FAQ’S

Inspection FAQ’s

When it comes to purchasing or maintaining real estate in Dallas Fort Worth, there are a lot of unknowns. Luckily, our Licensed Home Inspectors and Licensed Professional Engineers can help you fill in the blanks to make an educated decision. Read below for frequently asked questions regarding home inspections, foundation inspections, and structural evaluations in Dallas Fort Worth.

Foundation Repair FAQ

FAQ’s – HOME INSPECTIONS DALLAS FORT WORTH

Who needs a home inspection?

Who needs a home inspection?

Whether purchasing a home for personal use or to add to a rental portfolio, it’s important to protect your investment. A home inspection provides peace of mind and can highlight costly deficiencies and maintenance issues. We recommend having a Certified Home Inspector perform an unbiased home inspection if:

  • You are purchasing a home in Dallas Fort Worth.
  • You are considering listing a home for sale in Dallas Fort Worth. Pre-listing home inspections proactively resolve deficiencies and can save thousands of dollars during negotiations. Remember, it’s better (and usually cheaper) to make repairs on your own timeline than to scramble around last-minute once you’ve found a buyer.
  • You are building a custom home in Dallas Fort Worth. New construction home inspections are absolutely necessary! In fact, our Home Inspectors find deficiencies all the time. Read the blog on New Construction Home Inspections for more info.

How much does a home inspection cost in Dallas Fort Worth?

How much does a home inspection cost in Dallas Fort Worth?

The cost of a home inspection can vary, depending on location, square footage, and age of the house. In addition to the standard rate, there may be additional fees for add ons such as a termite inspection, irrigation inspection, pool/spa inspection, etc. For a custom quote on a home inspection in Dallas Fort Worth call 817-576-1973, email our office or fill out the home inspection inquiry form.

What does a home inspection checklist include?

What does a home inspection checklist include?

TEC performs all home inspections in Dallas Fort Worth with the highest standards, as outlined by InterNachi and TREC. Throughout the inspection, we examine more than 600 components, taking images along the way, examining each component for structural soundness, proper function, and code compliance. For a more detailed list, read our Home Inspection Checklist.

Can a home inspection uncover foundation problems?

Can a home inspection uncover foundation problems?

You may or may not know that Dallas Fort Worth is notorious for expansive clay soil. As such, foundation problems are really common in the DFW metroplex. The mere mention of foundation repair strikes fear in the hearts of many homeowners and potential buyers! Even so, most home inspectors simply cite, “refer to an engineer” if they see common signs of foundation problems in a home. However, TEC home inspectors go above the industry standard to gather home foundation elevation levels. They’ll use the data collected to better differentiate between cosmetic flaws and structural damage –  so you don’t have to hire a structural engineer for a foundation inspection unless absolutely necessary.

Home Inspection Dallas Fort Worth Arlington – Uncover Foundation Problems during the home inspection. 

Does Thomas Engineering perform termite inspections in Dallas Fort Worth?

Does Thomas Engineering perform termite inspections in Dallas Fort Worth?

If you would like a termite inspection we have professional termite companies that we collaborate with to provide termite reports (also known as WDI reports). Don’t worry, we’ll handle all the details! All you have to do is mention that you would like to add a termite inspection, and we will add it to your total home inspection cost.

How long does a home inspection take?

How long does a home inspection take?

The average house in Dallas Fort Worth is around 2,000 square feet. For a newer home with a concrete slab foundation, estimate about 3 hours for your home inspection. Don’t forget to make sure that your home inspector has everything he needs to perform your home inspection.

Read Home Inspection Prep – Tips for Home Buyers below for pointers:

    home inspection dallas Fort Worth tips for buyersHome Inspection Dallas Fort Worth – Tips for Buyers

Should I be present during the home inspection?

Should I be present during the home inspection?

Yes, you absolutely should be present during the home inspection, and here’s why:

  1. You are about to make a sizeable investment and need to know all the facts, straight from the source (your home inspector).
  2. If you are present at the home inspection, you can ask questions about the condition of the home in person (compared to trying to understand answers over the phone).
  3. TEC home inspectors are incredibly thorough, but others may try to cut corners and rush through the inspection. **TIP: Choose a TEC Home Inspector instead! : ) 

SIGNS AND CAUSES OF FOUNDATION PROBLEMS

How do foundation problems affect building a new home?

You shouldn’t wait for foundation problems to appear before you do anything about it. In fact, you can start as early as when the actual structure (foundation) isn’t there yet. If you’re planning to build a new home, you should make sure that your home foundation is designed by a registered professional engineer. You can’t just rely on any contractor, because having a professional engineer from the onset can help prevent the occurrence of future home foundation problems. The engineer will most likely take soil samples from the build site and design an engineering plan that takes into consideration the characteristics of this soil.

