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Rules of Thumb: Diagnosing Foundation Problems, part I

RoT Blog Graphic 1In thinking about our process of analyzing and interpreting the data gathered from our engineering team, it became clear to me that even though the process is understood by our team, the rules are not clearly laid out. It seems the industry has never laid out any of these rules either. So accordingly in the next few blogs I will attempt to elucidate rules of thumb that can be used in this process and their explanations.

One of the defining principles that sets us apart from our competitors is our constant desire to remove subjectivity out of the interpretation of data and its analyzation in arriving at recommendations for foundation repair. We realize that there is an inherent conflict of interest between the contractor and the homeowner in arriving at fair recommendations. We want to go over and above in making sure that our recommendations are objective and fair.

By laying down principles that we can all see, it brings more transparency and more accountability to the process. Of course with any process and especially the process involving soils, there are many unknowns and many exceptions to just about every rule of thumb. Accordingly the rules that I will be discussing are more of guidelines than hard and fast rules.

A summary of the rules of thumb are given below

  • Determine from all known sources what the in situ soil composition is
  • Determine historical moisture patterns
  • Determine how existing landscape conditions affect the home
  • Understand the foundation type and its reaction to soil forces
  • Factor in the age of the home and how that time interacts with the soil/foundation movement
  • Signs of stress, locations, and types of stress
  • Floor level survey and its interpretation
  • Understand how to interpret how the signs of stress interact with the floor level survey

In my following blogs, I will take each of these rules and discuss them in further detail!


Click here to read Rules of Thumb in Diagnosing Foundation Problems II.  To return to the main Foundation Inspections page, click here.


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