contact Products as a Staff Design Engineer at it’s Olathe, Ks. headquarters. Banister graduated from Kansas State University in 1994 with a BS in Architectural Engineering. Mr. Banister will be working directly under Don Clayton, PE ECP’s Senior Engineer along with consulting engineer Dr. David Kraft, Phd, PE. 

Banister is responsible for customer technical support as well as product testing and regional technical seminars. Details of upcoming seminar locations can be found at www.earthcontactproducts.com/News.asp . Earth Contact Products provides free technical support for the engineering community and its customers alike as it pertains to their products and the applications of their products. The preliminary design service is available to all contractors and specifying engineers in the foundation construction business, to assist in the design and application of its products.

 

Earth Contact Products is a manufacturer of steel foundation products for underpinning, new construction and the utility industries. From helical anchors and resistance piers to helical soil nails and wall anchors ECP is recognized as a leader in their set industries.

 



Foundation Repair Methods – The good and the bad

clock July 19, 2009 19:04 by author blogadmin
Understanding the good and the bad of the different foundation repair methods prevents homeowners from spending their hard earned money badly.

 

Understanding the positives and negatives of each foundation repair method will help with your decision when picking a foundation repair contractor. Some contractors advertise that they can put in every type of piering system, other concentrate on just one or two piering methods. The “jacks of all trades” usually are the master of none. They generally take short cuts and due to the fact that they are not thoroughly trained in each specific method. The foundation repair contractors that pick a system or two and stick with it generally can master the methods and provide a better quality job. They may not have the answer for every situation but they will generally provide better quality work on the jobs that they accept.

The next thing that you need to know is the positives and negative (limitations) of each foundation repair method. All commonly accepted methods have their place or application where they shine. Some methods, like steel push piers and helical anchors, are more adaptable to different situations, yet even they have their limitations. Using the correct method for your particular application is the difference between a job well done and job that is only a temporary band aid.

 

 Concrete Concrete Cylinders  Helical  Push
cheap      X       X    
utilizes skin friction for support      X       X    
bottle jacks used      X       X    
shims used for leveling      X       X    
high failure rate      X       X    
works in confined spaces         X     X    X
engineered lifting system         X    X
multiple bracket designs         X    X
Load tested during installation         X    X
Design flexibility         X    X 

 

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Foundation Repair - Your Underpinning Options

clock July 17, 2009 07:29 by author blogadmin

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When it comes to foundation repair work on your home, there are several choices that need to be made. These choices range from using helical piers or steel push piers, waterproofing or underpinning, concrete segmented piles or steel push piers or even eccentric vs. concentric piers. You will hear proponents for each different type of foundation repair underpinning system, you will also hear many different reasons why some steel push piers are better than other steel push piers. Wading through all of this information is the key to finding the right method and means of repairing your home. Here we will focus on the differences in  piering systems, specifically eccentric piers verses concentric piers. First we must define the terms eccentric and concentric. An eccentric piering systems is one who’s pile axis is not in line with its applied load. A concentric pier is a pier bracket and pile who’s axis is in line with the applied load. Below is an example of both an eccentric and a concentric pier.

                                                                                                            

                                           Eccentric Push Pier                                           Concentric Push Pier  

Next, you must categorize these piering systems. 

                                               Eccentric Piers                                   Concentric Piers            

                                               Steel Push Piers                                    Steel Push Piers           

                                               Helical Piers                                         Segmented Concrete Piers           

                                               Micro Piers                                          Hybrid Piers 

For foundation repair applications, helical piers are always eccentric in nature. The helical sections are installed through the bracketing system from the side of the pier. Micropiers are also installed through the bracketing systems from the side of the pier. The major reason for this is the relatively large equipment used to install these types of systems cannot fit below the wall or footing.  

Segmented Concrete Piles are installed directly below the footing and then a bracket or platform is installed on top of the pile to transfer the applied load to the pier. Hybrid piers are the latest concept in underpinning products. These pier systems generally use concrete filled steel pier sections installed directly below the footing and then either a steel bracket or concrete block is placed on top to transfer the load to the pier. These hybrid piers are marketed as the best of both worlds, in reality they are compromise of both worlds. They do not provide the full benefits of steel piers and they have the same negatives as the segmented concrete piles. 

As noted above, steel push piers can be eccentric or concentric in nature. Each manufacturer generally determines which design best fits their manufacturing and design capabilities and sticks with that style. Only Earth Contact Products has successfully designed and engineered both types of systems for residential use. 

What is better, eccentric or concentric? Well that is the $64,000 question. There is no real answer, because both, if designed properly and applied properly, will work well. While an eccentric designed pier requires more engineering and tighter quality control, not only can they work well but some have worked well for over 30 years. This is not to say all eccentric piers have good engineering behind them. Many are manufactured around cost constraints opposed to good engineering. Concentric steel piers are a lower tech solution that has many application advantages over its rival, the eccentric pier. They can be installed with less footing modification, they can be installed in lower headroom areas and they require less installation equipment to use. 

Concentric piers are great for crawl spaces due to the fact that a tall drive stand is not needed to drive the pier sections. For eccentric piers to be used in a crawl space you will need either a fairly deep crawl space or you will have to cut through the flooring to make room for the drive stand. Concentric piers are also not affected by deep brick ledges or other obstacles like their competition.  

The down side to most concentric piers is in their lifting or stabilization of structures. Most concentric piers do not allow room for anything more than a bottle jack (car jack) for lifting. They are pressured up with the bottle jack and then simple shims are placed between the bracketing system and the footing,  the footing is then lowered onto the pier system. Bottle jacks are very undesirable for a couple of reasons. First, the structure is over lifted to allow for the steel shims (similar to segmented concrete piles). Next, with bottle jacks, the installer has no way to measure or control the hydraulic pressure applied to the structure. Most engineers frown on the use of bottle jacks for structural repairs. 

There is only one concentric pier available, that uses a hydraulic manifold lifting system and is continuously adjustable, on the market today. The Earth Contact Products Model 200 uses a hydraulic manifold system, the same system used on their eccentric push piers. This system was designed by engineers for engineers to allow for critical infinite adjustability and control in lifting structures. The Model 200 also uses a patented adjusting platform that does not require over lifting or shims. This unique combination has created large demand and acceptance of this particular concentric piering system. 

As you can see there are many variables and styles of underpinning pier systems available. So how do you choose the one that is right for your home? This is the easy part. First, hire an engineer and let him help determine your foundation repair needs. Then take your new found knowledge out into the market and wade through the variety of foundation repair contractors and find one that installs a quality piering system that has been designed and engineered to perform on your home. No bottle jacks, no shims, no shallow installation methods, just good engineering and manufacturing by a quality foundation repair company. Now, whether you are in Dallas, Texas, Kansas City, Kansas or Columbus, Ohio get out there and get your home fixed correctly and permanently.



