Foundation Repair Experts
When to Schedule a Foundation Inspection
Foundation issues can jeopardize the structural integrity of a home and cause roofing issues, plumbing leaks and functional use of windows and doors (sometimes very expensive and irreversible issues). It is important to know the signs of foundation problems when considering the purchase of a home, or when these signs appear in your current home. It is also critical to understand that these symptoms may or may not be caused by your foundation. The following are possible signs of foundation movement:
- Ground floor not level
- Humps in the floor
- Tile cracks spanning several tiles
- Concrete spalling
- Cracks in concrete foundation
- Cracks in brick exterior
- Drywall and ceiling cracking/separations
- Doors open and close on their own
- Doors sticking, difficult to close
- Flooring gaps
- Windows out of plumb
- Crooked cabinets
It is critical to remember that not all foundation issues require repair. Many times, monitoring the foundation movement over time is recommended rather than immediate repair. Before any repairs are done, you should first have a Level B foundation inspection. With this thorough inspection, the type we provide at Crosstown Engineering, you gain an independent, professional opinion on your foundation and what repairs are needed, if any.
Hiring a Foundation Inspection Company
Why Choose a Structural Engineer for Foundation Inspections?
There are some foundation repair companies that offer “free” foundation inspections. This sounds good, but sometimes, the commissioned sales representative isn’t providing solutions in the best interest of the homeowner or home buyer. We always recommend that you hire two separate entities, one to do the inspection and another to perform the repairs.
When you hire Crosstown Engineering or another structural engineer to perform your 3rd-party foundation inspection, you can be confident that the report is unbiased and won’t recommend repairs that may not be needed. Here are some of the other benefits you receive when hiring a structural engineer from Crosstown Engineering to inspect your foundation:
- The engineering firm doesn’t profit from recommending repairs and is educated, professionally trained and accountable to the Board of Engineers
- An engineering firm will work to find a solution to remediate the cause of the foundation movement rather than only providing structural repair (contractors don’t always address the root causes)
- Assurance that the foundation repair plan has been properly engineered
- Can inspect repairs to confirm they were done correctly
- The opinion of an engineer can be critical when selling your home
- Use of a manometer (ziplevel), which is more accurate than a typical contractor’s level
- A keen eye to determine if the performance of a Leak Detection Test is necessary
- Can offer opinions on multiple repair options
- Extensive experience with pier and beam foundations
- Will crawl the space under the home at the beginning of the inspection
- Can recommend reputable foundation repair contractors
- Mortgage companies may require a foundation report signed by an engineer
A structural engineer has the training and tools necessary to determine the degree of foundation movement, the potential causes of the movement and recommended remediation methods that are properly engineered and cost effective.
Selecting the Right Foundation Repair Contractor
Signs of a Reputable Contractor
Crosstown Engineering has worked with many different foundation repair contractors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We have also inspected foundation repairs that have failed after completion. We are happy to recommend foundation repair companies that perform consistent, quality work for their clients. Here are some of the things we look for in choosing a foundation repair company:
- They welcome the oversight of an engineer on their projects
- They offer a foundation repair warranty
- They have longevity that you can count on in the future
- They are financially solvent and do not deeply discount repairs
- They have recommendations from local structural engineers
- They have experience completing the type of repairs needed
- They always have their work checked by an ethical engineering company
Different Foundation Repair Methods
Understanding Foundation Repair Pros and Cons
There are usually two goals in foundation repair – one is to prevent further movement of the foundation, and the other is to restore the foundation to its original position through leveling techniques, if possible. The type of foundation and the causes of the foundation movement or deterioration are key factors in determining which foundation repair method(s) to employ. Here are some of the most common foundation repair techniques.
This is one of the most economical and popular foundation repair systems used in this area of Texas. Besides affordability, pressed piles have the advantage of being adjustable and allowing for movement in the soil. They have a higher warranty-rate because they cannot be pressed as deep in the ground as steel. However, because of the cost-feasibility of the solution, it is a strong option.
Steel Pipe Piles
Steel pipe piles can be double the cost of pressed piles. In addition, steel pipe piles do not allow for any downward movement. If the soil under the whole building shrinks, you can end up having high points over time where the steel pipe piles are located. Some systems cannot be adjusted by anyone except the company that installed them because of the specialized systems used – this can prove to be a limitation.
Drilled piers are a good perimeter pier solution for slabs that are weak. They also perform well in many types of soil. However, drilled piers cannot be used for interior support of a slab because of special limitations of equipment and do come with a significant price tag. If the drilled piers fail for any reason, they cannot be repaired. They must be completely replaced.
Spread Footings/Block and Base
These foundation repair systems are used for pier and beam foundations to add support to the wood beams. Again, proper sizing and installation are essential when using these foundation repair methods. Moisture can negatively affect block and base repairs.
A good choice for interior slight lifts for brittle, unreinforced concrete slabs like those commonly found in many homes built in the 1960s. It is critical that you use an experienced foam injection provider, as improper applications can cause multiple problems. It should be used for interior lifting of the slab only, not on the perimeter of the slab. It is a temporary solution but is not as invasive as interior pilings.
At Crosstown Engineering, we do not recommend mud jacking as a lifting solution for a slab. This application is best used to simply fill a void. It can be difficult to control the flow of the mud with the accuracy needed for lifting a slab.
Why Do Some Foundation Repairs Fail?
Understanding Foundation Maintenance Systems
There are really four primary reasons for foundation failure after repairs have been made
- The foundation repair plan was not properly engineered, because a structural engineer was not involved in the oversight.
- The foundation repair company did not follow the foundation repair plan during construction.
- The foundation repair was not inspected by an engineer upon completion.
- Proper testing and maintenance were not performed following the completion of the repairs.
Numbers one through three can be avoided by hiring a structural engineering firm to perform the initial foundation inspection to create the repair plan and oversee the repairs and do a final inspection when the repairs are complete. Number four is up to the property owner, who should have been informed on the testing and maintenance required by the engineer.
Crosstown Engineering – Foundation Repair Experts
Hire a Structural Engineer for Foundation Repair Recommendations
Hiring Crosstown Engineering to do your foundation inspection and provide recommendations on repair methods and repair contractors will give you peace of mind. You will have the assurance that you received the right solution for your situation.
Call us today with your questions about the symptoms of foundation movement that you have noticed.