In my last blog, I talked about the problem in the foundation repair industry of recognizing and dealing with expansive soils in an honest and productive way. I discussed that the symptoms for both heave and settlement look very similar from just walking around and looking at the house. The fact that there are so many homes with heave that go misdiagnosed seems to fly under the radar and not get much attention. This is amazing considering that it is a $55 billion a year industry in North America and much of that is wasted on the wrong solution. In dry climates like Arizona, the number is staggeringly high. We see at least 80% of the homes that we encounter some form of heave from expansive soils.
So lets look at why underpinning the common accepted solution for settlement is the wrong thing to do for homes that have heave from expansive soils. Take a look at the picture below.
Now lets look at the heave from expansive soils.
You can easily see that underpinning a home with heave from expansive soils is not only of no value…. It is actually counterproductive…. putting stress on the structural components.
So is this a problem? Thousands of homeowners are unknowingly being bilked into paying for this across the country because they have no idea of these concepts and don’t know how to tell the difference between heave and settlement. And as pointed out the foundation repair contractors are not motivated to really distinguish between the two conditions because by identifying it they now have to admit that they are providing the a wrong solution that has no value and is counterproductive…… and if they are honest will go home hungry that day with nothing of value to offer the homeowner.
So after this brief detour, on my next blog I will discuss how to successfully identify home heave from expansive soils verses settlement.