San Antonio Foundation Inspection Experts
Signs Your San Antonio Home Needs Foundation Repair
Look for Clues to Foundation Problems Like These
There are a variety of clues to look for in your home that may indicate that there has been foundation movement. Foundation movement or shifting may or may not require repairs. Hiring a foundation inspection expert to evaluate the situation can provide the answers you need.
In San Antonio, Texas most homes have either a slab foundation or a pier-and-beam foundation. Each type of foundation can move and create structural instability. Here are some of the signs to look for.
Movement of Slab Foundations
It is very likely that your San Antonio, Texas home is built on a concrete slab foundation. This type of foundation is a preference for most builders because of its simplicity.
Some of the signs that your concrete slab foundation has moved are as follows:
- Cracks in the foundation concrete
- Cracks in your drywall
- Separations or cracks in the ceiling drywall
- Doors that won’t shut correctly
- Cracks in exterior brick
- Trim separating near windows
- Cracks across several tile pieces
- Bulging foundation
Movement of Pier-and-Beam Foundations
In a pier-and-beam foundation, your home sits over a crawlspace rather than a concrete slab. The piers that support the structure may be made of concrete or concrete block. The beams are constructed of treated lumber. Treated lumber lasts longer than untreated lumber but will still deteriorate over time. When moisture gets into the crawlspace it can cause faster deterioration.
When a pier-and-beam foundation moves, you may notice the same signs as the movement of a slab, but there are few more to be added.
- Bouncy floors
- A smell that is damp or musty
- Water sitting in the crawlspace or around the foundation
- Wood in the crawlspace that shows distress
- Termite infestation
When you become aware of these signs of foundation movement, it is time to have a foundation inspection done on your San Antonio home. At Crosstown Engineering, we always recommend that you engage a structural engineer to perform a foundation inspection. They have the extensive training and experience required to determine possible causes of foundation movement. When you hire Crosstown Engineering for your foundation inspection, you can count on a thorough and detailed analysis of the foundation. We can provide recommendations for monitoring or proper repairs.
When Are Foundation Inspections Done?
Will My Home Inspector Perform a Foundation Inspection?
Although a home inspection will include a visual exam of the foundation and look for signs of foundation movement, this is not a true “foundation inspection.” A home inspector will generally note signs of possible foundation movement in their report and may recommend a foundation inspection be done by a professional.
Foundation movement does not always require immediate repair. At times, the recommendation after the foundation inspection will be to monitor the foundation for a period of time to watch for further movement.
Foundation inspections are usually requested in the following situations.
- Signs of foundation movement are found.
- Construction of a new home to verify that foundation follows engineered plans.
- Mortgage lenders often require a foundation inspection before purchase.
- Prior to the 10 year anniversary of a home with a builders 10-year warranty.
- Prior to doing extensive changes to a home like an addition or remodeling.
- Prior to obtaining a permit for foundation repairs.
- After a foundation repair is completed to verify repair plan compliance.
When there has been foundation movement, it can affect the entire structure of your home. Hiring a structural engineer for the foundation inspection and creation of a repair plan is highly recommended.
Do not assume that a foundation repair company is using the services of a structural engineer. Many firms do not. The independent inspection of your foundation by a structural engineer assures property owners that they do not spend money on repairs not needed or repairs that do not address the source of the problem.
Foundation inspection is serious business. Always use a structural engineer. Give Crosstown Engineering a call to schedule your inspection.
What Causes Foundation Movement?
Moisture Can be a Foundation’s Biggest Enemy
Most foundation movement involves the soil under and around the foundation and the moisture content in the soil.
Foundation movement can be attributed to one or more of the following:
- Active soil with high PVR (Potential Vertical Rise)
- Improper design of the foundation
- Foundation not built as per engineered plans
- Leaks from the plumbing system
- Movement caused by shifts of seasonal temperature/moisture
- Fill soil compaction is inadequate
- Plants growing too close to the foundation
- Improper grading of lot for drainage
- Inadequate roof guttering
- Failed foundation repairs done in the past
Selecting a Foundation Inspection Firm in San Antonio
What You Need to Know
Not all foundation inspection firms in San Antonio have a structural engineer that they employ. Foundation repair contractors will often offer foundation inspection services as well as repair. Hiring one firm to complete both the inspection and the repair can leave a property owner vulnerable in a couple of ways.