Is your basement wet?

clock June 27, 2009 21:12 by author blogadmin
Identifying the source of water in your basement will make your home healthier and more structurally sound. Hire an expert to install a waterproofing system.

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Having water in your basement is never a good thing. From structural deterioration to mold growth, wet basements create a number of hproblems for your home. When you have wet basement problems, it's critical to get your basement dry and keep it that way. In addition to standard basement waterproofing strategies, you may want to consider a whole house dehumidifier. Increasing ventilation and improving the overall air quality of your home, these systems can help ensure your basement stays dry!

Basement Waterproofing

Musty odors? Visible mold and mildew? Buckling or bowing walls? You likely have a basement moisture problem. Even when you don't see water, any of these problems is a sign of a leaky foundation. Damaging moisture is seeping into your home, so you need to attack it at its source! There are a variety of basement waterproofing methods and resources, so be sure that your contractor has tailored your water remediation to suit your home. The most important aspect of any basement drying solution is to identify the moisture's entry point and eliminate it. A number of options are available for sealing your basement and removing water, including:

  • Interior drain tiles
  • Sump pump installation
  • Battery or back up sump pumps
  • Vinyl wall sheeting
  • Crawl space encapsulation
  • Foundation crack repair
  • Steel Push Piers
  • Helical Tiebacks
  • Wall Plate Anchors

 Foundation Repair

Many times the water that is entering your home can also cause structural foundation problems. The moisture causes soils to consolidate under your foundation which in turn causes settlement. This settlement can be resolved with steel push piers or helical piers mounted under the footing transferring the weight of the structure from these consolidating soils to these newly installed piles.

So if you have signs of water in your basement contact a professional to help solve your homes problems. From waterproofing to foundation repairs solving water problems will make your home healthier and more structurally sound. Because...it's your home!

 



Ignoring Foundation Repair

clock June 27, 2009 20:19 by author blogadmin
By ignoring foundation repairs, your home may start to settle or move laterally. Hire a foundation repair expert to stabilize your foundation before it is too late.

 

Foundation repair is not something most of us like to think about. We tend to ignore it and hope that fixes itself. Foundation problems can be a stressful, potentially costly endeavor, filled with uncertainty, particularly if not done under the direction of a professional contractor or foundation engineer. 

Foundation Repair is needed when your foundation begins to settle or move laterally. This can be caused by building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or improper maintenance around foundations.  

Foundation repairs aren't easily performed, so you cannot sit back and hope for the best. You must do your homework to find the best foundation repair contractor for the job. As usual, the lowest price is not always the best way to go. If you choose to make your final decision based on price, be prepared to be disappointed. Quality repairs take specialized equipment and specially trained people to perform the work. 

Needed foundation repair work can not be ignored. The traditional answer to foundation repair has been to erect piers to jack up the foundation and raise it off the expansive clay soil. The piers must be installed through the expansive or weak soils to stabilize the structure. Foundation repair can be the most expensive repair that you will make to a property. There are four major categories for this type of piering – steel push piers, helical piers, micro piles and concrete piles. Each of these have their benefits and logical applications. 

Steel push piers are hydraulically driven piers that use the weight of the structure to drive steel pier material through the soil until they reach a load bearing stratum for support. Once the pier material is driven, individual hydraulic cylinders are attached to each pier and the structure is either stabilized or lifted using a hydraulic manifold system. Steel push piers are best suited for basements, crawl spaces or other heavy structures. 

Helical piers are similar to push piers except they are screwed through the soil and use a steel plate, flight, to support the pile within layers of good soil. These piles must be monitored very closely upon installation to achieve their intended depths. Once an adequate depth is achieved, once again, a hydraulic manifold lifting system is installed to lift or stabilize the structure. These helical piers are ideally suited to light weight structures that only need a small lift or stabilization. 

Micro piles are hydraulically driven hollow steel piers that are filled with grout during installation or immediately upon completion. The hollow bar serves not only as structural steel but also as a means inject the grout. These high capacity piers use the same type of manifold lifting system as steel push piers and helical piers. While these piles have very large capacities and can be installed in soils that other piles cannot be installed in, they also require much more equipment for installation which make them more expensive to install. They are best suited for very heavy structures sitting upon poor soils laden with cobbles, boulders and trash. 

Concrete piers are piers that use a drilled hole filled with concrete that rely on skin friction for support. They are drilled or dug into the soil, usually beyond the active soils, and then filled with concrete. Once the concrete has hardened, a shimming system is usually employed to support the structure. These piers are not only messy but take much longer to complete. 

Foundation repair is critical to address as soon as you suspect a problem. For starters, the sooner you fix a failing foundation, the less damage it will cause. Due to the complexity of foundation repairs the best advice is to hire an engineer followed by a trained foundation repair contractor. These professionals will make sure that your home is fixed correctly and permanently. Do not ignore your foundation problems have them fixed by the pros.

 



The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

clock June 21, 2009 06:27 by author blogadmin
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits that applies to products.

 

On February 17, 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. These changes apply to products "placed in service" in 2009. The highlights are: 

·         The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, have been extended to 2010 as well.

·         The tax credit has been raised from 10% to 30%.

·         The tax credits that were for a specific dollar amount (ex $300 for a CAC), have been converted to 30% of the cost.

·         The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1,500 total for the two year period (2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1,500 maximum.

·         The $200 cap on windows has been removed, but the requirements for windows has been increased significantly. Not all ENERGY STAR qualified windows will qualify.   

 

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency includes:

·         Tax Credits for Consumers

o    Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:

§  Windows and Doors§  Insulation§  Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)§  HVAC§  Water Heaters (non-solar)§  Biomass Stoves

o    Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction) for:

§  Geothermal Heat Pumps§  Solar Panels§  Solar Water Heaters§  Small Wind Energy Systems§  Fuel Cells

**Please note, not all ENERGY STAR qualified homes and products qualify for a tax credit. These tax credits are available for a number of products at the highest efficiency levels, which typically cost much more than standard products. If, for whatever reason, you decide not to purchase a product covered by the tax credit, you may still consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR product. ENERGY STAR distinguishes energy efficient products which, although they may cost more to purchase than standard models, will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time, without a tax credit. 

Tax Credits for Consumers: 

Home ImprovementsTax credits are now available for home improvements:

·         must be "placed in service" from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010

·         must be for taxpayer's principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes and rentals qualify)

·         $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009 & 2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016

·         must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify

·         for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement

·         improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010

·         If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters. 

 



Cost of Foundation Repair

clock June 3, 2009 09:16 by author blogadmin
Putting off home foundation repairs will cost you more money in the long run and put your family's safety in jeopardy. Hire a professional right away.

