The Situation

Recently, a client was interested in purchasing a house in North Richland Hills, TX. Before making the investment, the client wanted a professional opinion from our structural engineers. They noticed cracks in a couple areas of the home’s foundation, along with some interior wall cracks.

Analysis

As you can see in the engineering report, there were 21 existing piers that were installed back in 2006.  We show them as squares on the map. We took floor elevations using a zip level and evaluated the drainage and vegetation system.  The gutters were functioning properly, but there were large trees that correlated with “out of tolerance” floor elevations. Per the American Institute of Concrete, floor slabs should not vary by more than 0.5 inches over a 10-foot area.  In this situation, there were variations of 1-inch in 10-foot areas in multiple locations where that data was correlated with interior and exterior patterns of damage.

Solution

In the engineering report, you can see we proposed 19 new pilings (shown as circles) to support the foundation in these areas. These new piers will prevent the foundation from moving downward and will improve the levelness of the foundation.

We identified the large tree in the rear of the property as the possible cause of the elevation loss.  Its branches extend over the areas of the highest elevation loss. Tree root barriers are advisable in situations such as this.

It’s always good to have an independent foundation engineer review your foundation to identify what costs may be associated with responsible foundation repair and maintenance. Like this client, you’ll be able to know the costs of repair before signing on the dotted line.