Foundation Repair Case Studies: Flagstaff, AZ Foundation Inspection 12.7.2021
The Owners of this 1959 single-family block home reached out to us after noticing signs of a foundation issue. These signs included:
-Interior wall cracks
-Exterior cracks in the stucco
-Doors out of square
A Level A Foundation Inspection determined a Level B Foundation Investigation was needed to determine if the symptoms (also known as signs of stress) are the result of foundation movement and if a foundation repair is needed.
Homeowner’s Concerns/Goals: The homeowner would like to address any foundation issues and remodel the home.
Home details: 1959 block construction with a crawl space and a concrete stem wall. The top of the footing is 14” below grade.
Introduction: Thank you for allowing Arizona Foundation Solutions to present this foundation survey and assessment for the proposed foundation repairs on your property.
Purpose of the Investigation: The purpose of this report is to evaluate the foundation and the foundation conditions of this property, and to perform a manometer and foundation survey on the interior of the property.
Limitations: The purpose of this report is limited to documenting and addressing the areas of concern indicated by the customer related to potential foundation movements. Arizona Foundation Solutions uses a variety of tools such as manometer survey, observations by technicians with notes and photographs, and industry standards such as the Foundation Performance Association (FPA) “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Foundation Movement for Residential and Other Low-Rise Buildings" to determine if foundation movement has impacted the serviceability of the home. The term serviceability relates to items such as pinched doors and windows, cracks in drywall and slabs, cracks in exterior stucco and walls, and the like. Recommendations in this report are made to address and limit future issues related to serviceability and the customer’s concern.
The extent and scope of this manometer and foundation survey and assessment are detailed as follows:
• Perform a manometer survey.
• Locate areas of potential foundation and floor movement, if any.
• Visually inspect and record the interior and the exterior of the location.
• Evaluate any noted movement using industry consensus methods, if any.
• Prepare a documented repair plan if needed.
Foundation Footprint: A drawing of the footprint of the first floor was created and is included in this report.
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 countertops, 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 in 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 are 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 in the central, north, south, east, and western portions of the home as shown by the damage (also known as Signs of Stress) and lower readings on the page the Topographical 2D 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.
There may be a crack in the floor slab (addition). The flooring will need to be removed by others to verify the slab cracks. When the slab cracks all the way through, the separate sections can move independently of one another. This allows for severe damage to flooring and other signs of interior stress like pinched doors, drywall, and/or ceiling cracks.
Footing depths do not meet City code frost depth minimum (18" below grade) or the Registrar of Contractors minimum of 24" for the 6500 ft elevation.
Arizona Foundation Solutions believes the home could be experiencing foundation settlement in the central, north, south, east, and western portions of the home.
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 its Highest Practical Maximum. The piles should be spaced approximately eight 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 in the central, north, south, east, and western portions of the home.
AZFS believes the best way to stabilize the support beams in the crawl space is with Smart Jacks. These are adjustable galvanized supports engineered to be placed under the sagging floors to help prevent settlement of the floor joist system. The Smart Jack 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 Smart Jacks 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.
Composite interlocking can be performed to tie the broken pieces of the concrete together. The existing crack will be cleaned, and non-parallel lines will be cut across the existing crack. Next carbon fiber laminate stitches will be inserted into the non-parallel cuts and then the gaps will be filled with a two-part poly. Finally, the crack should be ground smooth to minimize the differential. If done properly, this will allow the slab to function as one unit to help prevent damages to flooring, ceiling, and walls. If this is instead expansion joint separation, the joint should be cleaned, routed, and re-caulked with an expansive joint filler. A determination as to which repair is needed will be made on-site once the crack is exposed. The homeowner may want to contact a flooring expert and consider floating the flooring after the repair has been made.
The owner should be aware the crawlspace is excessively damp. The source of the water is unknown but is assumed to be from recent snowmelt. The moisture can impact wood/timber supports which are being addressed within the report’s recommendations. However, because of the enclosed nature of the crawlspace, this moisture has created an environment conducive to mold. Mold is beyond the scope of this assessment. However, it is recommended the source of the moisture be identified and mitigated for both molds as well as foundation reasons (see grading and drainage recommendations on the following Repair Recommendation page). For specific mold concerns, it is recommended the owner contact a mold abatement specialist.
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 installed to prevent the storm runoff from increasing the amount of foundation movement. A proper gutter 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.
It is also beneficial to manage the moisture around your home using conventional means as outlined below:
• Hire a reputable plumbing leak detector and repair service to check both pressure and sewer lines, this is usually done for less than $500. 1f repairs are needed, they are usually not expensive.
• Make sure the grading of the terrain is sloped downwards at a 5% slope from the home at all areas of the perimeter.
• Stop irrigating plants that are near the foundation and make sure there is nothing trapping the moisture from flowing away from the home.
• When permanently stabilizing, lifting, and/or mitigating a foundation movement problem, AZFS recommends waiting AT LEAST 6 months before investing in cosmetic repairs.
Safety or Structural Concerns: None
Engineer: John Ciminski
Doors out of the square are a common sign of a potential foundation issue.
Interior wall cracks are a common sign of a potential foundation issue.
An additional wall crack in an archway of the home.
Arizona Foundation Solutions believes the home could be experiencing foundation settlement in the central, north, south, east, and western portions of the home as shown by the damage (also known as Signs of Stress) and lower readings on the page the Topographical 2D Map.
The drop-off in floor elevations on the topographical map is consistent with a foundation settlement pattern.