 

The cost of home foundation repairs has more to do with the long term costs verses the short term cost. What will it cost me if I do not do the foundation repair work, is the better question when deciding if you are going to hire a foundation repair contractor. Will not doing the repairs cost me more later? Taking care of your homes foundation maintains your home’s value. If your foundation is about to collapse the rest of your home is soon to follow. Putting off home foundation repairs will always cost you more in the long run.

 

As soon as you think that you may need repairs you only have two options, first, do I hire a foundation engineer? Second, do I hire a foundation repair specialist? While both may be needed, the order that you hire them is dependent upon the circumstances. If you have settlement or other structural issue hiring a foundation engineer is the best course of action. If your doors or windows are sticking, your foundation has large cracks and ruptures or you have major visual damage hiring an engineer can save you money. Hiring an engineer not only provides you with a person with your best interest in mind but also an expert to oversee the repairs being done.

 

If you have smaller cracks or other signs of preliminary movement, hiring a foundation repair expert to give you an evaluation becomes the smartest move. A qualified foundation repair expert that has been trained in repairing your home can provide you with the best method of repair at a reasonable price. The contractors take many factors into consideration when calculating the estimate for the repair of your foundation. After they have done their initial inspection, they will assess the damage and determine how long it will take to fix the foundation. Other than the labor cost the estimates will also depend on the type of material will be used, as well as the cause of the damage. While he does not have the education and training that an engineer has, a good quality foundation repair contractor can steer you in the right direction in determining the extent of the damage along with its cause.

 

So now the real question – what is this going to cost me? The answer is as vague as the question is. What is the extent of the damage, what type of foundation is it, what other areas of the home have been impacted and what has to be done are the questions that need answered by qualified professionals. Then, and only then, can the question of actual costs be answered. Remember repairing your home is one of the areas where you get what you pay for. Quality repairs can be done for a couple hundred dollars for minor repairs or tens of thousands of dollars for major repairs.

 

Do your research and interview an engineer and or a foundation contractor or two before making any decisions. Education is the key to not over paying for foundation repairs. Knowing the signs of problems, hiring an engineer that evaluates then oversees the repairs and understanding the cause of foundation problems will prevent you from wasting your hard earned money. Research and education will also make sure that you can spot a quality foundation repair job when it is complete.

 



New Crawl Space Repair Bracket

clock May 29, 2009 04:40 by author blogadmin
The newest piering system made by ECP is the Perfect Pier. It is designed to be used in crawl spaces and other limited access areas of a home or building.

 

Earth Contact Products is proud to introduce it newest piering system in their lineup of steel push piers. The ECP Perfect Pier is a patented concentric resistance pier for the foundation repair market. The pier is designed to be placed and installed below the footing and driven to a load bearing stratum while maintaining ECP’s stringent requirement of executing a manifold lifting system. These two features makes the Perfect Pier system the most unique foundation repair bracket since ECP introduced their patent pending Micro Pier bracket.

 

The ECP Perfect Pier underpinning system is specially designed to be used in crawl spaces and other limited access areas of a home or commercial building. Due to it’s compact size and lack of a drive stand the pier system can be used in limited access areas while maintaining an adjustable platform by which to lift a structure. This unique combination gives foundation repair contractors and homeowners alike a safe means to support structures without altering the structure. Do not get fooled by imitations demand the original ECP push pier system.

 

For more information about the ECP Perfect Pier contact Weston Opat @ 866-327-0007.

 

US Patent # 7,044,686



ECP Announces Annual Customer Appreciation Dinner

clock May 20, 2009 11:17 by author blogadmin
ECP has an Annual Customer Appreciate Dinner for ECP customers, employees, families, and the engineering community.

 

                                                                              

 

 

 

 

Earth Contact Products is pleased to announce the 2010 Annual Customer Appreciation Dinner in Las Vegas, NV on February 2nd 2010. This annual event has always been a highlight for many that attend the World of Concrete Convention and this year ECP has changed venues from the VooDoo Café to the newest Rio hotspot - Café Martorano.

 

Café Martorano offers Italian-American food in a unique atmosphere that combines exceptional food with extraordinary music. ECP’s guests will be treated to a custom menu prepared by Steve Martorano and ECP while watching classic movies and listening to classic R&B and classic rock. “We still combine the freshest food with the best music, film and television, but we’ve taken that experience to a new level just like the menu,” said Martorano. “It’s a modern cool atmosphere that allows us to maintain our welcome-to-the-family vibe while re-inventing ourselves and raising the bar once again.”

 

As in the past ECP will host a cocktail party at 6:00pm followed by dinner prepared by the owner Steve Martonaro himself at 8:00pm. We have made special arrangements for Steve Martorano, the “Italian guy from the neighborhood” to help host the event and prepare his special home style Italian-American favorites in a way that only he can do. This years event will be one of those cant miss opportunities that reflects our appreciation to our customers.

 

The experience at Café Martorano is like no other. From his “No Whining” policy to his “Absolutely No Changes” and “Don’t Break Balls” comments on his menu, you will quickly see why ECP has chosen this place for their most important meeting of the year.

“It truly is the best meat ball in the world” says Brad Mitchell, after visiting Café Martorano’s for the first time. “We’ve got to have our customer appreciation dinner here” followed Jon-Michael Mitchell after trying the fried calamari with hot and sweet peppers.

 

This dinner is open to ECP customers, employees and family along with the engineering community that we work with. Make your plans to attend this event and be prepared for great food and a great atmosphere. Let us thank you for your business while networking with the best specialty foundation contractors in the world.

 

             


NAWSRC Regional Seminar

clock May 19, 2009 13:17 by author blogadmin
The National Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors (NAWSRC) is the latest regional meeting designed to share information about the industry.

The National Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors (NAWSRC) latest regional meeting is being held in Chicago on May 22 and 23rd. Guest speakers will include Pat Donlea, VP or United Structural Systems, Barrington Il and Steve Andras, owner of Grate Products, Westport, Ma.

Waterproofing and Foundation Repair contractors throughout the Midwest will be attending this two day seminar designed to share information about the industry. The seminar is located at Metropolitan Industries located in Romeoville, Il. As a major sponsor of the event Earth Contact Products will provide information about their prodcuts to all those attending the seminar.



New Patent for Foundation Repair Industry

clock May 19, 2009 13:12 by author blogadmin
Introducing the latest patent product for the foundation repair industry. It is designed for uplift restraint as well as compressive loads of structures.

 

Earth Contact Products recently announced their latest patented product for underpinning foundations. The pier includes a pier shaft and a bracket mounted to the top of the pier shaft that supports the weight of the foundation along with a pair of braces that extend laterally from the pier shaft to the foundation.

 

This structural piering method and product was designed for uplift restraint as well as compressive loads of structures. The unique design was created by in house design professionals at ECP because of the growing need for uplift restraint on structures in both seismic and hurricane areas. Incorporated in the design are applications for ECP’s steel resistance and helical underpinning lineup of piers and bracket assemblies.

