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The availability of land in prime areas is becoming increasingly limited, and home owners wishing to move into these areas are faced with the prospect of buying an existing home and remodeling or tearing the old one down and starting again. There are several advantages to a tear down in that the new structure can be built to current standards, be more energy efficient, and designed to suit the owner.file000478137373

However, it’s not necessary to demolish the foundations. Provided they are robust, in good condition, and strong enough to support the new building, they can be reused saving time, money, and materials.

Why Reuse Existing Foundations?

Depending on when the original structure was built, the existing foundations may comply with current building codes and be in good condition. By retaining these foundations, construction of your new building can start sooner and costs will be substantially lower.

It also avoids the need for extensive earthworks, which cause disruption, and the time needed to build new foundations. Reusing existing foundations is a cost effective solution and avoids the need for demolition of the current foundations.

Foundation Repairs

It’s probable that repairs will be required to the existing foundations and it’s necessary to obtain a full inspection report on the condition of the existing foundation before starting work.

However, once the old home has been demolished, any repairs are easily effected and this is also an excellent time to attend to the water proofing of the old basement to ensure that there are no future problems. Any external concrete repairs required can also be tackled, especially if there has been any subsidence or other movement.

Simpler Permits

It’s very likely that your building work permit requirements will be simpler because the original foundations are being retained. In some cases, permits may not even be needed. However, it’s wise to ensure there are no special requirements, such as the need to retain historical features, and to make sure the new building is constructed in compliance with local regulations.

Environmentally Friendly

Reusing your existing foundation helps the environment. First, there’s no need to demolish and dump tons of old concrete. Second, the damage to the local environment around your building is less as there is a limited need for earthworks and evacuations. Existing vegetation can be left largely undisturbed.

At the same time, your new home will use less energy and you can incorporate green features to further reduce the impact on the environment. Your neighbors are sure to welcome the fact that the construction time is short and they won’t be inconvenienced while your new home is being erected.

Design Advantages

Although there will be some design constraints from using the existing foundations, you will be able to introduce new solutions and model the structure to suit your needs. Should the need arise, it is possible to make alterations to the foundations to allow you to take advantage of modern building techniques.

The appearance of your new building can be modern and pleasing yet still comply with local requirements. By taking advantage of developments in building techniques, you will have a better insulated structure with new features that you wouldn’t be able to introduce if you simply remodeled an old building.

Let ESOG Show You the Way      

If you are considering a tear down, speak to the professionals at ESOG. We have over 30 years of combined experience in foundation restoration. Our team will ensure that your old foundations are in good shape and, if necessary, refurbished into tip top condition to enhance and provide a solid foundation for your new building.

 

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SinkholesSinkholes have begun to appear in various places around the world in recent times. In the various places that sinkholes have appeared, odd occurrences have come up.

Sinkholes happen due to a combination of erosion and the drainage of water. They can be a few feet wide to large enough to swallow entire buildings. Many times, they happen without warning. This happened in Kentucky at the National Corvette Museum.

At the time the sinkhole appeared, there were over five thousand Corvettes on the scene. Many fans had gathered from around the country to see the Corvettes. Luckily, the 40 foot wide, 60 foot deep sinkhole opened when the museum closed, so no one was hurt. However, a few of the Corvettes fell into the hole, causing a million dollars in damages. Museum officials were not aware of the sinkhole previously.

How Sinkholes Occur

Sinkholes are quite curious occurrences. Two types of sinkholes exist: the kind that develop slowly over time and the kind that happen suddenly. The former are called cover-subsidence sinkholes and the latter are called cover collapse sinkholes. Both have the same basic cause.

Sinkholes happen in areas of land where water causes the dissolution of soluble bedrock. With cover-subsidence sinkholes, the exposed bedrock is slowly worn down and water-filled holes form. These holes often become ponds. With cover collapse sinkholes, this process occurs unseen, underneath soil or sediment. The hole becomes heavy and collapses on its own weight.

The Cause of Sinkholes

Unfortunately, a lot of the sinkholes that occur nowadays are indirectly caused by humans. They happen when man made constructions cause runoff to concentrate in one area. Most sinkholes occur locally and don’t cause a lot of harm. However, there have been major sinkholes that have caused deaths, such as one that happened in Guatemala City. This sinkhole managed to swallow a three-story building and kill fifteen people.

The sinkhole that occurred at the National Corvette Museum was a subsidence-collapse sinkhole. The cause was believed to be the existence of underground caves. The museum has decided to keep a portion of the sinkhole to attract visitors. An attempt will be made to repair the other portion.

