Case Studies

Arizona Foundation Solutions Case Studies: Repairing a Foundation in Show Low, AZ

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 by Jessica LaFlesch

Challenge

Homeowner reached out to us after noticing a few signs of a potential foundation problem.  These signs included:

-          Interior drywall cracks

-          Exterior cracks in brickwork

-          Unlevel floors

An initial Level A Foundation Inspection determined a Forensic Engineered Report (Level B Foundation Inspection) was necessary to determine the root cause of the signs of stress / potential foundation problem.

Exterior Inspection: The exterior of the location was visually inspected. Items such as foundation cracks, exterior wall cracks, improper grading, type of structure, poor drainage, gutters or no gutters, bowed retaining walls, large trees close to the foundation and any type of obstructions that may or may not influence the repair process were noted and recorded.

Interior Inspection: The interior of the location was visually inspected. Items such as floor cracks, wall cracks, ceiling cracks, sloping floors, uneven counter tops, doors and windows that are out of alignment, cracked window glass and bowed walls were noted and recorded.

Manometer Survey: The manometer survey, also known as a floor survey, is a measurement of the differences of interior floor elevations. The flatness of the interior floor was measured using a highly accurate survey device known as a Manometer. The entire interior floor area was surveyed and the elevations were recorded. These data points were then entered into a computer program that provides a topographical map showing the high and low elevation contours of the floor surface. This topographical map shows where the foundation is no longer level and shows where support and stabilization is needed. The floor survey also demonstrates whether any floor slab heave or settlement exists.

After examining the home and performing the manometer survey, Arizona Foundation Solutions believes the home could be experiencing foundation settlement at the west, northwest and southwest portions of the home as shown by the damage ( aka Signs of Stress) and lower readings on the Topographical Map. The drop off in floor elevations on the topographical map is consistent with a foundation settlement pattern. Settlement can be caused by one or any combination of many factors including sub-grade saturation of moisture due to poor drainage, years of storm runoff, plumbing leaks, improper compaction, the lack of a proper foundation system, and/or (in most cases) natural earth movement.

AZFS believes the home could be experiencing minor foundation settlement at the south, east and southeastern portions of the home as shown by the lower readings on the Topographical Map.

 

Solution

Arizona Foundation Solutions believes that the proper way to permanently stop the perimeter foundation settlement is to underpin the areas that are experiencing movement. Underpinning is the process of installing deep foundation elements called piles. Piles are engineered foundation supports that are driven down past the unstable soils and are then locked up into load bearing strata, which can support the loads that are transferred to them. Once the piles have been installed, they can be used to lift the perimeter foundation up to it’s Highest Practical Maximum. The piles should be spaced approximately six feet on center and should start and stop near the hinge points of movement (exact spacing to be determined after load bearing calculations). In this case, the piles would be located at the west, northwest and southwest portions of the home and at the 3 western most supporting columns on the rear deck.

AZFS believes the best way to stabilize the support beams in the crawl space is with SmartJacks. These are adjustable galvanized supports engineered to be placed under the sagging floors to help prevent settlement of the floor joist system. The SmartJack sequence should start at approximately 2’ off each perimeter wall and should not be spaced more than 7’ on center (exact spacing to be determined after load bearing calculations). An engineered push pier will be driven concentrically beneath the beam at each Smart Jack location to provide a footing for each Smart Jack. If for whatever reason The installation of concentric piers is not possible, a concrete footing of engineered size will be poured beneath the smart jack to distribute the load. The SmartJacks will then be cut to size and set in place. Finally the units will be adjusted to lift the sagging floors back to their best functioning point or the Highest Practical Maximum.

The settlement at the south, east and southeastern portions of the home appears to be minor at this point in time. A protection plan has been designed to stop the area from any additional settlement and further damages. AZFS can permanently stabilize this area to protect the foundation from future settlement at the home owners discretion.

This crawlspace plan addresses foundation support. Carpentry and non-soil related movement are outside the scope of work of this project.

Since storm runoff is responsible for the majority of the moisture that pools next to the foundation, gutters need to be modified to prevent the storm runoff from increasing the amount of foundation movement. A proper drainage system should be installed to discharge the storm runoff a minimum of 10 feet, preferably 20 feet away from the foundation. We do not recommend installing gutters that discharge next to the foundation as this will only increase the probability of a foundation problem.

Project Summary

Engineer: Néstor J. Brea

FER Tech: Adam Rhodes

Consultant: Freddy Flores

Foreperson: Ricardo Morales

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Our Locations:

Arizona Foundation Solutions
3841 E Superior Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85040
1-602-883-3777
Arizona Foundation Solutions service area