 

Jeff Tully, GM at Earth Contact Products, says “the bracket assembly fills a need in the foundation repair and underpinning industry. As the industries premier manufacturer of bracketing systems for the foundation repair and restoration industry we must always be listening to the industries needs and desires”.

 

US Patent number 7,195,462, dated March 27th of 2007 is one more reason the Earth Contact Products is known as “The Very Best” steel underpinning manufacturer. The uplift restraint product complements ECP’s lineup of resistance piers, helical anchors and brackets, helical soil nails, plate anchors, slab lifting devices and micropile bracketing systems. With the most complete lineup of brackets and piering systems Earth Contact Products offer specialty contractors and engineers many options for their needs.



Is your home showing signs of foundation problems?

clock May 19, 2009 11:03 by author blogadmin
Foundation engineers can repair foundation problems in your home by looking for wall cracks and signs of water damage.

                         

Is your home telling you that you have a foundation problem? Is there water in your basement or crawl space? Are your basement walls wet? Are your walls cracking?

If you can answer yes to any of the previous questions you need to contact a foundation repair expert today. These are all signs that your foundation is under stess and needs to have a foundation expert evaluate your situation before thigs get much worse. When things get worse they get more expensive so walk through your basement or go into your crawl space and take a look and see what your foundation is telling you. To find a foundation repair expert and learn more about foundation repair signs and causes visit www.myfoundationrepairs.com

Foundation engineers can be the best insurance that you can get when it comes to your homes foundation. An engineer will have your best interest in mind when he evaluates your homes foundation and he will give you tips and suggestions on what needs to be done and what you can do to help solve your current problem. The engineer then can oversee any repairs that need to be done and make sure that the work is performed correctly. To find a foundation engineer in your area visit www.foundationengineersnetwork.com today.

Your home is your largest investment, taking care of your home is money in your pocket.



Steel Pier Foundation Repair

clock May 1, 2009 11:13 by author blogadmin
Steel piers are a foundation repair solution that is used to restore any settled structure and provide suitable end bearing support for all structures.

 

                 

Earth Contact Products’ Steel Piers were selected to support and restore this office building after the owner determined that the entire structure had settled between 1/8 inch and 3-5/8 inches.  The settlement was most likely caused by consolidation of fill soil on the lot.  Merit Structures and Restoration Company from Midvale, Utah installed ninety seven ECP Model 350 Steel Pier systems to recover lost elevations. The Model 350 ECP Steel Pier System installed here used a 3-1/2 inch diameter tubular steel pier that was hydraulically driven to as deep as 54 feet below the footing to reach a geologic stratum that provided the suitable end bearing for supporting the structure.    

Each pier was advanced through the consolidating soil until the pier encountered firm load bearing.  Once reached, each ECP Steel Pier was field load tested against this bearing stratum to a force greater what was required to support the structure.  Field load testing each pier after reaching end resistance verified that the bearing stratum was suitable for long term support.  This load testing also determined a factor of safety for each pier placement against future settlement.  In the case of this project, the field test loads were on average 155% percent above the working load requirements providing an average factor of safety over 2.5!  At each pier location a pier bracket was attached to the foundation.  Once all piers were installed to end bearing and the load capacity verified, the structural load was transferred from the failing soil under the structure to the verified bearing stratum deep below the surface.  This gentle and uniform load transfer was accomplished by banks of hydraulic jacks that were all connected through manifolds to electric hydraulic pumps.  One jack was installed on each pier bracket to accomplish the load transfer and recovery of lost elevation. 

There was minimal disturbance to the building’s occupants during the restoration process.  Because ECP Steel Piers were installed using quiet, vibration free hydraulics, it was “business as usual” in the office during the underpinning installation.

   



Foundation Repair - Too Good to be True?

clock April 29, 2009 06:09 by author blogadmin
Foundation contractors are using steel push piers instead of concrete piles because they accurately measure pressure, depth and force on the structure.

 

Segmented concrete piles also known as pressed concrete piles, have been used for many years around the country, especially in Texas. They were originally designed for foundation repair in Texas due to the expansive nature of the clay soils located in many parts of the state. People were looking for an alternative to poured in place concrete pilings, hence the precast concrete segments. This solution became very popular and migrated throughout Texas and other southern state regions due to fantastic marketing and cheap pricing. Just now has the other shoe fallen.

 

With unprecedented lawsuits and educated engineers, the trend is flowing away from these stacked concrete pilings for foundation repairs. Instead of the soils being blamed for continued movement of homes, people are now blaming foundation repair contractors that use this process for their never ending foundation problems. The engineering community has become aware of these issues, many engineers are now demanding that any foundation repair system to be installed shall be driven below the upper active regions of the soils down to a load bearing stratum that is not affected by fluctuating moisture levels. This issue can be easily seen in areas with expansive clay soils. As the hot summer sun dries the clay soils, the concrete press piles cannot penetrate past the active soil layers like steel push piers can.

 

With the realization of these factors steel pier systems have become the favorite for homeowners and engineers alike. Steel piers that incorporate a synchronized lifting system eliminate the problems that segmented concrete piers have had while also providing an accurate way to measure pressure, depth and force on the structure. These variables allow a trained installing contractor to precisely drive pier sections to a load bearing layer of soil then lift the structure in a uniformed and controlled manner under the supervision of an engineer.

 

The segmented concrete piles have always had some problems but many these issues have been ignored or circumvented with shortcuts. The general impression was it is not perfect but it is cheap! For homeowners that had to live through these shortcomings, answers like these have not been satisfactory. The number one issue with these cabled or stacked concrete piles is the method and the depth that they are driven.

 

First, a red flag should be raised anytime a car jack (bottle jack) is used to lift a structure. Car jacks are fine for cars or trailers but should never be used in foundation repairs. Their capacities are very limited along with the fact that there is no way of determining the pressure that they are exerting on the home. In the installation of pressed concrete piles, car jacks are used to drive the concrete cylinders into the soil. Car jacks have a very small saddle that contacts the footing hence placing a much localized force on the concrete foundation. Many times footings will crack or crumble due to this method of foundation repair.

 

Next, the flat bottom 6” diameter concrete cylinders are pushed against the soil causing shallow drive depths. Picture in your mind the amount of force required to press a concrete cylinder into your front yard. Now picture, in your mind, that you are using a 1” diameter metal shaft to accomplish this task. The 1” shaft is using your footing to press the cylinder through the soil, obviously not a good situation. Not only are the 6” cylinders not going to drive very deep but the duress that is being placed on the footing is unacceptable.