Repairing and Preventing Sinkholes

Repairing a sinkhole can be a daunting task, especially if the hole is large. Once it has happened, a drastic undertaking of removing rubble and filling in the sinkhole must take place.

However, if there are signs of a sinkhole, it can be prevented. If the foundation is unstable, it can be stabilized to prevent the hole from sinking in further. Since sinkholes are often caused by humans, they can also be prevented with human intervention.

Engineered Solutions of Georgia does extensive work with sinkholes, such as repairing damage done by them and preventing them. Since sinkholes can occur anywhere, even in the home, it is best to rely on the service of Engineered Solutions of Georgia for any sinkhole related services.

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foundation issuesThe foundation of your home or commercial property is where your entire investment rests. If you have cracks or serious issues in your foundation, you should always seek professional help immediately. Homeowners are often tempted by DIY options for minor issues. While epoxy putty is a great trick, it is merely a stopgap for preventing water and moisture from worsening the damage. Always have your foundation problems fixed at the first sign of trouble.

Your home is not the only thing that relies on a sound foundation; your health and security do as well. Foundation issues are usually caused by water damage. This can lead to unstable footing, mold, and other issues. Even small cracks can grow into bigger ones that can leave you with a serious problem on your hand.

Check Your Water Pressure and Accumulation

As was stated earlier, an epoxy solution will not fix the underlying problem. It is merely a temporary solution to keep the water out of your foundation. Groundwater from busted lines or runoff can accumulate around the foundation and put pressure on the walls. Always be aware of what is happening on your property. You never know what a routine stroll around the house will uncover.

At Engineered Solutions of Georgia, we offer structural engineering services for residential and commercial properties. While many property owners wait until disaster strikes before they seek professional help, a routine inspection is advisable, especially if you are in a high-risk area.

For DIYers, always make sure your drainage systems, including gutters and drains, are in good working order. Also, ensure your property is resting at the proper incline to lessen the chance for water buildup. If you have a perimeter drainage system, make sure it is not backed up and that the water is running away from the house as is intended.

Do Not Put Off Repairing Serious Damages Due to Costs

Foundations are capable of tipping, bowing, and severely cracking. This requires serious professional help. When this happens, a contractor will reinforce the foundation with wood or steel braces. One cost-effective solution involves epoxy stripping combined with carbon-fiber mesh. Your contractor will inform you of the correct approach for your unique situation.

Working with a good structural engineering service and experienced professionals will keep you informed of any weak spots on your property. Contact Engineered Solutions of Georgia today for more information.

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WaterproofingCrawl spaces are dark, unfinished, often underground areas that don’t get nearly as much attention as the rest of your home. These conditions make them ideal for fungus growth, especially if you don’t practice proper waterproofing techniques or check your crawl space regularly. Unfortunately, condensation collects even faster than usual in hot, humid Georgia. As mold and mildew build up and spread throughout the hot space, your consequences could range from headaches and breathing problems to severe structural damage.

Fortunately, all of these risks are preventable. For example, our crawl space encapsulation service creates an airtight seal to prevent structural damage, energy loss, odors, flooding, and other common consequences of moisture buildup.

However, certain construction choices will compromise an otherwise well-sealed crawl space, ultimately causing expensive, inconvenient, and potentially disastrous household hazards. Prevent unnecessary property damage by avoiding the following four risk factors in your crawl space.

Uncovered or excessive vents

Vents may seem like a good way to prevent moisture buildup, but it’s not that simple in a crawl space. In older homes, most crawl space vents are designed to stay open and circulate air, not dehumidify or eliminate water. During the summer, hot outdoor air may circulate through your cooler indoor spaces, creating condensation and all the risks associated with it. Precipitation also causes problems when vents are left open.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy warns that passive crawl space vents are counterproductive additions that retain moisture and heat. They call for exhaust fans and mechanical vents, which work together to ventilate moisture and stabilize air pressure and temperature.

Inadequate drainage

Outdated plumbing is another red flag for crawl spaces, especially those that are underground or behind major plumbing installations. Standing pools of water invite insects to breed and create electrocution hazards, and flooding does irreversible damage to your belongings and support structures.

If your plumbing system doesn’t have an effective drainage system, your pipes may leak or burst to relieve the water pressure. In a large crawl space, such as a basement, there should be a recessed drain on the floor itself that’s capable of draining large amounts of water quickly.

