If you’re dealing with a large number of cracks that have a width large than an eighth of an inch, you will need to invest in foundation repair. These cracks are good indication that the wall is experiencing inward movement. This means that it is under extreme pressure from the surrounding soil and is moving inward as a result.
Pressure is often the result of increased water in the ground. This results in increased hydrostatic pressure acting against the wall. The water may be from melting snow, rainfall, or downspouts depositing water at the foundation.
Pressure against the wall may also be the result of frost. As the water in the soil freezes, it expands. The expanding soil will require more space. It accomplishes this by pushing against the foundation walls.
Another source of pressure against the foundation walls is tree roots. These roots may seem small and weak but will exert a great deal of pressure on the walls of the foundation over time.
It doesn’t matter what the cause of the pressure is, you will need a structural engineer to evaluate your foundation and determine the best solution for foundation repair.
What to expect from a structural engineer
The structural engineer will provide the following services:
- Site inspection
The first step in providing you with a comprehensive report involves a site visit. During this visit, the engineer will collect data that will help them determine the true state of the foundation wall. This will involve measuring different aspects of the foundation. Engineers therefore usually come with specialized tools to get accurate information.
Do not trust an engineer who tries to gather data by ‘eye-balling’ the foundation. Only accurate measurements will tell you what’s wrong with the foundation.
- The engineers report
The engineer will then leave to evaluate the information they have gathered. This may take a day or two. They will then provide you with a report detailing what the problem is and their plan for foundation repair.
This report may take the form of a letter. This letter should be embossed with the engineer’s license seal. The repair plan will accompany this letter. It will typically have some drawing to illustrate the plan.
In many cases, repair of structural cracks will involve the installation of carbon fiber straps. It may also require the installation of steel beams. This is especially in cases where the damage is extensive.