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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
ADVANCED INSPECTION METHODS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS
BRICK STRUCTURAL WALL Loose Bulged
BRICK WALL THERMAL EXPANSION CRACKS
BRICK VENEER WALL Loose, Bulged
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLD POUR JOINTS, CONCRETE
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS, PRE-CAST
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES
Cracks, Checking or Splitting Beams & Log Homes
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK COLLAPSE Case Study
DEFINITIONS of Mobile Home, Doublewide, Modular, Panelized
DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR, ENGINEERED WOOD & LAMINATES
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOOTINGS EXPOSED, Repair Methods
FOUNDATION CONSTRUCTION TYPES
FOUNDATION CONTRACTORS, ENGINEERS
FOUNDATION CRACK EVALUATION
FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE
FOUNDATION INSPECTION METHODS
FOUNDATION INSULATION OPTIONS
FOUNDATION MATERIALS, Age, Types
FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIRS
FRAMING CONNECTORS & JOIST HANGERS
FRAMING MATERIALS, Age, Types
FRAMING SIZE & Spacing, Age, Types
FRAMING TABLES, SPANS for DECKS
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
I-JOISTS, Wood Roof Floor
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
LOG HOME GUIDE
LVL Laminated Veneer Lumber, Beams
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OSB - Oriented Strand Board
PLYWOOD Roof, Wall, Floor Decks & Sheathing
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
PRE-CUT & KIT HOMES
Preservative-Treated Framing Lumber
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
ROT, FUNGUS, INSECT DAMAGE
SEARS KIT HOUSES
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
SLAB CRACK REPAIR
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STONE VENEER WALLS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE PROBING
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD STRUCTURE ASSESSMENT
Role of frost, freezing, & clay or wet soils in foundation heaves, cracks, damage: this article explains the main causes of foundation cracks, buckling, or collapse in areas of freezing weather, clay soils, or wet soils. We provide suggestions for avoiding foundation damage or collapse in areas of freezing climate, and we discuss the proper foundation insulation locations and materials for use in problem areas. In this article series we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Photo (above) shows a new foundation constructed below a New York home after a catastrophic foundation collapse caused by wet soils.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Most foundation failures in clay soil have nothing to do with freezing. The culprit is more often the expansion of the soil when it absorbs water. In Fargo, said housing engineer Lambert Vogel, when the soil dries out and shrinks, it can pull away from the foundation as much as two inches to a depth of three feet or more. Either the wind or the homeowner is likely to fill this crack with loose soil. When the clay soil gets wet again and expands, crack goes the wall - if it is weak.
In some areas of expansive clay soils such as portions of Colorado, builders install a soil watering system below the building's foundation and slab in order to prevent this clay soil shrinkage during dry weather.
Readers who need to diagnose the cause and decide on the cure for foundation damage should start at FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE. Readers should also see BASEMENT HEAT LOSS for a discussion of basement and foundation insulation. Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.
Vary rarely do foundation walls cave in from insulation, except possibly in Duluth, Minnesota, where all the conditions are ripe for foundation failure: lots of rainfall, clay soils, very cold winters, and building practices that often do not include foundation drainage to assure that soils close to the building foundation are not water-saturated.
But you can prevent all frost-related foundation damage problems by following standard good building practices:
Given basically sound foundation and site work, it is acceptable to insulate a building foundation inside (giving up the thermal mass benefits to the building) or outside, and to install foundation wall insulation half-way, full-height, or flared-out - anywhere in the continental United States.
In foundation insulation retrofits in very cold climates, life is not so simple. What if you have an un reinforced concrete block foundation, a frost-susceptible soil (clay or silt), and poor site drainage? Then we would be reluctant to install any foundation insulation without first correcting the site - at the very least by conducting surface water and roof spillage well away from the building foundation.
Where the integrity of the foundation wall is in doubt, there are compromise solutions. We might install half-height insulation on the inside of the foundation wall, or half-height insulation n the outside of the foundation wall with the addition of at 2- to 4-foot flare. But don't expect good thermal performance with half-height interior foundation insulation on an open-core concrete block foundation wall. Convection in the concrete block cores will carry heat right past the insulation.
Also consider the wintertime temperatures in the basement or crawl space. If the building owners have insulated the basement or crawl space ceiling, and are heating with a woodstove upstairs rather than a furnace or boiler in the basement, the basement walls, not to mention the water pipes (see WINTERIZE A BUILDING), could get very cold.
Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about causes of foundation buckling or collapse
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