 

Every foundation repair contractor worth his weight in salt calculates the weight of the structure before prescribing a method of repair. This information is necessary for driving pier sections along with lifting structures when there is a means of controlling hydraulic flow and pressure. Without being able to control flow or pressure, as with car jacks, foundation repair becomes a guessing game. Proper depth and soil conditions cannot be met when the structures weight and strength are not calculated.

 

To overcome the problem of not reaching proper depth many of the pressed concrete piling contractors have devised methods to help the pile drive through the soil. One such method is placing a cone shaped piece on the bottom of the leading concrete cylinder. This is supposed to overcome the resistance of pressing a flat surface against the soil. Now you will have a pointed end on the first section decreasing the friction, you will also have a finished pile resting on a pointed end. Obviously when you place the full weight of the structure on this pile it can push the pile even deeper due to the shape of the cone. If the pile drives easier due to its shape it will also settle easier due to its shape.

 

Another method used to overcome shallow depths is to use high pressure water jetting to lubricate (soften) the soil below the concrete cylinder. A high pressure line is forced down the center of the concrete piles blasting water into the soil making the piles install easier. Common sense tells us that if your home was built on expanding clay soils and you are having foundation issues, the introduction of more water into these soils is not a good solution. Good for the contractor yes, good for your home – No!

 

One of the latest innovations in the segmented concrete pile industry is a spiraled concrete cylinder. The theory is that the spiral shape makes it easier for the pile to drive through the soil and “reach up to 20% deeper”. Deeper than what? Twenty percent deeper than five feet is on one additional foot. This is not going to make any difference if the active layer continues 10-15’ below the surface.

 

Once again picture in your mind a spiral shaped concrete cylinder, as the cylinder is driven in the ground it turns about 90 degrees per foot of depth. Imagine, if you will, that the spiral on the cylinder causes the soil to move away from the center of the pile creating a void around the concrete cylinder. This sweeping action forces the soils outward in an irregular shape. As more cylinders follow each other a soil void is formed around the pile creating a friction pile that does not have the benefit of soil around itself. Once again this is a fine marketing tool to make your concrete cylinder different from others, but is it causing more potential harm than good?

 

The lift, now things really get interesting. Once the piles are driven down a couple of feet into the soil, the soil has been pushed away from the pile, the pile is setting on a muddy mess with a pointed end. Now for their lift of your home,  a block of concrete is placed on top of the last concrete cylinder driven and then the now famous car jack is placed on top of the block and they start pumping the handle. After your home is over raised, yes over raised, two small cylinders are placed along side of the car jack and steel shims of various thickness are slid between the new cylinders and the footing. These thin steel shims are now what your home is resting upon. The car jack is then lowered and your home drops down onto a stack of thin steel shims.

 

Segmented concrete piles were once “King” in Texas, but now due to their shortcomings, homeowners throughout the country are demanding more from foundation repair professionals. As with most home improvement projects information is the key to quality work. Like many foundation engineers throughout the country you to have been educated on foundation repair methods. Remember, do not make your decision based on advertising and cheap prices, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

 



Foundation Repair – Bottle Jacks are BAD!

clock April 27, 2009 10:14 by author blogadmin
Don't repair you foundation by using bottle jacks. A professional can stabilize and support your foundation by installing quality foundation repair products.

For many people foundation repairs are a necessary evil when they are having settling or heaving problems with their home. Most are not up to speed on the technical aspects of structurally repairing their homes basement or foundation, so they look through the phone book or go online and look for a repair expert in their area. With little knowledge or research a foundation repair contractor is chosen based on price or convenience. This is where problems can start, the lack of knowledge is the enemy of quality workmanship.

 

Quality foundation repair contractors have years of experience and a host of quality products and employees at their disposal so that they can apply the best solution to your homes unique situation. The bad contractors base their business on price and convenience. They are able to install their pier systems very quickly and inexpensively because they are adapting your situation to their foundation repair solution and equipment. No thought is given to the real factors involved with structurally stabilizing a basement or foundation.

 

These real world factors include:

            Structural weight

            Structural elevations

            Structural strength of the current foundation

            Pier system capacities

            Synchronized lifting

            Soil properties

            Drainage and water runoff

 

One of the simplest methods to see if you are receiving a quality foundation repair is to inquire about the equipment to be used on your repair. Many low cost, fly-by-night contractors use simple bottle jacks (car jacks) is drive pier sections into the soil. They will then use these same car jacks in an attempt to stabilize your home. This should throw up a red flag to all homeowners. If the contractor will not spend money on quality, engineer approved equipment they most likely will not repair your home in a quality, engineer approved manner.

 

 

While a relatively simple manner to filter out poor installing contractors, it is a good rule of thumb to narrow down your choices. Simply put, bottle jacks are great for temporary support of cars, beams and trailers but when being used for foundation repairs they can cause damage to a homes foundation. Bottle jacks have no pressure gauge to regulate the pressure being applied to a foundation, only a crude mechanical means for adjustment. Bottle jacks have a very small head or saddle, which presses against your foundation when the mechanical pump is depressed. This greatly increases the stress on a foundation causing cracks and possible ruptures in the footing or wall. Increasing the square inches of contact area greatly reduces the applied force on the foundation. Most quality foundation pier systems accomplish this by using a steel bracket with a large surface area for the footing to rest on attached to a specifically designed hydraulic cylinder.

 

The lack of a pressure gauge is another deficiency of bottle jacks. With now means of measuring the force applied to the foundation there is no way of knowing if the foundation can sustain this force. Quality structural repair systems have a gauge and valve to measure and limit the hydraulic forces applied to your home. When lifting a structure, multiple heavy duty hydraulic cylinders and valve banks are used to complete a synchronized lift. This way the foundation is supported and lifted evenly, as not to apply unequal forces on a structure.

 

It should now be obvious why engineers and quality foundation repair contractors do not implement bottle jacks to repair your homes foundation. So when you start your research for a foundation repair contractor start with this one easy filter and narrow your choice from there.



Your Homes Deck is Only as Good as it’s Foundation

clock April 21, 2009 18:50 by author blogadmin
Helical piers are used in deck construction so you can save on lumber, concrete and installation costs.

We have all heard the old adage “It is only as strong as its foundation”. This particularly true with your home and the additions that you make to it. When adding a deck to your home, using helical anchors for its foundation gives you the security of a deep foundation with the ease of installing a helical soil screw. For years helical piles have been used in the new home construction and boardwalk industry due to their ease of use and material savings. This same technique is now being used in deck construction for many reasons including ease of installation, all weather installation and simply economics.

The old fashioned method of buying extra long and expensive deck posts and concrete is being replaced with simple steel helical foundations. Helical foundations are a steel shaft that has a helix shaped flight welded to its leading end that uses installation torque as an indication of capacity. These helical anchors come in many sizes, configurations and lengths. The anchor is turned into the soil via a hydraulic gear motor that is either attached to a small machine, such as a skid steer or even installed by specialized hand held equipment. The gear motor slowly turns the helix into the soil until it is significantly embedded past the upper active regions of soil. After installation a simple steel bracket is attached between the steel foundation and the deck posts.