- Lack of Accountability
With one company completing both the foundation inspection and the foundation repairs, you have no one to verify that the repair solution is the best and most affordable option or even whether repairs are indeed needed.
- Lack of Technical Training
A structural engineer has the education, technical training, and/or professional oversight required for the job. Most foundation repair representatives have very minimal training if any. They are not required to be licensed or tested in San Antonio or Texas.
By selecting a structural engineering firm, you can be assured of an unbiased opinion. Other benefits of hiring a structural engineering firm like Crosstown Engineering for your foundation inspection and development of your repair plan include:
- Oversight by the Board of Engineers
- A foundation inspection report prepared by a structural engineer is considered a legal document. That can be an important distinction when it comes to legal matters and future property transactions.
- For permit purposes, an engineer needs to be engaged for obtaining your foundation repair permit.
- An engineer’s approval also carries more weight when selling or refinancing your home.
- Pier and beam foundations can be complex in determining proper repairs and support needed.
- A trustworthy structural engineer will do forensic engineering to try and determine the possible cause of the foundation movement.
- Local San Antonio engineers, like Crosstown Engineering, can make recommendations to foundation repair firms that they trust to do things right.
Foundation inspections aren’t necessary only prior to repairs. It is vital to have the foundation repairs inspected once they are complete to confirm that the repair contractor followed the engineered foundation repair plan.
What a Foundation Inspection Report Should Tell You
Understanding the Purpose Behind the Foundation Inspection Report
The initial inspection of the foundation after signs of movement are noted should assist a property owner in deciding whether repairs are needed or not. Look for this information on your foundation inspection report.
- It should be a “Level B” foundation inspection report.
- Elevation mapping of the structure should be included.
- Speak to on-site drainage and grading problems.
- Should address any issues with the roof gutter system.
- Diagnose possible causes for the foundation movement.
When foundation repairs are NOT recommended, the report should note either that there is not a problem that needs repair or that additional monitoring is recommended.
With a foundation inspection report prepared by Crosstown Engineering, you can rest assured that your best interests will always be kept in mind. That relates both to the quality of repairs recommended and the most cost-effective means of achieving those repairs. We work for YOU, not the foundation repair company.
Choosing a Foundation Repair Contractor
Ask Us for Our Recommended Contractor List
There are a lot of contractors advertising foundation repair services in the San Antonio area. As a structural engineering firm, we have seen the work of many of these contractors. We have seen what they do right and have even uncovered their mistakes. We encourage our clients to exercise discernment when selecting a foundation repair contractor. Here are some of the reasons why.
- Foundation repair contractors are not required to be licensed in Texas.
- There isn’t any standardized training for foundation repair contractors.
- Most foundation repair companies do not have the training or skills needed to determine the original cause of foundation movement.
- Some foundation contractors become “unavailable” once they are paid.
- It’s easy to offer a “Lifetime Warranty” of a pier, but not every contractor will be around in the future to fulfill that warranty.
- Unfortunately, disreputable contractors are notorious for closing one company, just to reappear on the scene under a different name.
- Everyone loves low prices, but buyer beware. A contractor who doesn’t charge competitive prices might not sustain his business for the length of your warranty.
Take the time to investigate the history and reputation of your foundation repair contractor. If you need help in this area, Crosstown Engineering is happy to recommend contractors to our customers.
Crosstown Engineering – Foundation Inspection Experts in San Antonio
Doing Things the Right Way is the Only Way We Operate
When hiring Crosstown Engineering to inspect your foundation you will get:
- A thorough investigation of the cause of your foundation movement.
- Recommendations for remediation of the problems.
- A transparent and respectful relationship.
- A security of having a structural engineer providing oversight on your project.
For professional foundation inspection, call Crosstown Engineering.