Structural Analysis | Foundation Issues

Worried your new home might need structural analysis?

We know how it goes, you work, you save, you take the leap and decide to build your own home-or maybe even just choose a new construction home over a resale. Now you are not sure about the quality of work put into the building of the home and notice cracks and defects. Structural analysis experts can determine what happened and make sure all your hard earned money is not wasted in time to correct the problem.

Although it is common for houses to settle not long after they have been built, causing some minimal unevenness or minor cracks, there are specific signs to look for that indicate actual foundation defects.

First, take note of any areas in your home where the floors seem uneven. Initially, the unevenness will seem small but if it points to foundation problems, it will worsen with time.

Second, be aware of any doors and windows that are difficult to open or shut. If a door is not latching well or if a window gets stuck regularly then the foundation may be the issue.

Third, notice cracks that show up especially over doors, windows or where ceilings and doors meet. Hairline cracks in these areas are signs worthy of a professional opinion from a construction defect expert.

Fourth, know what to look for in the concrete foundation itself. In an article titled, Identifying House Foundation Problems, points out the most important differentiation’s to be made when discerning structural analysis:

“As concrete cures, it shrinks slightly. Where the concrete can’t shrink evenly, it tends to crack. Concrete and block foundations usually have at least a few cracks. The trick is recognizing which are insignificant and which are serious. Here’s a list from least to most serious:

Hairline cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks are rarely worth worrying about.

Cracks at an L-shape section, such as where a foundation steps down to follow a hillside, are probably shrinkage cracks, especially if they meander and taper down to a hairline. These aren’t a structural issue, though you might need to plug them to keep the basement or crawl space dry.

Stair-step cracks in masonry joints are a bigger concern, especially if the wall is bulging or the crack is wider than ¼ inch. A clogged gutter or other moisture problem outside is probably exerting pressure on that part of the wall.

Horizontal cracks are most serious. It may be that water-saturated soil froze and expanded, pushing in and breaking the foundation. Or, you may have soil that expands when damp and shrinks when dry. The bad news: You probably need a whole new foundation.”

So whatever the worry-when it comes to the foundation of your home, it is well worth getting a structural analysis from a qualified structural analyst expert -not only for the safety of your investment but for the safety of your family and peace of mind!