When your home is being constructed, your role is then to ensure that the builders are following the specifications provided by your engineer. While this does not guarantee that you won’t experience home foundation problems in the future, it certainly reduces the risk by making sure that your foundation is properly constructed.

Do the seasons affect foundations or cause problems?

When seasons change, weather is not the only thing that’s affected. Your home foundation can be affected as well, especially if you live in an area with soil that’s rich in clay. During winter and spring when there’s a high quantity of rainfall, soils tend to absorb more water, which makes the soil expand. This expansion affects the home foundation that sits on top of the soil and could cause it to move up.

During the dry months of summer when there’s hardly any rainfall, the soil tends to lose water and shrink. This makes the clay-rich soil contract, which in turn also causes the home foundation to move down.

This constant moving up and down could cause foundation problems, especially because it also affects the sheetrock crack. However, this is considered as an occurrence that’s more or less normal, and the damage to the sheetrock and even the brick veneer is usually just minor and easy to address.

Why are there so many homes with foundation problems in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?

Home foundation problems are actually more common than you think. So don’t despair when you encounter problems of this sort. There are certain areas however where home foundation problems are more common, and this is due to the soil’s moisture content. The soil in most areas of North Texas, including Dallas/Fort Worth, can be characterized with high clay content. This makes such areas very prone to moisture absorption, which in turn causes the soil to swell – even more than other types of soil in other areas.

When this type of soil dries, it also has a tendency to shrink. This means that because of the type of soil in the area, the foundation is easily affected by variations in weather conditions. There are of course other causes for home foundation problems that are not at all related to soil moisture content, but the type of soil found in the area certainly plays a big part. This is why it’s also important to have access to soil-specific data.

What does foundation upheaval mean?

Unlike foundation settlement that’s caused by the shrinking of the soil, foundation upheaval is caused by the soil’s expansion. When the moisture content of the soil increases, it tends to swell. As the soil swells and expands, foundation upheaval occurs, especially around the home foundation’s perimeter. Simple seasonal changes can cause this, but there are also other factors that can lead to upheaval. These factors can result to more serious problems, which is why you have to take them into consideration:

      • Poor drainage conditions
      • Plumbing leaks that makes water soak into the soil
      • Building a slab foundation over an area that was formerly heavily wooded
      • Building a slab foundation in an area where the soil was removed or cut down to result to leveling

Foundation upheaval problems can be as complicated as they get, so it’s best if you go to a professional engineer to help you out.

What does foundation settlement mean?

Foundation settlement is a problem that is particularly noticeable during dry and hot months. The excessive dryness of the weather and the lack of rainfall can cause the soil to be very dry as well. Without sufficient moisture, the soil tends to shrink. The shrinking of the soil then affects the foundation and results in “settlement.” This can be traced to three factors:

      • Evaporation – The heat from the sun causes the water in the soil to evaporate, and this dries out the soil, especially the outer perimeter of the foundation. In dry months, there’s no rain to replenish the moisture content of the soil, so evaporation is extra strong. There’s also a higher evaporation rate in some areas of the house, which makes the soil more prone to settlement.
      • Transpiration – Settlement can also occur because water in the soil is removed by the roots of nearby trees and shrubs. Nature dictates plants to do this, because they also need water to live. This dries out the soil even more and causes settlement.
      • Fill materials – If the fill materials used to level the lot were not compacted properly, the soil consolidates over time. This consolidation combined with factors like the weight of the home, gravity and even water, can cause a foundation settlement that usually shows up a couple of years after construction is completed.

Are cracks a sign of foundation problems?

Some people immediately panic when they see cracks on their walls, but not all cracks are equal. For instance, you may notice that you have some cracking in your sheetrock and your foundation’s brickwork, but you don’t find any in your slab. There are many things that can affect slab cracking, such as the quality of the concrete as well as the amount of deflection. The brickwork and sheetrock are commonly the first to show signs of distress. These are all signs of foundation problems, and even when you don’t see a crack in your slab, there could be a microscopic crack that’s not necessarily visible to the naked eye. The point is that cracks shouldn’t be there and they are certainly not normal, so yes, they should be a point of concern. Many home foundation problems can be prevented from escalating simply by investigating the cracks that you see.

How do I know if my property has home foundation problems?

