Foundation Inspection Experts in The Woodlands
Come to Us When Your Home Foundation Needs Repair
Common Foundation Problems In The Woodlands
The core of a building’s health lies in its foundation. A visual inspection of its entire foundation is a critical piece of its evaluation. Issues can be discovered by several “tell-tale” symptoms. Structural issues can require urgent repair, especially if not caught early. It’s advisable to build good diagnostic skills in order to ensure that the foundation remains in good standing.
Not all foundations are built identically – a lot of thoughtful consideration goes into the “workhorse” of each individual building. Foundations can range widely in response to local climate and architectural styles. In The Woodlands, TX, two specific types of foundations are common: slab or pier-and-beam styles. When evaluating the condition of these two foundations, there are some “rules of thumb” to keep in mind.
This is the most common type in Texas. Slab foundation buildings are quite literal with their description – the entire structure rests directly on a poured concrete slab. There is no crawlspace underneath. This type of construction is simple, durable, and preferred by most Texan builders.
When evaluating a slab foundation, keep an eye out for cracks. That is by far the biggest red flag that something is potentially amiss.
Common Slab Symptoms
- Visible slab cracks
- Indoor drywall cracks
- Ceiling drywall cracks
- Sticking doors that don’t close
- Visible cracks in exterior brick
- Exterior door and window trim separations
- Bulging foundation slab
While less common, some The Woodlands homes and buildings do have a crawl space thanks to a pier-and-beam foundation. With this style, there are horizontal wooden beams underneath the main building’s structure. The beams rest on vertical towers of concrete or cement blocks. The entire structure is held off the ground underneath, which is where the crawlspace is located.
The wooden beams, although constructed to meet strict quality standards, can still deteriorate over time. Storms that abruptly introduce moisture intrusion or retention issues to a building is a common example of where unexpected damage can come from that will accelerate the deterioration. Monitoring the condition of the wood is important in this style of foundation.
Common issues associated with the pier-and-beam foundation include the same symptoms for a slab foundation since there are still components that are concrete. The addition of wood beams in this foundation design adds wear and tear concerns specific to wood to a caretaker’s list.
Key Symptoms for Wood Foundations
- Weak or sagging floors
- Musty, damp odor
- Standing water underneath the structure
- Cracked, twisted or deteriorated wooden beams underneath the structure
An isolated instance or a combination of these problems can indicate a serious problem with the structural health of your home or building. A professional structural engineer from Crosstown Engineering can perform a foundation inspection and recommend any needed repairs. Our foundation inspection engineers physically examine every accessible location, including crawlspaces, in order to make an accurate evaluation of your foundation’s condition.
Call Crosstown Engineering today if you suspect there are problems with your foundation.
Circumstances that Warrant a Foundation Inspection
Foundation Inspections and Home Inspections
Those who are unfamiliar with home and structural or foundation inspections are often confused about the nature of each. The “standard” home inspection most of us are familiar with will typically look for evidence of foundation problems and will indicate any findings in the final report. However, this is not a full foundation inspection.
If any foundation problems are discovered or suspected by the home inspector, he or she will recommend calling a structural engineering firm like Crosstown Engineering to perform a complete foundation inspection.
It should be clarified that not all foundation problems require repair. In some instances, simply monitoring the foundation professionally over time is all that is needed. Any further deterioration will be detected, and repairs may be recommended when appropriate.
Common Reasons To Inspect a Foundation
- Symptoms of obvious foundation problems
- Verification of proper foundation construction in a new home build
- New home purchase (as requested by a lender)
- Any buying/selling activity on a home within its 10-year builder’s warranty timeframe
- Before major additions or renovations
- Before beginning foundation repairs
- Post foundation repairs (to verify that the repair plan was carried out properly)
It is important to note that a structural engineer should always be involved in the foundation evaluation and repair planning processes. Only a licensed and experienced structural engineer has the knowledge and training to properly inspect and plan for repairs to a structure’s foundation. Companies that do not use a structural engineer in these operations risk making costly and ineffective repairs.
Call Crosstown Engineering for professional, trustworthy foundation inspections and other structural inspection services.
Determining The Woodlands Foundation Problems
Conditions that Cause Foundations to Fail
Soil and its moisture content is the most common source of foundation issues. Among the many conditions that can cause a foundation to develop problems or fail, almost all involve the underlying soil and moisture content.
