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3 Steps to Assessing Your Home's Structural Integrity

Posted by Scott Zurn, P.E. on Oct 13, 2017 8:39:45 AM

 

The power of soil is vastly underestimated and misunderstood. The soil below your house can have a profound effect on your foundation and ultimately the entire structural integrity of your home or structure.

If you were living in Colorado in 2013, you are all too familiar with the severity of the 2013 flooding that caused close to $4 Billion worth of damage to 24 counties. This caused a whole heap of changes to the ground below us that is still taking place today.

 

 

The Power Of Soil

 

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What Comes Up, Must Come Down

After this flood, the soil expanded and began to rise to the surface. Now, the soil is finally retreating to lower levels causing foundational issues and structural failure in houses throughout the Colorado Front Range.

In the video above, this particular clients property has a seam of clay soil that is inconsitent about 15 feet below that surface of the driveway pavement. There is an obvious drop off of about a foot or two that runs diaginally through the entire house. This caused the garage (left side of the house) to raise about a foot and shift into the rest of the house causing serious structural issues.

This process happens slowly and can take years before becoming noticable by the homeowner. This leads to most people not taking action until it's too late. 

 

Structural Engineering In Denver & Front Range

With these amazing changes in soil throughout Denver and other parts of the front range in Colorado, we are helping more and more clients with their foundational faulting and failure due to this movement.

 

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What You Can Do

When is the last time you did a thorough audit of your home?

Take some time this weekend to do a walk through of your home. Have your phone for picture and a notepad. 

As you walk around, take note of any cracks, slopping, gaps, water stains, uneven surfaces, structures that don't quite line up right (such as doorways) and anything else that doesn't seem right. 

These subtle issues can be big signs that your home is headed in the wrong direction. Next, you will want to get expert eyes on the issue to tell you the severity, what's causing it and what your options are to remedy.

 

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Again, Here are Your Steps to Assessing the Structural Integrity of Your Home:

 

Step 1: This weekend, do a walk through of your home and take note of anything the seems off. Take a picture and write down what you see. This will come in handy when you are showing the Engineer.

Step 2: Hire a Professional Structural Engineer to come out to your house and take a look at what you found. You may want to do a little research of the soil history in your area. If necessary, the engineer will advice that you get a soil sample to find out what exactly is going on down there.

The small cost of an experience and well qualified Structural Engineer is nothing compared to the cost of fixing your structure after it is too late (please do not go cheap here).

Step 3: After getting recommendations from the Engineer, you should act accordinly. This may be anything from, "Everything looks fine, you can relax moving foward knowing your home is healthy" to "the foundation is cracking due to the soil below, let's get soil samples to see what the best plan of action is." 

LEVEL Engineering teams up with you to bring you keep you informed on what is going on and how to best fix the issue in accordance with your financial situation. We would be more than happy to help you with your Structural Engineering and help you ensure your home is healthy.

 

"The few hundred dollars I spent with LEVEL Engineering saved me more than $100,000 in potential repair costs. No one - not the realtor, the inspector nor the contractor I hired thought there was anything wrong with the foundation (of my proposed purchase). LEVEL Engineering identified major, costly foundation issues. I passed on the purchase. Thanks guys."

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Topics: Foundation Integrity, Structural Inspection, Structural Engineer, Soil Expansion

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