Choosing an Engineer

House Foundation May Need Some Underpinning

foundation_repair_email_iconHere is an email exchange I had recently with a guy who relocated, is new to heavy clay soils and thinks he may be in for a foundation fix.

Subject: Old house, slab foundation, clay soil, big trees, and the drought!

Dear Digger,

My family moved from Columbia, MO to a 21-yr old house in Sugar Land, TX in December 2010. Over the past few months, I have observed and learned big lessons about the house and its foundation, the swell/shrink clay soil in this region, one monstrous oak tree and another two big trees nearby, and the exceptional dry weather condition facing the entire state of Texas. I have a family of seven.

On top of my daily duties, I am feeling overwhelmed by the acuteness of the situation, signified by brick wall crack, pulled away soil, cracked door/window frames, wood siding separation, etc. (more…)

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Foundation Repair-Beware The Pier Salesman

How does the home owner get a fair price on the cost of foundation repair? To begin with,
remember the following rule of thumb.

Foundation repair companies sell piers. The more they sell and the more they can charge you per pier, the bigger the salesman’s commission and the more the company makes.

Be aware that in large metropolitan areas with foundation problems, several companies that do foundation leveling may also own other foundation repair entities.

This means you have a real possibility, without you realizing it, of getting multiple bids from the same company. They just use different names. And the different phone numbers could be going into the same office.

Beware that most every foundation repair contractor has a preferred type of pier.

(more…)

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Link To Foundation Inspection Report Repaired

In 2006 I had my concrete slab foundation inspected by a local structural engineer and wrote about it on this blog. I also scanned his report into a PDF file and posted it. However, in the throes of changing hosting companies the link to this report was broken and remained so for some time.  The link to the inspection report has now been fixed. My apologies for taking so long to do so.

If you’d like to see a sample of the kind of information you should get back when hiring an independent structural engineer to inspect your slab foundation you’ll find the link in this post.

You’ll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report and you can get it here.

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The Smart Way to Use Foundation Repair Coupons

You have the classic signs of concrete slab foundation distress. OK, your house does. Doors and windows don’t work right, you have cracks around the frames or cracks in your brick veneer. You think your foundation is going to need some work. Then you open the mail or the newspaper and there it is. A “valuable coupon” offering a tidy little sum off the foundation repair job.

The fine print says you must present the coupon at the time you receive your free estimate. It also says you only have a couple of weeks to make that call or the coupon expires. What to do?

First, take a deep breath and rest in the knowledge that these coupons will be coming back around every few weeks. Unless you have really sudden and severe damage to your house and foundation you have some time to make an educated choice. (more…)

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Can We See the Foundation Inspection Report?

Oh, all right. I had my concrete slab foundation inspected last month by a structural engineer. The resulting report has drawings, measurements, recommendations and enough engineer talk to make me wish I had a pocket protector and white tape on my glasses. While we are not in danger of the roof falling in about our heads there is work to be done.

I’ve put a link the inspection report on this page which is also listed in the ‘Pages” menu to your left. The report is of course specific to my humble dwelling alone but should give you an idea of what an engineer’s foundation inspection report covers. Enjoy the savory numbers and tasty diagrams.

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