Foundation cracks are commonly discovered during home inspections. So common, I like to say, “Concrete does two things…it gets hard and it cracks.” The question becomes whether the crack is significant enough to warrant further evaluation and possible repair by a qualified contractor. This particular crack, discovered at an Oak Harbor home inspection on Whidbey Island, had characteristics (e.g., size, displacement, and sharp edges) that warranted a second opinion. Most cracks don’t need further evaluation, in fact I’d estimate that I call this out less than 5% of the time for home inspections. Settling and shrinkage cracks are commonplace. And, older homes can have quite large cracks which, if the edges are worn suggest they’re historic and the home has done all of its settling in the past. When in doubt, I’d recommend first having an experienced home inspector further evaluate and advise as to whether a structural contractor or engineer is warranted. Hope this helps! Continue reading
Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.
This month, we learn about structural issues with Paul Vierthaler, president at Island Excavating, Inc., in Eastsound.
Q1: Water intrusion can plague many homes here in the Pacific Northwest, and summertime can be a great time to take care of it. What’s your preferred method for repairing water intrusion issues under a home?
Dig down along the foundation wall to below the footing, and replace the old perforated drain pipe. Drain, clean and waterproof the wall, add battle matt against the wall. Backfill to the surface using clean drain rock. Run all roof drains to daylight and away from the foundation.
Q2: If exterior lot drainage improvements aren’t practical or effective, what are some methods employed to deal with water intrusion under a home?
Sump pumps as a last resort
Q3: Where do you send all that water to anyway (city vs. rural)?
Storm drains in the city, dispersion trenches for rural areas.
About Island Excavating
Island Excavating, Inc. been in business on Orcas Island since 1970. Privately owned for 30 years, in 2000 the business was sold to the employees and restructured as an ESOP (employee stock ownership program). Employees receive full benefits, and stock in the company as a retirement plan. Island Excavating employees are professionals; most of them are employed over 20 years with the company. They are the proud owners and invested caretakers of this evolving enterprise. These strong relationships have extended far into the community and Island Excavating takes deep pride in the fact that the company provides financial and in-kind support to numerous community projects and organizations.Island Excavating is prepared for all manner of situations and can cleanly and efficiently solve problems and finish jobs to an astonishing degree.
A big “thanks” to Paul for his responses!If you have questions or comments about structural issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
Homes being constructed today are more energy-efficient than those built even just a few years ago, primarily due to significant improvements in building products and techniques, as well as development of high-performance heating and cooling systems and other appliances. At InterNACHI, we believe that the benefits of foundation insulation are often overlooked. Heat loss from an uninsulated, conditioned basement may represent up to 50% of a home’s total heat loss in a tightly sealed, well-insulated home. Foundation insulation is used primarily to reduce heating costs and has little or no benefit in lowering cooling costs. In addition to reducing heating costs, foundation insulation increases comfort, reduces the potential for condensation and corresponding growth of mold, and increases the livability of below-grade rooms. (read full article on InterNACHI)