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Proper investigations

Even seasoned professionals can misdiagnose the cause of cracks in drywall, without proper analysis.  I have spoken with hundreds of geotechnical and structural engineers about proper practices for a foundation investigation. I have asked the question if they would be comfortable rendering an opinion and a recommendation for foundation repair on the spot at a one-time visit. Almost without exception none would be comfortable doing it. Yet contractors all across the country, are "shooting from the hip" daily. Over the years, I have gotten to hear many stories of very interesting on the spot repair analysis. One was to simply put a golf ball on the floor and see where it rolls. Another was to take off your shoes and determine from your feet what the problems are. Folks, these are NOT proper foundation problem investigations. So what should be done in a proper investigation?  If we follow the level B investigation as defined by the FPA or the Texas ASCE then a complete topographical analysis overlaid with a damage map followed by a deflection analysis is required. I’m not saying that that could not be done on the spot. However, I think it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming to do so on-site.   Even seasoned professionals can misdiagnose the cause of cracks in drywall, without proper analysis. I have gone to a home and diagnosed the foundation problem in my mind before analyzing the data carefully. Many times after analyzing the data carefully I have discovered my initial opinion was 100% wrong and backwards. I can easily see how misdiagnosis can happen.  Structural damage in a home's foundation is far too important to the health of the home and its inhabitants to allow conclusions to be drawn without proper investigation.

Even seasoned professionals can misdiagnose the cause of cracks in drywall, without proper analysis.

I have spoken with hundreds of geotechnical and structural engineers about proper practices for a foundation investigation. I have asked the question if they would be comfortable rendering an opinion and a recommendation for foundation repair on the spot at a one-time visit. Almost without exception none would be comfortable doing it. Yet contractors all across the country, are "shooting from the hip" daily. Over the years, I have gotten to hear many stories of very interesting on the spot repair analysis. One was to simply put a golf ball on the floor and see where it rolls. Another was to take off your shoes and determine from your feet what the problems are. Folks, these are NOT proper foundation problem investigations. So what should be done in a proper investigation?

If we follow the level B investigation as defined by the FPA or the Texas ASCE then a complete topographical analysis overlaid with a damage map followed by a deflection analysis is required. I’m not saying that that could not be done on the spot. However, I think it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming to do so on-site. 

Even seasoned professionals can misdiagnose the cause of cracks in drywall, without proper analysis. I have gone to a home and diagnosed the foundation problem in my mind before analyzing the data carefully. Many times after analyzing the data carefully I have discovered my initial opinion was 100% wrong and backwards. I can easily see how misdiagnosis can happen.

Structural damage in a home's foundation is far too important to the health of the home and its inhabitants to allow conclusions to be drawn without proper investigation.

 

Conducting a floor elevation survey with a manometerConducting a floor elevation survey with a manometer
If a floor is covered in carpeting in manometer can still be accurate as each measuring stick comes with a sharp point so that you can press down uniformly at each location.

Foundation Misdiagnoses just as common as we thoughtFoundation Misdiagnoses just as common as we thought
I have made the claim that foundation contractors often misdiagnose foundation repairs.

Common Claims made by foundation repair Sales personnelCommon Claims made by foundation repair Sales personnel
As noted in my last blog, foundation sales personnel make some pretty outrageous claims and unfortunately most are made verbally where they cannot be verified, or held accountable for.

Why moisture accumulates under a slab and does not dissipate over timeWhy moisture accumulates under a slab and does not dissipate over time
As noted in my last blog, some foundation sales personnel make some pretty outrageous claims and unfortunately most are made verbally.

One Trick Pony ContractorsOne Trick Pony Contractors
The question for anyone who is inspecting your foundation “what credible training have you received other than your supplier?”

Foundation Repair Projects : Experts vs Engineers (Who are the best?)Foundation Repair Projects : Experts vs Engineers (Who are the best?)
I have on occasion discussed with our customers who have been the victims of overconfident salespeople that have nothing to show for their experience except what they have learned on the job some for a very short time.

Shooting from the Hip on Foundation AnalysisShooting from the Hip on Foundation Analysis
I have asked geotechnical and structural engineers if they would be comfortable rendering an opinion/recommendation for foundation repair on the spot at a one-time visit. Almost without exception, the answer is no.

Foundation Movement : How to judge severityFoundation Movement : How to judge severity
As a homeowner you’re being told that your foundation is moving and needs stabilizing. Your first question is How bad is my foundation movement? For most homeowners the answer to this question is maddeningly elusive.

10 things Homeowners Need to Know in Hiring a Foundation Repair Inspector10 things Homeowners Need to Know in Hiring a Foundation Repair Inspector
Foundation repair for homeowners can be a frightening and intimidating thing. It is impossible for homeowners to become experts in all the things it takes to understand in foundation performance. In addition t

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