cracks in brick veneer homes

Top 5 Causes of Cracks in Brick Veneer Homes

Based on my personal experience over the past 32 years 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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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?"

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Realtors and others often ask me, "Why are you always harping on and on about cracks in brick veneer, and the questionable practices of the foundation repair business?" Listen, if you could see the unbelievable things I see each and every day in my structural engineering business, you'd understand why I get so riled up about it. I'm not exaggerating when I say I get AT LEAST a half dozen calls a week where I'm being called in to evaluate a problem that was found by a home inspector who stated to his client (homebuyer) that he was not qualified to evaluate or offer professional advice.

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when is structural repair necessary

When is Structural Repair Necessary?

I've been asked on several occasions, "How do you know or decide when a structural repair is necessary?" That's a good question. Let's talk about it.

Basically, most of our structural problems in the Huntsville-metro area are related to insufficient use of engineers to develop structural framing plans for large, complicated structures, AND the sole reliance on untrained home builders or framers to build such structures. 

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Is Your Home Suffering From E.D.?

Over 70% of structural claims occur four or more years after the sale date of the home. Claims that occur earlier than this are characterized as E.D., and are often a sign of a more severe problem. E.D. claims cost an average of 33% more to repair than the average of all claims. The timing and severity of claims is particularly important to home builders that maintain financial reserves to pay claims. 

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the house that buck bought

The House That Buck Bought…

For a few years now, you've heard me preach about the injustices taking place, daily, in the Huntsville-metro Real Estate marketplace, regarding insecure home inspectors and their foundation repair contractor friends. Well, I want you to come see the house that Buck bought to live in.  According to two foundation repair contractors in Huntsville, recommended by the Home Inspector who inspected the home, my house had in excess of $15,000 worth of structural repairs that needed to be made.

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top 4 causes of foundation settlement

Top 4 Causes of Foundation Settlement

After 31 years of inspecting houses throughout Madison County, I feel that I have a lot to offer you on this topic. It all starts with the geology of Madison County. There are several reasons why houses experience Foundation Settlement. I will spell them out for you. (Remember, foundation settlement is almost inevitable... every home will experience it over time, so it's not imperative that foundation repair be done just because of minor amounts of settlement.)

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deck collapse

Deck Collapse – Lawsuits & Injuries

Building codes and requirements have really gotten tougher over the past years for deck construction. That being the case, newer decks being built are stronger and more enduring than ever before, preventing deck collapse. BUT, there are literally millions of outdoor decks in America that were built before the codes got tougher. 

So the bottom line is, there are still a lot of UNSAFE decks out there. As the temperatures warm and people seek enjoyment from outdoor life, some of those decks are bound to fail... and sometimes the failure can be catastrophic.

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