Gone are the days when we need to excavate soils and fight the placement of deck posts. If a helical anchor is installed in the wrong place they can simply be reversed out of the soil and placed in the correct position without having to backfill the hole. Gone also is the need for concrete mixing and filling around posts. The helical piles install with minimal disturbance to the soil so backfilling and concrete is not required. And lastly, gone are the days of watching your buried deck posts rot away due to water and termites.

On your next deck project save on lumber, concrete and installation costs by using helical anchors as the preferred method of foundation building. You will now have the confidence that your new wood deck with last for many backyard barbeques and neighborhood gatherings for friends and family.



Bowing Basement Walls

clock April 16, 2009 07:19 by author blogadmin
Wall anchors are a cost effective solution to repair bowing or leaning basement walls.

Basement wall cracks create basement water problems.

April showers bring May basement wall problems. Tax day has come and gone but the spring rains continue creating high water tables and hydrostatic pressure on our basement walls. This water exerts undesigned pressure on our basement walls causing cracks, bowed walls and structurally unsafe conditions. While the first step is always to manage the water, the second step is now our concern. This step is to restore the basement wall to a structurally sound state in a cost effective manner using engineered products designed for this situation and installed by foundation repair professionals.

Wall plate anchors are a viable solution for many block and poured concrete walls that are bowing or leaning inward. These wall plate anchors use the untouched, virgin soils in your yard to anchor your basement wall. This system has many advantages including:

  • Minimal disturbance to your home and lawn
  • Quickly installed
  • All weather installation
  • Cost effective
  • Easily concealed (for basement finishing)

The use of wall anchors can be used many times instead of the costly alternative of removing and replacing foundation walls. The process is a relatively simple process for a quality foundation repair expert. The following is the steps that foundation repair expert follow when installing wall anchors.

  • Estimate wall loads
  • Match wall anchor to load
  • Remove exterior sod at anchor placements
  • Drill or dig exterior anchor hole
  • Penetrate basement wall to allow anchor rod placement
  • Drive anchor rod and connect to anchor plate
  • Attached wall plate to anchor rod
  • Backfill anchor plate hole
  • Tension wall anchor assembly
  • Document wall tension and original wall bow
  • Cleanup and seal against potential water leaks

 

So if your home has bowing or leaning basement walls contact a foundation repair expert to help you solve your problems today.



Micropile Underpinning Bracket

clock April 6, 2009 11:42 by author blogadmin
Micropile underpinning bracket is a new cost effective underpinning product used in the foundation repair industry to handle difficult ground conditions.

Now you can install a pre-engineered foundation repair bracket for your next micropile project that multiples your safety potentials.  Developed as a joint venture between leaders in their respective fields, Earth Contact Products and TEI Rock Drills have put their expertise together to design a system to make the installation of micropile brackets as efficient as other underpinning systems.  Together we have adapted a proven ECP-style underpinning bracket to attach to the TEI Hollow Bar Drilling Rig. How does this work? The new ECP micropier brackets eccentrically transfers the load of the structure to the hollow bar grout column, while maintaining the ability of a continuous manifold lift. This key element in the design allows for engineers and contractors the convenience of a proven, off the shelf bracket system that can easily adapt to micropile applications.  This type of underpinning system can be used on residential and commercial jobs alike. No longer are you restrained from using a underpinning system due to cobbles or other obstructions in the soil.

The Earth Contact Products MP-350 Micropier Bracket System is easily installed into difficult soil conditions that can contain large cobbles, obstructions and layers of rock. The TEI / MP-250 Drill Rig that is used in conjunction with the ECP micro pier bracket system is a lightweight and portable drilling unit and used worldwide in the pier installation industry. With its proven track record, you’ll find that the installation and drilling of the micropile is fast and efficient.  With its grouted column, lateral loading in suspect soils is no longer a problem. The micropile works on skin friction to achieve maximum capacity, also, the ability to achieve capacity through end bearing the pile into a socket in the bedrock makes the ECP micropier a great application in many job site conditions. The micropiers are an engineering feat in themselves.  The hollow bar micro pier installs simultaneously as the core hole is being drilled, the grout is pumped thru the hollow bar, filling the shaft and displacing the cuttings--ALL in a simultaneous operation! Thus, saving much time and labor costs.   

With this addition to the ECP product line, Earth Contact Products is offering contractors and engineers the ability to add value to their businesses by opening up new business opportunities when other underpinning systems may not be able to be installed.  Instead of bearing on shallow layers of bearing structum you now can be assured that your underpinning system has gone below these weak and unveried layers to support structures.

 

                    Benefits of the Micro Pier System:  

  • Bracket is a pre-engineered and pre-tested product
  • Capacity ratings of 75,000-99,000 lbs
  • Quickly  Installs to the TEI Drill Rig MP-250
  • Intregrated Manifold Lift Design
  • Minimal Site Preparation
  • Installs in Low Head Room Areas or Limited Access Areas
  • System Handles Difficult Ground Conditions
  • Easily Load Tested to Verify Capacity
  • Designed to Transfer Load to the Full Length of the Pile
  • Cost Effective due to ease of operation and design



Radon and your home

clock March 31, 2009 19:53 by author blogadmin
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Test your home for radon so you can stop this silent intruder from harming your family.

Radon is an inert gas that comes from below the earth’s surface.  To see the radon level in your area visit the EPA’s website. Radon gas is a by-product of uranium, and is found all over the world. It is the second greatest cause of lung cancer after smoking and causes more deaths per year than drunk drivers. This is not an article intended to scare, it is intended to inform.When it comes to radon, the general population falls into three categories: the informed, the uninformed and the misinformed.

·         The informed have tested and mitigated where warranted.

·         The uninformed don’t know anything about radon

·         The misinformed believe that radon exists and is a problem only in certain locations, all far removed from them.

Radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and it creeps into our homes, offices and schools through cracks and other openings in the foundation of the building.  Once inside it decays into alpha particles that damage the DNA of lung tissue, a major cause of lung cancer. Once identified as a problem, radon mitigation can be implemented for a very reasonable cost.  Some states like Colorado already require radon-resistant design as part of new home construction. Testing for radon is easy and homeowners can do it themselves. 

TheRadonLady.com has a link to one reliable source of radon test kits.  These are the same kits that are used by Radon Professionals for real estate transactions. There are many other sources on the web for passive test kits along with electrictronic units.Some people are afraid to test for radon because they think that mitigation will be costly, yet the cost is significantly less than what is added to a new vehicle for other safety features like airbags, seatbelts and crushable auto body parts.  The systems are fairly simple, yet very effective. When a house is sold, the radon system remains, a bonus to the buyer.