Examples can include:
- The foundation was built upon poor soil types
- Plumbing leaks cause the soil to move beneath the foundation
- Seasonal movement leads to permanent changes in the foundation
- Improper compaction of fill dirt
- Guttering and drainage problems
- Previous foundation repairs were completed improperly
- Vegetation growing too close to the foundation
- Poor foundation design
- Foundation construction contrary to the design
Contracting the Best Foundation Inspection Firm
Who Can You Trust in The Woodlands?
Trusting a company to evaluate your foundation is a big step. Their credentials should meet or exceed your expectations to build and maintain that trust.
It is prudent to keep in mind that some states do not require foundation repair companies to be officially licensed. Texas is one of those states. Consequently, many “foundation specialist” companies perform foundation inspections without any true engineering expertise.
This is problematic for two reasons:
- It is a conflict of interest if the same company is doing the inspection and the repairs because there is no accountability for inadequate work or negligence.
- Only a registered engineering firm can have the education, training, and technical expertise that is required to render an accurate and reliable foundation inspection report.
Independent engineering companies are the superior choice. When you choose an independent engineering company like Crosstown Engineering, you are assured that only the most advanced and proven engineering practices are included in your foundation repair plan.
Crosstown Engineering offers:
● Board of Engineers guaranteed accountability
● “Legal Document-level” Services
o A Crosstown Engineering foundation inspection report is a legal document, and our professional evaluations are accepted as valid before a court of law and with real estate and loan professionals.
● Permit Enablement Services
o An engineering report is required to open and close permits and verify that the work was completed according to plan. This is true when selling a building, obtaining a loan, or dealing with contractors.
● Licensed Engineering Evaluations
o Only a trained engineer knows the proper dimensions, support, and spacing that are required for pier-and-beam foundations with crawlspaces.
o Only an engineer can discern the causes of foundational problems and create a plan for repairs that will prevent a reoccurrence.
● Professional Network Referral Services
o Crosstown Engineering only recommends the most reputable area foundation repair companies with dependable records for quality and reliability.
It is IMPERATIVE to only trust a licensed engineering firm to physically inspect a foundation after repairs have been completed. This is the only way to completely verify that the repair was completed with competence, or if further work is required.
Understanding a Foundation Inspection Report
An Engineer is an Investment for the Future
Curious about what to expect in our professional inspection reports? The first foundation inspection, or “initial inspection,” seeks to determine if foundation repairs are necessary. The standard foundation inspection report should:
- Comply with a “Level B” foundation inspection report
- Include elevation mapping
- Cover on-site guttering or drainage problems
- Spell out the root causes of any foundation problems
In the event that foundation repairs are NOT recommended, the report should clearly reveal that fact, or recommend further monitoring.
This level of honesty contained in the report is in your best interest. Crosstown Engineering works for you, our client, NOT foundation repair companies. We are beholden to no one, and our client’s best interests are the primary concern. That’s why you can trust our foundation reports and any repair recommendations we offer.
Contracting the Best Foundation Repair Firm
Trust the Word of a Structural Engineer
Crosstown Engineering does not perform foundation repairs, but we have seen firsthand the work of numerous The Woodlands, Texas foundation repair companies. We have inspected many foundations that required repairs despite being worked on by repair companies. Our engineers have witnessed the very best and the very worst in this business. As a result, we recommend caution when choosing a foundation repair contractor. Here are some important reasons why:
- Texas foundation repair companies are not required to obtain a license.
- Texas requires no experience or training for companies that perform inspections or repairs.
- Without engineering credentials, a foundation repair company cannot understand how to identify the cause of foundation problems.
- Unethical repair contractors may avoid contact if issues arise after the final payment.
- Any pier warranty offered is only good for the life of the company, and many inferior foundation repair companies do not last.
- It is not an uncommon practice for unethical repair companies to go “out of business” and then begin working with a new company name to avoid accountability.
Crosstown Engineering is always pleased to offer a list of reliable foundation repair contractors for our clients.
Crosstown Engineering – Foundation Inspection Experts
We Only do Things One Way – the Right Way
Crosstown Engineering guarantees:
- A thorough assessment to identify all outstanding issues and their root cause
- Professional analysis of all possible remedies for any identified foundation problems.
- Honest, transparent, and respectful communication on all matters relating to your project.
- A registered structural engineer will always oversee all foundation inspections and repair plans.
When you need reputable, dependable foundation inspections and repair plans, call Crosstown Engineering.