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Old 08-01-2018, 06:17 PM
 
14 posts, read 4,235 times
Reputation: 15

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I own a home in Sugar Land. It was built in 1982. I bought it in 2005. At the time of purchase, home inspection did not reveal any issues with the foundation. The house was relatively issue-free until 2013 or so.

Since then cracks started to appear in the following three areas: above the door, on ceramic floor tiles, and between kitchen counter and outside wall.

Believing this to be caused by expansive soil, I installed a drip irrigation system to water the foundation in 2017.

This has not stopped the cracks from widening. The crack between the kitchen counter and outside wall has now widened to about an inch.

One point worth noting is the house has 3 old trees that are each about 20 feet from the foundation on different sides of the house.

I have talked to foundation repair companies and arborists.

Foundation repair companies have recommended multiple piers and come up with estimates ranging from 10K to 30K. These companies are not offering any guarantees that the piers will put the house back in its position.

The arborists I have talked to say piers would not solve this. The water is being drained by roots and therefore root barriers are the solution. Their estimates for installing root barriers range from 2K to 4K.

No one seems to have a clear understanding of the source of the problem.

I donít know what to do and how much I should spend on fixing the house.

Any suggestions?

Shane
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,856 posts, read 5,686,508 times
Reputation: 3066
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneCD View Post
I own a home in Sugar Land. It was built in 1982. I bought it in 2005. At the time of purchase, home inspection did not reveal any issues with the foundation. The house was relatively issue-free until 2013 or so.

Since then cracks started to appear in the following three areas: above the door, on ceramic floor tiles, and between kitchen counter and outside wall.

Believing this to be caused by expansive soil, I installed a drip irrigation system to water the foundation in 2017.

This has not stopped the cracks from widening. The crack between the kitchen counter and outside wall has now widened to about an inch.

One point worth noting is the house has 3 old trees that are each about 20 feet from the foundation on different sides of the house.

I have talked to foundation repair companies and arborists.

Foundation repair companies have recommended multiple piers and come up with estimates ranging from 10K to 30K. These companies are not offering any guarantees that the piers will put the house back in its position.

The arborists I have talked to say piers would not solve this. The water is being drained by roots and therefore root barriers are the solution. Their estimates for installing root barriers range from 2K to 4K.

No one seems to have a clear understanding of the source of the problem.

I donít know what to do and how much I should spend on fixing the house.

Any suggestions?

Shane

From your description I would believe what the Arborist is saying. It is very possible that soils are being severely dehydrated by an extensive network of tree roots. There is also a possibility of significant root invasion under the foundation. If so not only can this cause foundation issues but it can also cause issues with subsurface utilities such as waste and fresh water lines.



Piering may be possible to stabilize the foundation and prevent it from moving downward any further. However heave movement (upward movement) can also occur with root invasion. Piering will do nothing for that issue. Also when piering the actions of trying to place the slab back into a level orientation can cause additional cosmetic as well as plumbing damage.


At this point I would highly recommend you contract the services of a licensed Professional Engineer that has extensive training and experience with residential foundations. The PE can perform a full analysis of the foundation, review any information they deem appropriate from the Arborist and Foundation Repair Company and provide their opinion and a remediation plan.


If you are searching for such a Professional Engineer you can start at the Foundation Performance Association WEB site Welcome to the Foundation Performance Association Web Site . This site by no means lists all available and highly experienced PE's. However it can also provide additional technical information regarding foundation distress causes and performance that may help you better understand your situation.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:58 PM
 
14 posts, read 4,235 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks much for your helpful response escanlan. Among the types of members listed here Foundation Performance Association Members, are there one or two types of members best suited to do the evaluation and provide a remediation plan?
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Old 08-02-2018, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,856 posts, read 5,686,508 times
Reputation: 3066
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneCD View Post
Thanks much for your helpful response escanlan. Among the types of members listed here Foundation Performance Association Members, are there one or two types of members best suited to do the evaluation and provide a remediation plan?

There are three types of Professional Engineers that are generally trained/specialized in foundation issues. The first are Forensic Consultants. Their specialty is actually de-constructing the situation to determine causes. One highly qualified Engineer on that list is Michael Gray who is a Structural Engineer and actually located outside of Houston (281-358-112). Structural Engineers with experience in foundations are another. Civil Engineers are well rounded in their training and then typically specialize for example in foundations. Any in the three groups with extensive foundation experience can assist you.
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Old 08-03-2018, 02:50 PM
 
Location: EastCoast
62 posts, read 12,652 times
Reputation: 69
why not pay ~2 K and have those massive trees removed??


Also, would your home insurance cover the cost of repairs of foundation?
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Old 08-03-2018, 05:00 PM
 
14 posts, read 4,235 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks escanlan for clarification on the types of PEs and the Michael Gray referral. This is helpful.

Galaxy - I suppose the trees can be removed. I have been reluctant to do so because of the shade they provide. Also, I am not certain if the house can be remedied (i.e., reverse the damage incurred) by removing the trees. Can it?


I will check if my home insurance covers foundation repair costs.
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,856 posts, read 5,686,508 times
Reputation: 3066
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneCD View Post
Thanks escanlan for clarification on the types of PEs and the Michael Gray referral. This is helpful.

Galaxy - I suppose the trees can be removed. I have been reluctant to do so because of the shade they provide. Also, I am not certain if the house can be remedied (i.e., reverse the damage incurred) by removing the trees. Can it?


I will check if my home insurance covers foundation repair costs.

Remedying the issue with a tree removal is possible but no matter if you remove the trees or use root barriers there is another potential issue(s). First if the tree roots are large and/or extensive under the foundation they can not necessarily be removed. Over time they will deteriorate and depending on the volume they occupy they can cause voids under the foundation. The voids can cause settling and/or if a path is available then water collection under the foundation which can cause other issues. You would not know how much of an issue these would be until the tree is completely removed to the root on the exterior perimeter of the foundation.


With root barriers they will need to cut through any roots in the path of the barrier. This can cause a similar issue noted above. Also depending on how much root needs to be cut it can have an impact on the health of the tree which can cause stability problems for the tree. Again you really won't know how much root is there until the digging for the barrier(s) is complete.
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