The Radon Lady (who is a licensed professional) recommends that everyone test their home themselves with both short term and long term testing.  Short term testing is for 48 hours and give a “snapshot” of the radon buildup over the two days.  Long term testing is 90+ days (6 months is recommended) and shows what the radon levels are like during “normal living conditions.”  “I suggest an initial short term test for approximately $16.  Depending on the radon levels mitigation might be warranted and that’s good to know.  Even if the radon levels are low, however, long term testing should always be implemented.  It costs only $25 and is really the decisive factor of how the home, office or classroom is affected . 

Test your home for radon today, you owe it to your family.



Expectations of Waterproofing

clock March 28, 2009 16:39 by author blogadmin
Understanding what type of waterproofing needs to be done and the limitation of this work is the first step to fixing your homes water problems. Sealed interior waterproofing systems are the best choice for basement waterproofing.

Basement waterproofing contractors usually provide some form of drainage system as one of their services to solve a wet basement or crawlspace. While drainage is critical to solving water problems, it is also crucial that homeowners understand the purpose and limitations of waterproofing their homes.

 

The definition of waterproofing is the process of making an area impervious to or unaffected by water. Residential waterproofing is necessary to allow basements and crawlspaces to become useful areas of the home. Basements can be converted to new living space without the usually damp and musty smells that generally accompany a basement. Methods of waterproofing include exterior and interior systems, each having their benefits and drawbacks.

 

Much criticism of interior waterproofing has been made due to the unregulated nature of the industry. Many less than credible contractors install systems without real knowledge of their actions.  These objections can be overcome with a sealed system of basement waterproofing. By not allowing collected moisture to re-enter a home these sealed systems can help with decreasing humidity, mold spore and radon levels by their nature of being sealed.

 

These waterproofing systems are installed along the interior perimeter of the basement dumping their contents into a sump pit then expelled by a sump pump. The drain tile is installed next to the footing and encased in crushed stone to filter potential clogs. Once the drain tile is set in place and connected together the system is completely covered with concrete keeping the water and gases from entering the interior living space. While many basement waterproofing systems install below the floor on sealed systems install next to the footing instead of being placed on top.

 

Systems that are placed on top of the footing are done so to gather water that runs down the walls. The major issue to with this type of system is the back is left open for wall water. This open back design also allows collected water and gases to reenter the living space causing higher humidity levels and possible radon infiltration. So when your basement must be waterproofed from the interior specify a sealed drainage system to protect your home and family.



Foundation Repair

clock March 22, 2009 19:26 by author blogadmin
The solution to fixing a settling foundation, is to hire a professional engineer. An expert can provide foundation repair methods to make your home stable.

Does your basement or slab foundation need repaired?

 

Understanding the reasons for foundation repairs is the first step to deciding which method is best for your home. It is crucial for homeowners to not only understand the reasons for foundation repairs but also the limitations of said repairs. Homeowners must also know who to contact for these repairs. There are many different methods and solutions that must be waded through before making the correct decision for your home and family.

Foundation repair is defined as: the art of underpinning or stabilizing a structure that has moved from its originally constructed design. To underpin a home or structure one must extend the current foundation into a soil strata or layer that is deeper and more stable than the current soil that the foundation is resting upon. This is accomplished by providing additional support from the current footing or wall via piers or anchors. Methods of foundation repairs include push piers, plate anchors, helical anchors or drilled concrete piles.

The people responsible for designing and instituting these methods include foundation engineers and foundation repair contractors. A foundation engineer is responsible to evaluate the structure in question and then provide a proposal for his design. Generally the engineer will recommend a foundation repair contractor to carry out his proposed plan for repair and then sign off on this plan upon the completion of fixing your foundation problem. While it is not always legally necessary for an engineer to be involved it is highly recommended anytime structural repairs are executed.

Inadequate soil conditions are caused by several factors. With suitable building sites becoming more scarce many home builders have been building houses on less than ideal lots. These subpar lots have less than suitable soil conditions to support many structures. There are also homes built on expansive soils that shrink and swell as rainfall and moisture levels change. Due to these conditions foundation support products must be utilized to supply support from deeper layers that are not as affected by fluctuating moisture levels. This underpinning provides a way to lift the home to an acceptable level and prevent additional settlement.

Slab on grade or pier and beam foundations are the most susceptible to weak or expanding soils. Due to the nature of having a large surface area resting on the uppermost soil layers these foundations have a tendency to move as the soil moves. Most slab on grade homes are monolithically poured with the slab and beams cast together creating a rigid foundation. This rigid foundation becomes susceptible to differential settlement when moisture levels under the slab do not remain consistent. This can result from broken water lines, poor drainage or even inadequate guttering. Trees can also affect soils by their roots drying out areas under these slabs while the rest of the slab has normal moisture content.

Differential settlement causes slab on grade foundations to rise on the perimeter (dish) or fall around the perimeter (dome). Steel push piers and helical piers are generally an engineer’s recommended solution for these conditions. These piers penetrate through unstable soils down to a more consistent soil layer that has adequate strength to support the structure. These piering systems provide a deep foundation that can now be lifted off of to regain an adequate elevation.

In the case of homes with basements, expansive clay soils that have been over saturated with water can cause hydrostatic pressure on walls. This newly imposed pressure can cause wall bowing and concrete cracking. In extreme cases, catastrophic failure can occur from these wall stresses. When basement homes are originally designed it is with normal moisture content. Poor drainage often causes undue pressure to build behind basement walls exerting forces on the basement foundation. This is often the source of concrete cracking and water to infiltrate the space. Once again it is generally the differential movement that causes the foundation repair problem.

There are two common fixes to bowing basement walls. Plate Anchors (wall anchors) are an effective solution for many homes. These wall anchors are imbedded into competent soils beyond a zone of influence surrounding the structure. Threaded rods are then connected to these anchors on one end with the opposite end being attached to a wall plate inside the basement. With this system total excavation is not required and because of this additional soil load, wall recovery is accomplished over time with continued tightening of the anchor rods.

Next, there are helical tiebacks. This system of basement or retaining wall anchoring involves the complete excavation of the affected area. Helical anchors are screwed into the soil hydraulically, and then attached with a wall plate situated inside the basement wall. With the full excavation the wall can be instantaneously pulled back to plumb. The helical anchor can resist very heavy loads due to their design and the fact of their installation force equates to their resisting force.

Whatever the solution to your concrete cracks knowing the cause of your foundation problem is the first step to fixing your foundation. Hiring a professional engineer is always the first step to making your home structurally sound. Now go out and check your foundation for a concrete crack or settlement.

 



Waterproofing Residential Foundations

clock March 14, 2009 18:42 by author blogadmin
Keep your home dry and safe by installing an adequate waterproofing system. It will conserve energy and stop mold growth for your residential foundation.

