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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

 



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