A Note From Buck

If you were searching for JADE Engineering and Inspection, that was me, but no longer me!

I am semi-retired and focused on writing and education. I still provide consulting in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee.

I pray these articles provide you with valuable information. Feel free to comment on any post or send me a message here.

what is a crawl space

What is a Crawl Space?

One of the most frequent questions I hear from people moving to Huntsville from elsewhere is why homes here are often built on crawl space foundations. What is a crawl space, they ask?

Answer: It’s like a basement that no one ever enters.

It can be a beautiful, clean, dry space beneath the main floor of a home and the ground below, or it can be damn nasty. The former is good. The latter can be harmful.

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New Quote: Two Times is a Charm!

No, I don't care what you say; I'm changing it from three to two!

Today, I looked at two houses with the same inherent construction problem, both attributable to contractor ignorance or amateur construction.

It's called failure to provide a structural ridge "beam" to support a cathedral ceiling  (rafter-framed) roof.

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What causes Cracks in Crown Molding?

What causes Cracks in Crown Molding?

Are these cracks in crown molding being caused by foundation movement?

Many foundation repair contractor salesman will point to crown moldings and say that wood casing cracks and separations indicate foundation movement or floor sag and that structural repairs are needed. There is nothing farther from the truth. So, why do cracks and separations appear in crown moldings?

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6 Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck

Did you know that deck collapses have increased by 20% since 2007? The good news is that deck failures are preventable. Using the proper structural connectors and fasteners, as well as regular maintenance, is the secret to a safe, strong deck. We recommend that decks be inspected annually to ensure that all connections are still strong. Jim Mattison, Simpson Strong-Tie training specialist, walks you through the six warning signs of an unsafe deck and the ten critical connections that make your deck safe and strong. Find more resources at strongtie.com/deckcenter

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good

Views and Trees and Wildlife and Fresh Air

The Bad

Having to walk up/ down the hillsides with bad knees or drive in icy weather!

The Ugly

Selling your gem and finding out the buyer insists that you spend $25,000 or more on foundation repairs before he will honor his purchase offer!

 

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cracks in brick veneer homes

Top 5 Causes of Cracks in Brick Veneer Homes

Based on my personal experience over the past three decades of inspecting houses, I would say that differential brick expansion is the most common cause of cracking in brick veneer homes. The second is sag in double-wide garage door steel lintel beams. The third is steel lintel expansion. The fourth is differential foundation settlement and rounding out the list at fifth is reflective cracking.

As I’ve said many times, foundation repair contractors lump all five of these into one category: foundation settlement or foundation failure. This is literally the farthest thing from the truth when talking about cracks in brick veneer homes. We seldom see any differential foundation settlement problems that warrant expensive foundation underpinning repairs!

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fha-permanent-foundation-for-manufactured-home

What is an FHA Permanent Foundation for Manufactured Homes?

The saddest question I often hear in my engineering inspection practice is, "Buck, I need an engineering inspection of a manufactured home foundation for an FHA loan. The mortgage underwriter wants assurance that the foundation meets their "permanent foundation" guidelines. Can you do this and what is the cost?"

Why is this a sad question?  Well, it's because I've never inspected a manufactured home that had a foundation meeting this guideline.

Why is this?  Well, it's because the foundation beneath the home was never designed per the guidelines to begin with.  And this is sad, because an FHA Permanent Foundation would likely ensure that the manufactured home would survive the worst of thunderstorms and straight-line high winds and perhaps even some lower category Hurricanes, nor would it ever likely settle or sink into ground unevenly.

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