Your Park Cites Foundation Inspection Experts
Does Your Home Foundation Need Repair?
What You Need to Know About Foundation Problems
Several signs can indicate that there may be a problem with your foundation. Many of these signs are symptoms of structural problems that may require repair.
There are two types of foundations commonly used in The Park Cities, Texas, slab foundations and pier-and-beam foundations. Here are some of the most common signs of foundation problems noticed with each type.
If your home or building does not have a crawlspace underneath, it is safe to assume that it was constructed on a slab foundation. Most homes in The Park Cities have a concrete slab foundation, but not all. Builders generally prefer this type of foundation because of its simple construction and durability when compared to a pier-and-beam foundation.
If there are problems with your slab foundation, you may see some of these signs:
- Visible cracks in the foundation
- Drywall cracking or separations
- Ceiling sheetrock cracking or separations
- Doors that don’t close properly
- Brick cracks or separations
- Exterior trim separations near windows or garage doors
- Cracks in the tile
- Bulging foundation
If your home has a crawlspace underneath it, the foundation is likely to be a pier-and-beam foundation. Treated lumber beams connect with “piers” of concrete or concrete block(s). Wood, even when treated, will deteriorate with time. Moisture issues in the crawlspace can accelerate that deterioration.
Signs of foundation problems for the pier-and-beam foundation in The Park Cities homes include the same symptoms listed under the slab foundation plus these additional possibilities:
- Give in the floors (bouncy)
- Musty smell
- Standing water in the crawlspace or the perimeter of the foundation
- Cracked, twisted, or deteriorated wood in the crawlspace
- Termite issues
If you have noticed any combination of these issues in your home or building, it would be wise to contact a structural engineer like Crosstown Engineering to perform a foundation inspection and provide recommendations on repairs. With Crosstown, we promise to physically examine every accessible location in your crawlspace. Not every foundation inspector will do that.
When to Request a Foundation Inspection
Is a Foundation Inspection Performed in a Home Inspection?
It is a common misconception that a foundation inspection is included in a standard home inspection. This is not accurate. During a home inspection in the Park Cities, the home inspector will look for evidence of foundation problems and should call them out in their report.
At that point, a structural engineering firm may be requested to determine if there are structural problems with the foundation. Not all foundation problems require repair. In some cases, the foundation will simply need to be monitored over time for evidence of further deterioration. Below are the most common situations when a foundation inspection may be requested.
- When symptoms of foundation problems appear.
- During new home construction to verify that foundation design was constructed properly.
- Prior to purchasing a home (lender may require it as well).
- When selling or buying a home less than 10 years old (before builder warranty expires).
- Before renovations such as additions, window and door replacements, etc.
- Before a foundation repair to create an engineered repair plan and obtain a permit.
- After a foundation repair to verify that the repair plan was carried out properly.
Keep in mind that Park Cities foundation problems should always involve a structural engineer in the evaluation process and repair planning process. Many foundation repair companies do not use the services of a structural engineer for foundation inspection or repair planning. Without the expertise of a structural engineer, property owners run the risk of paying for repairs that are ineffective or more expensive than necessary.
Don’t trust your Park Cities foundation inspection to anyone other than a licensed structural engineer. Give Crosstown Engineering a call.
Causes of Foundation Problems
Understanding What Causes Foundations to Fail
Several conditions can create foundation issues. Almost all foundation issues stem from the interaction of expansive soil and the foundation as moisture content changes within the soil.
Foundation problems can be caused one or more of the following conditions:
- The foundation is built upon “active soil” with high PVR (Potential Vertical Rise)
- Bad foundation design
- Foundation construction that is not in compliance with the design
- Plumbing leaks that cause soils to heave beneath the slab foundation
- Seasonal movement leading to permanent changes in the foundation
- Improper compaction of fill soil
- Vegetation close to the foundation
- Drainage and guttering issues
- Previous foundation repairs completed improperly
Hiring a Foundation Inspection Company in The Park Cities
How Do You Know Who to Trust?
You might assume that all foundation inspection companies are engineering firms. Many foundation repair companies (who are not required to be licensed) will also perform foundation inspections, but are not a registered engineering firm. This leaves you, the property owner, vulnerable on two counts.
- If the same company is doing the inspection and the repairs, there is no accountability to protect you from inadequate repair recommendations or negligent implementation of repair plans.
- Someone that does not work for a registered engineering firm does not have the educational background, professional training or technical oversight that an individual needs to competently complete your foundation inspection report.
By hiring an independent engineering company, you avoid that conflict of interest and have the assurance that the repair plan is designed and performed according to solid engineering practices. There are several other benefits of hiring a registered engineering firm like Crosstown Engineering to inspect the foundation and prepare the repair plan:
- Accountability with the Board of Engineers
- Our foundation inspection report is a legal document, and our reports hold weight in the courtroom and with loan agents and real estate agents.
- An engineering report is needed to open and close permits and to provide proof that the work was completed correctly (when selling, obtaining a loan, or otherwise holding contractors accountable).
- Engineers understand what spacing, sizing, and support are needed for foundations with crawlspaces.
- An engineer can identify the root causes and create a plan to correct them, so the problem doesn’t recur in the future.
- Our engineers can refer you to reputable foundation repair companies that have a proven track record.
You should ALWAYS have an engineering firm physically inspect the foundation after the repair is complete to verify that the repair was completed competently and/or indicate if adjustments are needed.
What to Expect in a Foundation Inspection Report
How Hiring an Engineer Can Save You Money in the Long Run
The first inspection of the foundation is often referred to as the “initial inspection.” Its purpose is to determine if foundation repairs are needed or not. A standard foundation inspection report of your Park Cities home should fit these parameters:
- Generally comply with a “Level B” foundation inspection report
- Provide elevation mapping
- Address on-site drainage or guttering issues
- Address the root causes creating the foundation problems
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.
Hiring a Foundation Repair Company
Get Your Recommendations from a Structural Engineer
At Crosstown Engineering, we have seen the work of many foundation repair companies in, and near, The Park Cities, Texas. We do not perform foundation repair, but we inspect foundations needing repair and those that have been repaired. We have seen the great work of reputable contractors (and have caught their mistakes) and, unfortunately, also seen the disastrous work of contractors whom you would never want to hire. Here is a list of reasons to be cautious in your choice of a foundation repair contractor.
- Foundation repair contractors do not need to be licensed in Texas.
- No experience or training is required for them to perform inspections or repairs.
- Many foundation repair companies do not understand how to identify the root cause of foundation issues properly.
- Low quality companies may ignore the phone calls of clients after final payment is made.
- The “Lifetime Warranty” of the pier is only good for the life of the company. Foundation repair companies go “out-of-business” regularly.
- Contractors can go “out of business” and start up under a new company name because there is no financial accountability when they close a business.
- The lower the price of the pier, the less likely there will be long-term support of their warranty.
Always check with a reputable engineer regarding the history and reputation of a foundation repair contractor you are considering for your project. Crosstown Engineering happily provides a list of reliable foundation repair contractors for our clients.
Crosstown Engineering – Foundation Inspection Experts
We Only Do Things One Way – The Right Way
When you hire Crosstown Engineering for your foundation inspection, you can count on:
- Thorough assessment to identify the cause and all possible remedies for the issues.
- Communication that is transparent, detailed and respectful.
- A registered structural engineer oversees all foundation inspections and repair plans.
When you want things done right, call Crosstown Engineering.