Spray foam insulation

One of the most popular forms of insulation comes in a high-pressure can. This foam expands rapidly to fill tight spaces, so it’s a common choice for wall cavities, roofs, attics, and basements. It’s also one of the most energy-efficient options for walls, because it’s so effective at blocking heat, air, and water. However, the very same properties that make spray foam insulation so effective could actually cause problems in your crawl space.

If you have wood walls or beams, moisture may get trapped between your foam and the wood, causing these support structures to start rotting. If your insulation is open cell foam rather than closed cell, it will absorb water vapor rather than trapping it.

Fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass is another poor choice for crawl space insulation, because it absorbs moisture and traps it in the contained space.  Unless you inspect your insulation frequently or schedule regular energy audits, you may not realize it’s a problem until it’s too late. This insulation is designed for use in well-ventilated spaces with exhaust systems that send water vapor outdoors.

Remember: fiberglass isn’t a protective barrier against water, and if water does collect on it, the insulation will actually sponge it up instead.

 

If you notice any of these problems in your home, contact us to learn more about our basement waterproofing services. Our dedicated specialists will work hard to make sure your crawl space is waterproof and sealed.

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If you are dealing with a damaged concrete slab or cracked foundation, Engineered Solutions of Georgia can help get you back on solid ground. We use a highly advanced poly lift system that showcases the best in modern engineering and uses affordable and cutting-edge technology to offer you a lifetime of support.

Expert Diagnosis

Our system starts with a thorough assessment that will determine the cause of damage and diagnose the status of the soil beneath your concrete slab. This soil is typically crack in home foundation that needs repairthe source of major damage. Over time, changing weather conditions, erosion and other forces of nature can take their toll and destabilize foundations, causing your concrete slab to settle and crack. Luckily, our experts can restore stability by restoring the integrity of the soil beneath your foundation.

Quick and Precise Repairs

We use a common sense approach to repairs, which means that your concrete slab can be back in commission in just one day. After the site has been evaluated, our experts will drill 3/8 inch holes in strategic positions. These holes will allow our experts to inject Precision Lift foam, which will fill in voids, strengthen the soil and return the slab to a level position. Our specially engineered system is so accurate that your concrete slab can be adjusted by 1/10 of an inch at a time. We will slowly and deliberately lift your slab so that you don’t have to worry about repairs down the road.

Experience the Poly Lift Difference

Repair dangerous cracks and level out uneven surfaces with our quick and affordable Poly Lift System. If you truly want to address the cause of your damaged or uneven concrete slab and not just apply a temporary bandage, then you have to find the source. Our system offers a lasting solution because it gets right to the root of the problem by stabilizing and strengthening the soil beneath the slab. By using innovative Poly Lift foam, we can restore your concrete slab in no time.

Commitment to Customer Satisfaction

We also have a commitment to providing superior customer service. Once your concrete slab has been repaired, we will thoroughly clean the site and meet with you to review the job and ensure complete customer satisfaction. After we pack up and leave, the only sign that we were ever there will be your newly repaired concrete slab. We won’t call a job finished until you have given it your personal stamp of approval.

A Step above the Competition

Other comprehensive solutions may also cost you more time and money. You could opt for a complete replacement, but imagine the time and mess involved with taking on such a big project. It will require days of demolition and installation and general inconvenience. Traditional mudjack systems also lift the slab and fill in voids, but this requires more heavy equipment and uses concrete fillers. Why not go beyond concrete and opt for a more powerful and long-lasting material that can be injected without using invasive equipment?

If you are looking for a fast, affordable and long lasting solution to your concrete slab repair needs, then Engineered Solutions of Georgia has the obvious choice for you. We pride ourselves on using technology to perform true feats of artistry. While we might deal with concrete and Poly Fill foam, we approach each project with the eye of an artist and the precision of a surgeon. Contact us today to discuss your concrete slab project and learn more about the difference our Poly Lift System can make. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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Should you buy a home that needs foundation repairYou finally found your dream home. But do you know whether it has foundation problems? Surprisingly, many new homes have foundation issues. Some common signs of problems are cracking in the drywall, doors that jam when you try to open them, and cracks in basement walls or to a slab foundation. Should you throw in the towel and find another home? Well, perhaps not. Foundation issues do not automatically mean that you shouldn’t buy a particular home. Some problems can actually be fixed affordably through simple methods like pressure grouting. Others, however, will require major repairs, which can get costly. In the end, only you can decide whether or not the time, money and effort you’ll have to put into repairing the problems is worth it. Fortunately, though, there are a few tips that can help you make your decision.

Hire an Expert

To find out exactly what’s wrong with the home and what type of repairs are required, the best bet is to hire a structural engineer. A structural engineer can perform an inspection and let you know what’s wrong with the home foundation—and may even be willing to give you a professional opinion on whether or not the investment is worth it.