TEC-DFW-Signs-Symptoms-of-Foundation-MovementKnowing how to spot home foundation problems is necessary because it allows you to solve these problems before they worsen. When the problem affects the home’s foundation, this means that the foundation will seem as if it’s moving. If it seems that it’s no longer stable, then this means something’s fundamentally wrong. However, these problems often occur over time, and you don’t really notice them until you see any of the following:

  • Unexplainable cracks on the bricks and walls
  • Sloped or uneven floors
  • Separation at corners or joints (e.g. the wall and ceiling, wall and floor)
  • Doors or windows that are hard to close because they’re suddenly uneven and/or misaligned

Home foundation problems are usually first manifested with tilting, which happens when the foundation suddenly tilts uniformly to one side. You will notice that your floor seems to be tilted, and this could point to a problem in the soil below the foundation. Thankfully, tilting doesn’t cause as much problems in the sheet rock and it can be remedied.

Sometimes however, home foundation problems also point to differential movement, which compared to tilting is not uniform and affects more than one portion of your home foundation. This phenomenon is more common than you think, and it causes more problems to your sheetrock, doors, walls and overall structure.

Should I be worried about home foundation problems?

TEC-DFW_Foundation-Cracks-FIRST-Call-for-Expert-InspectionMaking sure your home has a solid foundation is important because it will mean a lot to the maintenance and sustainability of your structure. After all, you want your home to last. Home foundation problems come in various types, and knowing how to judge the severity of the problem is important. Typically, you need to start worrying about repairing the foundation if the problems already affect the livability of your home. For instance, while a tiny crack can be forgivable and doesn’t really affect how you live, it’s an entirely different story when you already have huge cracks on your walls, excessive tilting on your floors, and doors and windows that you can no longer close.Aside from making your home less livable, foundation problems should also worry you especially if you plan to sell your property in the future. These problems reduce the market value of a property significantly, and sometimes, the severity of the home foundation problems can prevent you from selling the property altogether. Evaluating the problem as early as possible and doing the necessary repairs can help sell your property faster.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEMS

Does poor drainage cause foundation problems?

Drainage is the one thing within your control that you can immediately fix to solve your home foundation problems in the long run. It may not seem immediately obvious, but poor drainage is one of the root causes of soil upheaval, as it allows excessive quantities of water to reach the soil. This makes the soil expand and subsequently causes your foundation to heave upwards.

In areas that have clay-rich soil, home foundations become very prone to upheaval. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, a foundation upheaval of as much as 12 inches has been recorded, and this is due to the soil being very prone to moisture expansion.

These conditions make it all the more important for a proper drainage system to be put in place. As a homeowner, you should make sure that the soil’s moisture content in your home is kept constant all year round, and drainage plays an important part in this. During the rainy months, make sure your drainage system allows water to drain away from the foundation. On the other hand, make sure you water the soil properly and regularly during dry season so that it doesn’t become too dry.

Do trees cause foundation problems? Should I cut them down?

Trees play a big part in causing foundation settlement, because they directly affect the moisture content of the soil. But think twice before deciding to cut down them down. Cutting down trees may not always be the solution, especially if you have a slab foundation near the roots of a mature tree. Simply cutting down that tree can cause the soil to rehydrate, which subsequently causes unwanted upheaval. Additionally, when you cut down a tree that’s decades old, there’s no going back. Have the situation assessed by a professional engineer or an arborist.

What you should also realize is that sometimes, the tree isn’t the root cause of the problem. It could definitely affect the moisture content of the soil, but this doesn’t mean that its existence is the primary cause of moisture loss. It may be because you’re not watering the soil as much as you should, and the tree only aggravates the lack of moisture. But this means that you can do something about it as well.

Creating a root barrier between the foundation and the tree can also be a possible solution. Basically, a root barrier keeps the roots from having access to the soil that’s near your foundation. But you can’t just create the root barrier without consulting with an arborist, because it can also cause unwarranted damage to the tree. The root barrier is somewhat like a ditch that’s around 12 inches wide and 3-4 feet deep. Installing the root barrier properly could solve the problem and allow you to fix your home foundation issues without cutting down the tree permanently.

What are the main causes of home foundation problems?

Getting to the root cause of your home foundation problem requires a peek into the main reasons why these problems occur in the first place. It’s always a case to case basis when it comes to home foundations, but the reasons can be narrowed down to several main causes:

  • SOIL

The soil in which your foundation rests plays a big part in causing your foundation to move. Foundation problems are usually caused by soil movements, especially when you live in an area where the soil is highly expansive. Upheaval occurs when the soil expands due to high moisture content. What people need to realize is that the high moisture content of the soil is not just caused by things you have no control over like rainfall. Sometimes, it can also be caused by poor decisions like not taking care of leaks and plumbing problems, watering your plants excessively, watering too close to your home foundation, and not fixing your drainage system.

