Have you noticed that lately the doors are sticking, or there’s an unusual amount of moisture in your crawl space or basement? Are you observing cracks in the foundation that weren’t there before? Do you feel that the entire house is leaning to one side? These scary symptoms may be pointing to a flaw in your home’s foundation or the soil beneath it. Luckily, most such faults can be resolved with timely professional assistance.
A building’s foundation is an integral part of the structure. It transfers the weight of the building to the soil, braces the building against environmental forces, and acts as a barrier to ground moisture.
For a foundation to perform well and last long, its design must be tailored to the site conditions, and the soil on which it rests needs to be stable. If these two requirements are not met, foundations may deteriorate and lose their structural integrity over time. There are several ways for foundation defects to manifest themselves. If you notice any of the anomalies described below, your home’s foundation may need a professional assessment to prevent further damage.
Foundations are designed to rest on soil, and their ability to support the building relies on the soil’s stability. When homes are built on unstable soils that shift or go through significant expansion/contraction cycles due to changes in moisture content, foundations may sink or upheave. This condition may cause the house to slant to one side.
If you suspect that your home is settling, use a level to verify your hunch. Place the instrument on a window sill, door casing, or any other horizontal surface that should run parallel to the ground. If the test shows that your home is unlevel, you don’t have much time to waste: the longer you wait the less safe your home will be, and the more your repairs will cost as the issue progresses. Call a structural engineer to evaluate your foundation and issue a foundation engineering report without delay.
This defect may also occur due to shifting, expanding or contracting soil, but poor site drainage is another likely culprit. When rainwater doesn’t drain from the site, it accumulates in the soil and gradually begins to exert pressure on structures below grade. A foundation’s concrete walls that are subjected to extreme hydrostatic pressure may develop cracks. You may notice these cracks along the foundation walls. If you have a basement, you may observe cracks with water leaking through them. If you become aware of this issue, the best course of action is to get a professional assessment of the home’s foundation.
If a foundation settles, shifts or breaks due to soil movement, the entire structure of a home may become out of level. When this condition occurs, the floors in the home often sag. If your home has a slab-on-grade and the soil beneath it shifts, sinks, or rises, the concrete is likely to crack in response to the movement. Either scenario is an indicator of serious soil issues and requires professional evaluation.
Crooked and sticking doors may be a nuisance to deal with, but more importantly, they point to the house being out of balance. If you encounter this anomaly in your home, it’s probably because the foundation has shifted, sunk, or upheaved.
If you observe any of the indicators described above, chances are that your home’s foundation and structure are in trouble, either due to poor soil properties or inadequate drainage. Now is the time to take action to protect your home from expensive and potentially irreparable damage. First, get a licensed structural or civil engineer to perform an inspection and provide you with a foundation engineering report.
A foundation engineering report is typically based on a visual inspection of the home’s substructure - the portion of the structure located below grade. During the inspection, the engineer will:
To pinpoint the problem accurately, and to recommend a suitable course of action, the engineer has to consider several factors beyond what’s visually obvious. For example, the age of the building and the type of construction may contribute to the issue. The type of soil upon which the building stands is of equal importance, and in certain severe cases, a geotechnical report may be needed to gain a full understanding of the soil conditions. Invasive investigative methods, on the other hand, are rarely employed as their high costs seldom justify the findings.
Once the issue affecting the foundation is identified, the engineer may propose an appropriate rectification measure. For example, inadequately drained sites may need a new grading design. Sunken foundations may be raised and/or replaced if the concrete is structurally compromised. Areas where the soil had settled, may be filled with new concrete. Cracked slabs may likewise be replaced, depending on the severity of the cracks. With either scenario, the earlier the problem is identified, the less extensive the repairs will be.
If you’re finding signs of foundation problems in your home, we’re here to help. Our experienced engineers will visually assess the conditions and issue a foundation engineering report, which will pinpoint flaws and recommend ways to fix them. Contact us at (877) 892-0292 or email@example.com to discuss your project and receive a quote today.
Design Everest is OPEN! We work remotely and are fully committed to taking on and delivering projects.
Design Everest’s remote working model can safely take-up and deliver your projects within the current government guidelines on COVID-19 (a.k.a Coronavirus). This applies to many of our project scopes, including architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, and construction administration across California.
Design Everest is set up to remotely leverage digital platforms (virtual meetings, calls, emails etc.) in client-facing and internal operations. Over the years, we have advanced this ability to the extent that we can continue supporting new and existing clients across many of our projects. Even projects that need an on-site visit can be fulfilled safely via video calls or in-person visits, where permitted.
Note that the present government guidelines permit the delivery of essential services, including those related to construction.
YES, Design Everest's remote working model enables us to work safely with all clients, suppliers, industry partners, and internal staff as per government guidelines.
Design Everest can still support many of our types of projects (new or ongoing) safely. For example, new custom homes, accessory dwelling units, civil plans etc. We are committed to delivering these remotely and safely as per the current government guidelines. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable/unavailable, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you posted on it and try their best to keep your plans in-progress.
YES, our remote working model enables us to be fully committed to ongoing projects. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable, unavailable or unsafe, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you updated and try their best to keep your plans in-progress. If an on-site visit is not feasible via a video call, we will try our best to fulfill the visit safely, where permitted.
Some of our clients are already going ahead with their projects with us via video calls or virtual meetings. Your assigned Customer Success Manager or Project Manager is happy to help you with this, where needed.
There are multiple reasons for this. It's typical to plan the construction step in the summer. So, clients get started on the pre-construction steps (architecture, engineering, and construction admin) in winter or spring to stick to planned timelines.
Projects such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Additions/Remodels enable clients to rent/resale and generate revenue. Meanwhile, many clients are concerned about protecting their families and businesses against earthquakes by retrofitting their homes and buildings. These are just a few of the various reasons why it’s still reasonable for clients to stick to their construction plans.
Feel free to phone us at (888) 311-3015 Alternatively, you may contact your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager directly via phone, email or virtual meetings.
To summarize, Design Everest is OPEN and able to serve new and existing clients, affiliates, suppliers, and industry partners.
Stay safe and rest assured that Design Everest can help you go ahead with your plans as per the recommended safety guidelines!