It’s not a good idea, however, to rely solely on the expert opinion of a home inspector, as they generally do not have an extensive understanding of structural engineering. While most home inspectors mean well, it’s best to consult a structural engineer for foundation questions or issues.

Check for Disclosures

Has the prior homeowner had structural repairs made to the foundation already? If so, make sure you get the details of what work was done and any warranty on it. Has the house been redecorated by the current homeowner? If so, ensure that the seller has disclosed any structural repair work that might have been done during the renovations.

Know What the Structural Issues Mean in Terms of Your Financing

If you happen to find out about the home’s structural issues after you’ve already secured financing for your home purchase, you might have to make some changes. Most lenders require the home for which they are providing the loan to be “structurally sound.” Or a lender may offer financing even if structural issues are evident, but might make you pay for the increased risk through higher interest costs or a sizeable increase to your down payment. And don’t even think about being dishonest with your lender. If you’re caught, you could end up in some serious trouble—and with a lot of money to pay back all at once.

Don’t Leave Repairs to the Current Owner

While it might be tempting to continue with the purchase of a home after the current owner agrees to make repairs, this could be a costly mistake. It is not in the seller’s interests to make sure the right repairs are done by experts. The better option is for you to decide who to hire for your foundation repair.

And before you give up on buying a home that you truly love, make sure you know whether the issues are actually going to cause you problems or not. Many foundation problems can be remedied by methods that are not exorbitant in cost. Getting an expert opinion from a structural engineer can help you make an informed decision.

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foundation crack

Tiny cracks lead to bigger ones. If you notice wall cracks or windows that are difficult to close or have fissures in the casing, your foundation may be the cause of the problem.

Other symptoms of a cracked foundation include:

  • Doors out of alignment
  • Cracks in garage columns
  • Leaning chimneys
  • Sloping floors
  • Basement leaks or dampness in crawlspaces

These conditions are often found in older homes and buildings. Various older homes may have been constructed with wood piers supporting the foundation. These  underpinnings may have wood rot and need replacement. Modern stainless steel push piers resist corrosion and are easy to install without begin invasive. This is a cost-effective way to repair a foundation, especially in older homes with sloping floors.

So What’s The Cost?

Quantifying the average cost of a home foundation repair can be difficult because of all the variables that can affect each home or structure.

  • A typical foundation repair using hydraulic piering runs from $10,000 to $14,000 for an average home.
  • A repair of a simple crack in a poured concrete wall is usually in the range of $800 to $1,500 per crack.
  • For slabjacking work, the typical cost of concrete removal and replacement on a porch or sidewalk is $150 per hole.

In addition to the complexity and scope of the problem, other variables that can add to the cost of repairs include:

  • Hiring a structural engineer to assess the damage
  • Getting a soils report prepared by a geotechnical engineer
  • Obtaining a local building permit, if required
  • Dealing with hidden obstacles in the ground

Although the total cost of foundation repair can be substantial, your home is often your biggest investment and well worth the cost.

To Repair or Replace

Repairing is far less expensive than replacing a foundation. A small crack may be easily repaired with an injection of polyurethane. A larger problem may require pressure grouting to restore the balance to the foundation if some of the soil beneath the structure has been washed away. Empty space beneath the foundation creates air pockets that can cause the foundation to crack at it settles.

Other means of restoring the foundation include leveling the area beneath the foundation, floor framing and replacing underpinnings when applicable. Restoring a foundation makes the best use of available resources while keeping costs down.

It’s Critical To Hire a Licensed Contractor

All repairs should be made by an experienced, licensed contractor who is familiar with Georgia area geology. ESOG professionals will work with you to find the most cost-effective solution to repair your foundation using the best materials. ESOG has an engineering license in addition to being a licensed building contractor. As a result, we can offer you a triple protection warranty that covers design, materials and all workmanship.

Our staff includes engineers and construction personnel with a combined 150 years of experience. This includes certifications from OSHA and MSHA and degrees in structural engineering.

Don’t wait for major foundation problems to affect the value of your home or commercial property. Contact ESOG today for a foundation inspection and consultation.

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There is one problem with zoning laws that restricts a home owner’s ability to enlarge their house outside the original building envelope; it confines that house to a certain size family and price range. Whether it is historical preservation or set back requirements or height requirements, if you can not get a permit to go up or back, you are stuck with the size of your house right? Wrong.

