If you hire an engineer to complete an analysis on your home foundation slab. Then it could help you make heads or tails of what the foundation repair contractors are telling you is the solution to correcting the foundation problems. The question for most homeowner’s is what type of engineering firm or company do we hire to provide us with a useful report?
Hiring a Structural Engineer to Provide Foundation Analysis
Here is a typical real life example of a homeowner trying to get answers on how to figure out the best course of action on repairing a home foundation before the structural cost escalate beyond control.
A woman finds herself helping her mother who has owned her house for over twenty years put together a game plan on fixing the foundation. Mom’s house is built on a concrete slab, which is the traditional method for home builders over the last sixty years on Southeast Texas and surrounding areas. You very seldom see any homes build with basements or crawl spaces. Although there are quite a few homes in Houston and Dallas that were build on blocks or pier and beam.
The daughter noticed over a number of years how the the perimeter of the inside of the house, there is about a 1 to 1 1/2 inch ‘ledge’. This lead the daughter to suspect there is settlement issues which is causing a sinking foundation.
The daughter suggested to her mother to contact a foundation repair contractor to check the elevation levels of the home and provide an estimate on the cost to make the repairs. The daughters suspicion unfortunately was confirmed and the cost estimate was north of $15,000 to lift the house using pushed piers. When every you are looking at making improvements or repairs to your home. Whether it is for a roof replacement or changing out your floors. You should seek an estimate from three to five reputable contracting companies in the area.You may need to figure out how much ready mix concrete cost per yard in Houston in case you need to have new footings poured too.
The daughters mother was not satisfied with the contractors assessment of the problem or the price tag he set to make it right. She got it in her mind not to take any corrective action on the structural damage before she had the opinion of an engineer.
Should You Hire A Structural Engineer to Inspect Your Foundation?
That prior statement is a good tell tale sign on the type of engineer you want to hire. Your home foundation is constructed primarily of concrete. The thickness of the concrete is going to range between 4 inches and 12 inches. A lot of times the foundation is designed in such a way to be able to support the weight or load bearing weight of the home. Framed exterior and interior walls, joist, rafters, wood or steel beams, doors, roof, shingles, roof decking, drywall, brick or veneer siding and the list goes on and on.
All this weight is spread across the entire slab. The home builder will usually work with an engineer to properly design the concrete foundation slab to include footings and beams. The beams may be 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide and include reinforcing rebar all tied together to strengthen the support of the home. In other cases, the home may have piers drilled 36″ or deeper depending on the type of soil. So you see there was an engineer hired in the planning of the home’s foundation. It may be a good idea to hire a structural engineer to help you determine what is needed to provide further support for your home.
These licensed engineers will provide a report on the condition of the soil beneath the home. They’ll evaluate the drainage system or the lack thereof in and around the home. They take into factor the weather conditions for the last several year’s (e.g. a lot of rain or has the area experienced a long drought period).
The soil beneath a person’s home may naturally settle or become displaced due to weather conditions, broken water or sewer pipe beneath the home, over grown roots, roots causing damage to under slab plumbing, etc. These type conditions can lead to the house leaning, cracked or bowing walls, doors and windows not opening or shutting properly, cracks in the wall or around windows, stair step cracks in the exterior or fireplace brick.
Have a Foundation Crack? Consult a Structural Engineer
Hiring a structural engineer before you hire a Houston Foundation Repair Company is a good idea for most homeowner’s if your budget allows. This is an additional expense for the homeowner. The comforting news at this point is these firms provide an objective evaluation of the problem and recommend the most effective and financially sound repair solution, which could save the homeowner a convincingly amount of money.
If you need more information similar to what you just read on this blog post. We strongly recommend you start calling around town for a structural engineer with a strong in depth knowledge of foundation repair and the different methods being offered by local contractors. It doesn’t hurt to get two or three free foundation repair estimates from local companies before you decide to hire the engineering firm. That way you have a few different “opinions” from the repair experts on their recommendations for how to fix the problem. You can review these estimates with your engineer as he outlines his final analysis. It is a good idea to talk to a reputable plumbing contractor that has a good working relationship with excavation contractors in Houston. If you learn you need to repair broken water pipes underneath your home slab. You may want to hire a plumber and/or a company tunnel under the slab versus breaking up your flooring to reach the pipes to fix your plumbing problems.
You should consider consulting with commercial fencing contractors if you need to build a privacy chain link fence around the perimiter of your business property. Protect your assets and protect yourself from unwanted people entering your property and causing harm to themselves or others.