What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Masonry Foundation Repair - Steel Posts

This photo is the masonry foundation repair of the front wall of a 45 year old house.  It is one of many techniques that can be used for such a repair.

The masonry foundation had been suffering from horizontal cracking.

Around here a big factor contributing to this problem are expansive clay soils.  Certainly soil/water pressure is the culprit, but clay soils can shrink when very dry and then, when wetted, can expand with greater force than normal.

Such force works on these walls, over time and even quickly!

When it happens, and if there has been enough movement, a structural engineer should get involved.

 

 

And one certainly got involved here!

This engineer's solution was one of many, and involved installing small, steel I-beams against a foundation wall that was pushed back into a plumb condition.

This is one of about six such posts used to gird up the structure.

They continue every six feet or so from this one toward the left.

I could detect no bulging in that wall!

Each of these posts is anchored between floor joists to become a part of the structure of the house.

And they extend below the floor slab, deeply enough to have their own secure anchor there, to be filled in with a new slab at the entry point.

It is extremely strong.

Of course, outside more work has to be done to divert water and soil pressure off of the foundation wall.

Together these two solutions provide a peace of mind that future foundation problems will not be an issue.  This seller was able to provide the engineer's solution recommendations, final report and the County approval.  Getting and reviewing all that paper work, my clients were very satisfied.

My recommendation:  when you see something like this don't be upset!  It obviously indicates a professional, and probably permanent, solution to a previous problem.  And of course, any information or paper work the seller can provide is extremely useful.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 40 commentsJay Markanich • February 21 2012 02:26AM

Comments

Wow, enginneer and county paperwork and an adequate repairs for a structural problem around here would be about as common as seeing a flying cow.  Usually 2 x 4's, fastened with drywall screws, is what I see around here for horizontal cracks and "structural repairs".  Another popular method around here is injecting spray foam in the cracks to help shore things up.  Whatever the case, the homeowner usually states its been fine for 20 yrs. that they've lived there :)

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Makes me happy we don't have basement walls to deal with around here-one less problem anyway:)

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) almost 7 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I hope someone finds exactly what they are looking for here.

Posted by Rob Lang, Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes (At Home Kansas Team Powered by Keller Williams Partners Inc / www.AskRobLang.com) almost 7 years ago

We have basement walls to contend with here, but you go down into the soil about 1-2 feet and you'll most likely hit rock.  Not much bulging but moisture is a killer

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 7 years ago

Joshua - wow, I see foam too!  What a foundation repair!  Spray foam, the other white duct tape!

Marco - no basements, but a hurricane here and there!

Rob - I do too!  That's the intent of the post.  Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I have seen some bad basements back East. We have very little basements in the desert.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Isn't it funny how buyers seem to be much more concerned about repairs when the repairs are obvious?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

I bet not Harry!  Hard to found something deeply in the sand!

Reubs - I had to explain all this, but the paperwork really helped.  This was a good job.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

jay, haven't seen any of these but i have found that structural engineers have solved many problems for me and things i didn't know could be fixed can with a foundation...we have many basements here ..in fact it is a must.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Ginny - structural techniques are universal, because they are applied load and pressure mathematics.  But different materials need to be handled in different ways!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Very good information for home owners.  Thanks for sharing your suggested solutions for common problems.

I will post this on my Facebook page.

Have an outstanding week.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) almost 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay, I have seen walls repaired in this fashion and also with carbon fiber bands. I like the bands as they are less intrusive...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Roy.  This is a very good fix to a common problem.

Michael - carbon fiber bands are gaining in popularity.  But this engineer thought these posts were the way to go here.  Given what I saw, there was substantial reason.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

James - didn't see you up there!  That rock underneath will also help to trap moisture before it can divert around the house.  The bedrock is good and bad!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

the foundation can be the costliest part of a home to repair.

This is why the engeneer's make what they are worth in the long run. Good post.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago

They do Clint.  And when we act proactively they can arrest a problem before it becomes huge, or devastating.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Interesting info. Keep us posted.

Posted by Erv Fleishman, Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates (Realty Associates) almost 7 years ago

I've seen similar repairs in this area too.  One property I sold they anchored a double-stacked 2X6 plate to the floor, and then they built a 2X6 wall with double-stacked 2X6 about every 6 feet.  They were also bolted to the floor joists above.  It was a pretty substantial, and it seemed to keep the walls in place.  It was nice for my buyer.  She didn't have to frame out the basement.  8-)

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 7 years ago

Jay ....Really good post!  Congrats on the deserved feature also!  I've seen a few homes that needed this ....I will have to bookmark this one ....Thanks!

Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) almost 7 years ago

This is good stuff most people know nothing about Erv.  If there is more I will let you know.

That is another technique, which can be used when there isn't too much weight Mike.

Rob - keep it in mind!  Engineers all know this technique.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You make such sense, out of something that would look a little freightning to the average homeowner. Thank you for sharing the post with us.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) almost 7 years ago

Lucky where I do business here is California we do not run into this type of issue. But looking to expand to other areas that have basement  thank you for letting me know what to look out for in an appraisal 

Posted by Nathan Rufty - Home Loans at 909-503-5600, Mortgage Professional / Home Loans / Direct Lender (Mountain West Financial, Inc) almost 7 years ago

Jay this is a great consumer information and would be of interest in my market since the majority of homes have basements.

I appreciate the information you share.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 7 years ago

Jay, structural engineers are worth every penny. Often what looks like a disaster can often be fixed easily with their help. They did a good job on your example.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

Great post Jay, I wish all sellers could provide the engineering documents.

Posted by Brad Gotham (Granite Peak Inspection, Inc. ) almost 7 years ago

If I saw those steel beams going through I would probably think that there was some type of issue however those steel beams look pretty heavy duty and would hold up a lot of weight. 

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

When I hear the word foundation in any conversation, it is like the kiss of death...even if it is remedied and when it comes time to disclose, makes people consider buying another home

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 7 years ago

A buyer who see's this blog who is thinking of buying a home that has these steel posts in the basement I think will feel much more comfortable with their potential purchase now that they know why they are there and what they are doing.

 

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay -- great explanation with pictures that assist in understanding.  That must be one of the reasons you are an in demand inspector!

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 7 years ago

One time I said to a buyer...  "don't be upset!  It obviously indicates a professional, and probably permanent, solution to a previous problem."

I can not remember what the disclosure said about the repairs to the basement walls.  We had seen walls in a number of this model throughout the neighborhood that had cracking on this wall (not the wall that usually  has this crack at the frostline in our market with it's heavy clay soil.) 

WRONG... the builder (original builder) did the beams and they were not fastened correctly.  As I recall the problem was Each of these posts is WAS NOT anchored between floor joists to become a part of the structure of the house.

Her home inspector (an engineer)  caught it and prescribed the fix that would make the beams  become a part of the structure of the house.   We negotiated for the sellers to pay  for the beams to be installed correctly. 

 

 


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

What's a basement?

No seriously most buyers run at the sound of foundation repairs, even when repaired.  We have a short sale right now on the market that buyers won't touch because it has some slight foundation issues and instead of getting a foundation report to give to potential buyers, the listing agent just notes "some possible foundation issues" in MLS.

Posted by Faye Y. Taylor, Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni (StepStone Realty, LLC ) almost 7 years ago

Joe - thanks.  Sometimes a little edjumakashun is all that a client needs.

Nathan - you have other structural anomalies to think about out there!  Like, um, shaking?

Thanks Jennifer.  I'm glad you can use it!

Mike - they are sometimes very necessary.  This was a good job.

Brad - I have to admit, having all that documentation was very unusual!  And great to see.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Morgan - especially spaced as they were and in a row.

Richie - in this case they had the documents, and I was able to explain exactly what they were looking at.

Hence my post Eileen!  Glad to do it too!

Steven - education is the most basic reason for a home inspection. My opinion...

Maureen - probably good to leave the opinions to the engineers!

Faye - they are holes in the ground into which you pour money and the men of the house put their stuff.  Often times called a cave.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay - great information and pictures on pretty much a common problem of foundation cracks. With those steel post that will won't move.

Also I seem to be having a problem posting Gutters Done Right on Best Practices, even cut and paste won't work. But I'll keep trying.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Well, Jay~congrats on your Gold Star. Do you guys have a lot of clay there?  We have quite a bit of clay in our soils here in Orygun (at least the northwest part)....maybe I should take heed??

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Eric.  First, join the group.  Then control C your post.  From there push "Post To Group," and control V your post.  It should appear!

Gayle - yes we do and clay soils are a problem everywhere they are found!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay:

Structural Engineers are worth their weight in gold.  They can fix problems that seem impossible to fix.  But you do have to pay dearly for their services.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) almost 7 years ago

I have heard that Evelyn.  But they have student loans too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You say the structure has been girded. So are the posts a girdle? Just wondering.

This is obviously a good and proper repair. Something we don't see very often. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Great observation Jay.  This does not represent a "problem" but rather a good solution.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 7 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments