Do you need Repairs?
We’re professional problem solvers; we do every repair and renovation project right the first time. Whether a repair is just cosmetic or it involves a critical structural situation, we’ve seen it all. We have the years of experience and the skills to analyze the problem and execute the proper solution.
The foundation is the most important part of your structure. SR&R has many years of experience designing and inspecting foundations in a variety of situations for both residential and commercial properties. Foundations are normally made up of concrete footings laid underground as a structural base to a poured concrete or CMU block wall.
Foundation problems should be addressed as soon as they are discovered and before the damage is irreversible. The two most common types of foundation failures are foundation settlement (vertical movement of the footers) and foundation wall bowing (lateral movement of below-grade walls).
Typical signs of foundation settlement are stair-step cracks and vertically sheared bricks or blocks.The most common and typically most economical method of repairing failed foundations that have settled is to install a series of steel underpinning piers below the affected foundation area. The concept is founded on the principle of turning or pushing an anchor into stable subsoil strata until the torque or pressure applied indicates that the necessary load capacity has been achieved. The load-bearing steel shafts are installed independent of the structure and their bearing or holding capacity is verified as each pier is installed.
Adjustable brackets are then attached to the base of foundation walls, connecting the anchors to the foundation. The weight of the home is then shifted to the anchors. In the process, foundations, walls, and floors are repositioned and retained (i.e., “jacked”) from further movement.
Bowing or Leaning Foundations
Bowing walls will commonly have a long horizontal crack starting near a corner foundation to the opposite corner of the same wall. This crack is typically within the middle third of the wall, but can be in the upper third as well. Horizontal cracks in the lower third of the wall are often associated with a shift or offset of blocks rather than a bow of the wall.
The three most common remedial methods of stabilizing bowing walls are installing a series of (1) vertical struts or I-beams, (2) wall anchors or dead-man anchors, and (3) carbon strips. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and not all methods can be used in every situation. An SR&R structural engineer can typically determine the most appropriate remediation method based on a visual observation of the failing wall.
Framing is the backbone of any construction project. The most common types of damaged framing are: cracked or cut roof trusses, bowing or twisting of joists and beams, column bowing, and inadequate connections between framing members. For example, we are often requested to evaluate roof framing that has been cut to accommodate pull-down attic stairs. An inexperienced contractor or homeowner can unintentionally weaken the roof truss and framing system, which ultimately can lead to roof failure.
SR&R designers are experienced in identifying problems with existing framing systems and can design solutions for any type of damaged framing and our crew can make the proper modifications to the framing system to support the existing loads.
Retaining Wall Damage
Most retaining wall failures are due to a lack of proper drainage systems behind the wall to reduce hydrostatic (water) pressure. Active failures include bulging, leaning, bowing, and material deterioration due to high moisture content of the retained soils.
A proper drainage system will capture and re-direct surface water infiltration from behind the wall, which dramatically reduces the hydrostatic pressure.
We are often able to stabilize and save existing retaining walls by excavating behind them and installing drainage systems rather than demolishing and rebuilding. Stabilizing a retaining wall rather than rebuilding can be a large cost savings.
Wet/Damp Basements & Crawl Spaces
Wet basements or crawl spaces are often sources of immediate and long-term problems. Standing water inside and/or seepage into residential crawl spaces and basements can cause many problems for the homeowner.
Wet basements and crawl spaces are sources of high humidity, which can produce surface condensation, mildew and fungi, musty odors, and an unhealthy environment. Such moisture can also cause deterioration of floor joists, beams, sub-flooring, insulation, and electrical-mechanical systems.
Prolonged water around the footer and foundation wall can soften the soil and weaken its bearing capacity, increasing the possibility of foundation wall movement. Serious seepage under the foundation footer may erode soil away and cause the wall to settle and crack.
SR&R designers can assist homeowners with wet basements and moist foundation walls in assessing the source and extent of the problem and in finding a remedy.
Causes of wet basements and crawl spaces
Most wet basements or crawl spaces are caused by surface water that is not adequately drained away from the foundation wall. Sources of this water include the following:
- Improperly installed window wells.
- Roof water if no guttering is present or the gutters are clogged.
- Discharge from sump pumps.
- Excessive watering of flower beds and shrubbery around the foundation wall
- Rainwater runoff from the adjacent lawn, walks, or driveway areas if the landscaping forces water to drain toward the house instead of away (i.e., negative drainage conditions).
- Nearby creek(s) may overflow during storm runoff and either directly flood basement or crawl space areas, or contribute to the groundwater, which may become sufficiently high to cause seepage into the basement or crawl space area.
- Improperly installed, clogged, collapsed, or leaky drains may not allow downspout water or foundation wall water to escape.
- Underground drains leading away from downspouts may not have sufficient slope to carry water away.
- Ruptured water or sanitary lines either just outside the wall or under the house.
- Re-grading along foundation walls to promote positive drainage.
- Install buried downspout and sump pump discharge pipe extensions.
- Excavating along foundation walls and sealing with a waterproofing agent.
- Installation of an interior drainage system.
- Installation of exterior water vapor barriers near the ground surface along the foundation walls to prevent surface water infiltration and reduce the soil water content.
Wet yard problems may be caused by several factors: improper grading, high clay content soils, shallow rock, gutter downspouts, sump pump discharge pipes, soil erosion, and inadequate drainage systems are the most common.
An SR&R designer can properly evaluate the main cause(s) of a wet yard and design a solution that addresses each issue. Common solutions are:
- Re-grading of ground surface to promote positive drainage
- Infiltration/Interceptor trenches
- Planting for erosion control
- Roof drain pipe extensions
- French drains
- Rain gardens
- Drainage swales
- Dry wells or rain tanks