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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arsenal blasting

The Effects of Arsenal Blasting

"Sarah... Come here and look at these brick veneer cracks! That darn Arsenal is tearing our house apart!"

For the past 31 years, I've gotten one or two calls each year whereby people are contending that their brick veneer or drywall cracks were caused by the bomb detonations and rocket testing activities on the Arsenal.   The City of Huntsville has long been monitoring the Arsenal blasting activities with seismograph instruments placed around the Arsenal boundaries.   As far as I know, the levels of ground vibration recorded during this same time period have all been deemed safe.

But you won't convince the homeowners in South-Huntsville.  They know better!

Actually, they're wrong.  They are not feeling ground vibrations.  They are feeling their house shake from what engineers call "air-blast" a fancy word for concussion or low-frequency sound waves.

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hail damage hoax

Hail Damage Hoax

Realtors... Has this ever happened to you? You're trying to finalize that Real Estate deal when the home inspector expresses concern about the roof, so you bring in a "reputable" roofing contractor. The roofing contractor says that a new roof is needed because of hail damage. The Real Estate deal is put on hold, or worse yet, canceled because of this new "revelation."  The seller's insurance company disagrees and denies the claim, but the buyer demands a new roof!

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buck vinyl siding test

A Trade Secret: “Buck’s Vinyl Siding Test”

There's still a lot of confusion in the Real Estate industry about brick veneer cracks. I've been preaching for years that well over half of all cracking in brick veneer homes is NOT due to major foundation problems. But there are still dozens of home inspectors out there who are afraid of these cracks and the liability they think the cracks present, so they recommend that home buyers enlist the "Free" services of a foundation repair company to determine if the cracks pose a true threat. So, I'm going to help you in this little article to determine, with 90% accuracy, whether or not that brick veneer crack is of any major concern. I call it "Buck's Vinyl Siding Test."

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Are You a Fiduciary?

So, are you a Fiduciary?

"A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties (person or group of persons)."

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never be able to sell this house

We’ll Never Be Able to Sell This House!

"We'll never be able sell this house!" This is a statement I've heard countless times during my 31-yr inspection career.  It's a harrowing statement agonized by way too many homeowners and often sympathized by their ill-informed Realtors.  Based on my personal experience, ninety-plus percent of the time this statement is ridiculous.  Why is it often spoken?  It's always because of silly little cracks that form in a home's drywall, brick veneer and/or foundation walls.  It seems that most folks believe that any crack is a telltale sign of structural failure and so some type of major (expensive) repair must be performed in order to give a prospective buyer confidence that the cause of the crack(s) has been taken care of via some form of foundation underpinning or structural repair.  And the saddest thing is that way too many times, expensive structural repairs are implemented without the proper studies to determine if they are really needed.  It's usually a complete waste of money-money the homeowners probably did not have to spend.

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