Many times the terms waterproofing and damp proofing are used interchangeably. The terms waterproofing and interior water diverting are also used interchangeably. All of these terms sound like they accomplish similar goals, though they do not. Understanding these terms is critical if you want to keep your foundation dry and structurally sound. Knowing what these methods can and cannot do allows you to pick the best method for your home.

 

Years ago many homes were spray coated with solvent-based asphaltic products. These materials didn’t actually waterproof foundations, they damp proofed them. These asphaltic coatings only prevent the transmission of water vapor into the concrete. Waterproofing materials prevent the transmission of both liquid water and water vapor. Now, many so called waterproofing companies attempt to divert the water that damp proofing does not stop. These interior water drainage systems do not prevent water from coming through the concrete. They are designed around the fact that water is coming through the foundation and they divert this water to a sump pump that expels the water outside the structure. Obviously this is contradictory to the definition of what waterproofing is.

 

Today the most commonly used material is a rubberized asphalt coating that can be sprayed on or used as a peel and stick sheet product. Whether using the spray or sheet rubberized asphalt it must be protected from ultraviolet light so it must be covered and protected when exposed to sunlight. Next are polyethylene sheet membrane systems. These are three layer systems with the two outside made of high density virgin polyethylene sandwiching a layer of recycled polyethylene.

 

No matter which of these systems that you use it needs to be protected from damage from backfill, to insulate basements and provide water drainage away from the membrane. Soils with high water content produce significant hydrostatic pressures against foundation walls. This hydrostatic pressure can cause water to penetrate the smallest holes and cracks. Thus waterproofing actually consists of a waterproof membrane and drainage next to this membrane which moves water to the exterior drain located alongside the footing.

 

This system of waterproofing is even more important these days due to the fact that homes are sealed tight. Building homes tighter in order to conserve on energy increases the problems of mold and mildew growth because relative humidity increases inside the building envelope. Stopping water from entering a basement makes a true waterproofing system a must these days.  Waterproofing, not damp proofing or water diverting is the answer to a healthy and dry home. Knowing what is available and what is necessary for your home is the key to making your home dry and safe.



International Building Code - Changes for Helical Piles

clock March 13, 2009 10:35 by author blogadmin
The International Building Code changes the structural provisions for helical pile foundations.

The International Code Council's 2009 edition of the international Building Code had 350 proposed code changes to the structural provisions in Chapter 16 through 23 of the 2006 IBC. Of these, about 200 were successful and will be incorporated into the 2009 edition.

Section 1704.10 - Special inspection requirements were added for helical pile foundations that are now included in Chapter 18.



Wet Basements and Spring Rains

clock March 12, 2009 14:02 by author blogadmin
Excess water in your basement can lead to foundation damage. Hire a foundation engineer so you can get quality service and permanently keep your home dry.

Spring Home Improvement - Part 2

 

Solving structural foundation problems can be accomplished with steel push piers, helical piers, plate anchors and helical tiebacks by foundation experts. The type and method of foundation repair should only be prescribed by a trained expert. High quality foundation repair methods can be installed very quickly with less inconvenience than other methods. Your foundation will be secured and the original elevation will be retrieved maintaining the original integrity of your home.

 

The next step is to make sure that rain water is not running down the outside of your foundation walls. The best approach is to start at the top and work your way down. At the top is your guttering and downspouts. Gutters need to be secured and cleaned so that rain runs toward downspouts freely. The downspouts then take the water down to ground level where they must be directed away from the foundation. This can be accomplished with splash blocks, extenders or an underground system that takes the water through a series of piping and out beyond the zone of influence.

 

Grading the soil downhill is the next step. This is a very important step in the process of eliminating water problems. Mulch and debris must be removed before adding a clayey soil slope out approximately ten feet from the structure. This gentle slope directs water away from the home and prevents water pooling and hydrostatic pressure on foundation walls. Any cracks or gaps between concrete driveways and slabs should be filled to prevent any water infiltration. These gaps are often overlooked by homeowners due to their small size and location. Water runs across the concrete and is funneled into these gaps causing large amounts of water causing erosion and undermining, which opens voids for water to rest. Preventing water from attacking your foundation is the first step to preventing the need for foundation repair solutions.

 

Upon completing these easy steps you will be able to enjoy your basement this spring and summer without worrying about unexpected flooding. If your home has a crawlspace, the area under your home will be dry and mold free without paying for an encapsulation system that traps large amounts of water and mold under a thin layer of plastic that only hides your real problem. Do not fall for the scare tactics and bad advertising, use these simple steps to permanently keep your home dry and structurally sound.

 

Always remember, hiring a foundation engineer is your best insurance to getting a high quality job done right and not being sold a very expensive band aid.

 



Wet Basements & Spring Rains

clock March 10, 2009 13:11 by author blogadmin
Heavy spring rains produce wet basements and crawlspaces. Inspect your foundation for water damages such as cracks and settlement to prevent flooding.

Spring Home Improvement - Part 1

 

With spring right around the corner, we all should start thinking about the potential for wet basements and crawlspaces. With spring come heavy and frequent rains.  These rains can and will create havoc under your home if you are not prepared. Gutters need cleaned, downspouts checked, sump pumps need checked, perimeter grading must be maintained and foundations need to be kept in good shape.

 The best sign that spring is right around the corner is the amount of waterproofing contractors advertising their latest, greatest interior water diverting system. These waterproofing contractors are the first to ignore the causes of water infiltration, only praying on the easy band aid fixes. These band aids include encapsulation, interior drain systems and super duper wonder sump pumps. These quick fixes do not address the problem only the symptom. You have to keep water away from your home and maintain your foundation if you want to have a dry basement or crawlspace.  

Look for the signs and your home will tell you what is happening. These signs include efflorescence, mold, cracks in drywall,  windows and doors that are sticky and water leakage. Once you know you have a problem your next step is to look for the cause. Causes include transpiration, plumbing leaks, poorly maintained gutters, drainage and poor soil conditions. Any of these can cause undue pressure on foundations which results in leaks and cracks. 

Checking your basement for cracks and leaks should be the first step in making sure that you will not end up with a wading pool in your basement. Whether you hire a qualified foundation engineer or a foundation repair expert your foundation needs to be thoroughly inspected for wall cracks and ruptures, bowed foundation walls, settling footings and walls along with other structural defects. These defects must be solved before the rains start to prevent your basement from flooding. Neglecting structural defects assures foundation problems in the future. 

A simple way of detecting whether your foundation is under structural stress is with crack monitoring. Crack monitors are simple devices that measure and record movement of foundations over a period of time. These simple products can help determine if foundation repairs are necessary or not. Not only are they simple to install and read, they also are fairly inexpensive. Just have one installed over a crack and record the movement over time to really see what the basement walls are doing.

 



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