“Foundation Repair Manual” Review

There are not that many books out there on the subject of foundation repair. I’ve read this one and now have a pretty good grasp from the homeowner’s perspective on the care and feeding of my concrete slab foundation.

“Foundation Repair Manual” by Robert Wade Brown not only has valuable material for civil and structural engineers, geotechnicians, architects, contactors, developers and serious engineering students, but also realtors, home inspectors, appraisers, lenders, insurers, and homeowners like me.

There is a brief history of foundations and a little bit on basic foundation design, but the primary focus of the book is on the “lightly loaded” or residential foundation built on expansive clay soils.

For homeowners, and those involved in inspecting, appraising, buying and selling real estate, there are great tips on how to spot foundation distress and steps to prevent it.

Contractors are taught how to estimate repair costs and different repair methods are discussed including mudjacking and underpinning with piers.

If you are an engineer or engineering student, go ahead and bask in the many tables, formulas and data sets that were, frankly, way over my head. There are many, many engineering literature references cited that should help the serious student explore the topics raised in greater depth. You know, stuff like soil mechanics, PSI load strengths of concrete and skin friction. The author was an engineer and he speaks your language.

I think the drawings and diagrams are well done and help you visualize the material. Sadly, the photographs are not very good.

For homeowners and realtors, the tips on how to choose an engineer to inspect a foundation and how to pick contractors to repair it are nice and clear. There are good tips on how to tell if your foundation is showing signs of distress and things you can do to prevent and reverse further damage. Home inspectors and appraisers will learn how to spot the signs of cosmetic cover-ups done in attempts to hide the results of foundation movement.

The writing is a little dry, but after all it was written by an engineer and probably edited by lawyers. However, it is packed with information. If you are a homeowner with a concrete slab foundation on expansive clay soils and possibly facing foundation repair, this book will make you a smarter consumer.

Foundation Repair Manual by Robert Wade Brown was published by McGraw-Hill who now declares it out of print. You can probably find it in your better libraries or Ebay.


  1. Hi there While searching for Blogs about residential estate appraisers I found your site “Foundation Repair Manual” Review. Thank you for the effort you have put in. Gulf to Bay Appraisals

  2. I just bought the book on e-bay. Thanks!


    • Gary Williams
    • September 8, 2011

    Thanks for the review! I found a used copy on abebooks.com for $38…there are a number of print-on-demand companies on that site selling new copies for $50 and up. I didn’t check eBay, but that may give you a basis for comparing costs there and other sites.


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