Engineered Solutions of Georgia has taken that problem and thought outside the box to solve it. We can increase your home’s square footage without increasing its envelope. Instead of going up or out, we go down. If you have a crawlspace, you could have a basement.

basement after crawlspace conversionMany experts, such as Advanced Energy, Habitat For Humanity, Duke Power and the EPA agree that dirt crawlspaces are not a good for you or your house. There are many new products to seal crawlspaces with plastic or concrete–but why not seal them with finished living space, a basement. This procedure is not easy and it is not inexpensive. If not done properly, it can be an absolute disaster. But done correctly, it is the answer to a prayer.

The concept is simple, but the execution is difficult and requires a great deal of skill and experience. The first step is to have a comprehensive engineering evaluation preformed on the home to determine how to eliminate some interior supports to maximize the usable square footage.

Once a plan is in place, the excavation can begin. Typically an access ramp needs to be dug and a section of the house shored and removed to allow a machine to begin the digging process. This stage is not unlike digging a mine shaft: supports are moved around as soil is removed until the old crawlspace becomes a hole the size of your new basement. The typical perimeter of the new basement is a minimum of two feet inside the original footprint of the house.

Once the space is excavated, the sheer dirt walls which now parallel the original foot print must be retained. The construction of a footing and retaining wall on all sides to the height of the excavation will act as a retaining wall as well as provide a place to begin the framing.

After the wall is completed, an interior drain system is installed to insure a lifelong dry basement. Each drain system is unique but typically consists of a collection system around the perimeter and an exit line to a sump system with both batteries and 110 volt power.

The walls of the newly created space are backfilled with drainage stone covered with a vapor barrier and a conventional concrete floor is poured. After the floor is poured, the space is ready to be transformed into any type of room you need: office, bedrooms, media room, bar, exercise room, mother-in-law suite, etc.

This is type of addition is a process that must be executed carefully and should not be undertaken by inexperienced contractors. You can expect to pay somewhere between $50.00 and $100.00 per square foot, depending on the size and depth of your crawl space and the way it is situated on your lot. For more detailed information about converting your crawlspace, contact us. Our foundation experts are happy to answer your questions, because we know educated consumers receive maximum value.

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Water damage from weather-related or other problems is extremely destructive because homes today are not being made like they used to. It doesn’t take much for drywall to fail. Therefore, you need to stay prepared for an emergency and have a plan in place so that you can act quickly when water damage occurs.

What Are the Five Leading Cases of Water Damage?

water damage in homeLeaks from various sources are primary causes of non-weather related water damage. If there is a leak, water collects in a growing pool. Timeliness is important to protect your property from worse damage.

The leading causes of water damage include:

1. Weather-related problems

2. Plumbing system problems

3. Water buildup in spaces prone to water collection, such as basements, attics and crawlspaces

4. Leaky household appliances

5. Leaking HVAC system problems

Use Helpful Preventive Devices

Consider installing mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of harm from an influx of water. There are many devices that help reduce chances of water damage. Some devices reduce the likelihood of any water problem occurring while others functionally serve as alerts to lessen the severity of an emerging problem.

Helpful devices available include:

  • Reinforced hoses for dishwashers, washing machine and refrigerators
  • Water pressure-testing gauges
  • Water detection devices
  • Water sensor/shut-off devices
  • Sewer backflow valves
  • Sump pumps to remove groundwater from the basement

At ESOG, we offer waterproofing services to help you prevent and detect any water problems.

Take Precautionary Measures 

There are several precautionary actions you can take to head off water damage from leaks:

  • Inspect and repair the roof
  • Trim trees and branches near your home
  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Make sure gutters and downspouts are in good working condition
  • Protect the foundation and basement

Splash blocks or downspout extension pipes direct the water away from the foundation. Check to see if you need to install these useful devices. To keep your basement dry and prevent flooding, the ground should adequately slope away from the foundation. As a precautionary measure, leave an adequate gap between the bottom of the drywall and the basement floor. This gap keeps moisture off from wetting the wallboard. Hide the gap with a rubberized floor trim or wood molding.

Show others in the household where the main switches for water and power are located. Teach children to inform adults when they see water collecting in unusual places inside the home. It is vital to spot a problem as soon as becomes visible so that you can prevent it from worsening. Prevention is the best remedy.

In Atlanta, natural and man-made causes commonly trigger water problems that often afflict basements and foundation. The structural engineering specialists at ESOG have the expertise you can rely on. Drywall is prone to structural damage from water, so to be safe, ask the experts for help. If you see a problem, ESOG foundation experts are waiting to help you. Do what you can to protect your property from water damage, starting today.