Settlement on the other hand happens when the soil lacks moisture, particularly during the dry season. When there’s a drought, the soil tends to contract and this affects the foundation as well. You should also make sure that during the dry season, you water your soil adequately.

  • CONSTRUCTION CHOICES

How your home was constructed also plays a big part in foundation problems. If you didn’t consult with a professional engineer when your home foundation was being made, or if your foundation isn’t well-designed, then this will eventually cause problems in the future. Also if the lot in which your home stands was simply “filled” when construction was ongoing, then this fill could be compacted as time passes and this might affect the foundation. “Filling” is usually done to level out a lot before building occurs, and there’s nothing wrong with it per se, but you should make sure that the fill materials aren’t loosely or poorly compacted by your builder.

  • SURROUNDING ROOT SYSTEMS

You might want to check if your home is surrounded by trees, because trees usually come with complicated root systems that suck out all the moisture from the soil during the dry season. Trees need moisture as well, and large quantities at that, so if there are roots around your home’s foundation then this could affect it by causing the soil to dry out and shrink.

If you have trees planted near your home foundation, then making sure you water your trees adequately can prevent this problem from arising, but there are also other ways to address root systems.

  • DRAINAGE ISSUES

Your plumbing and drainage system can affect your home foundation adversely by allowing water to excessively penetrate the soil found under your home foundation. This can be solved by ensuring that your gutters are installed properly. You should also see to it that the downspouts bring the water at least 5 feet away from your foundation. If it’s too near the foundation, it can cause problems by increasing soil moisture content.

You also have to ensure that water isn’t retained too close to the foundation, not just with drainage but with landscaping beds for instance that are raised and that have metal edging. Additionally, you should provide at least 6 inches between the foundation walls and the soil gradient, at least in the first 10 feet. At least 4 inches should also be provided between the bricks and the ground. All of this will result to proper drainage and fewer (if any) foundation problems.

PREVENTING FOUNDATION PROBLEMS

What role does weather play in the preventing foundation problems?

Seasonal foundation movement is common, which is why people think it’s normal for the foundation to move down during summer and come back up during winter. If it moves like this seasonally, then who needs repairs, right? That’s where most people are wrong.

The fact is, the foundation settlement during the dry months of summer is normally not matched (on an inch by inch basis) by the foundation upheaval during the wet months of winter. This means that the elevations are left lower with each season, and it will eventually affect your home foundation.

What you can do is be on the constant lookout especially when weather conditions change. This is because to keep your home foundation stable, you need to provide as much constancy and stability with your soil’s moisture content as well. If you find a way to keep the moisture content constant throughout the year, then this will prevent home foundation problems from occurring.

In times of excess rain, you should make sure that the water is drained rapidly away from your home foundation. In times of excess dryness on the other hand, you should make sure that the soil receives moisture either through a sprinkler system or a soaker hose. A soaker hose should be kept at least 1 ½ to around 2 feet away from the home foundation, otherwise you will also add too much moisture on the ground surrounding the home, and you don’t want that to happen.

You should also keep in mind that the different sides of your house may require different quantities of watering. Evaporation plays a big part in removing moisture from the soil, so if you take into consideration that evaporation is usually stronger on the west and south sides of the house, then you’ll water that area more. Having a couple of areas that are shaded and protected from the sun and the wind will also matter.

Do I need to know the difference between a surface drain and a French drain?

Having the proper drainage systems in your foundation can help prevent problems, but what you should understand is that there are different kinds o drains. A surface drain is effective in removing surface water, while a French drain is effective in removing moisture from the subsurface. You need to ensure that the contractor installs the right kind of drain, otherwise it will lead to further damage. The right kind of drain will depend on the situation of your home foundation as well as the moisture or drainage problems you are trying to address.

Can I do anything about drainage to prevent foundation problems?

Implementing some changes in the drainage conditions of your house can improve your chances of preventing home foundation problems. First, you should make sure that you have good drainage especially around the foundation. You can’t allow water to form puddles or “ponds” at least within 10 feet of your foundation. Installing rain gutters can also help, especially if the downspouts are positioned properly to prevent the water draining near the foundation.

Looking at how the ground surface is sloped can also affect the efficiency of your drainage. Your flowerbeds and ground surface should ideally be sloped at around 5%, which translates to a 6-inch drop for a 10-feet distance. This 5% slope away from the foundation should be implemented at least for the first 5 feet away from the foundation, on all sides. Beyond 5 feet, the surface of the ground should then slope in an angle that’s enough to drain the water away from your home. If possible, drainage swales should have a longitudinal slope of around 2%. This translates to a 6-inch drop for a distance of 25 feet). The slope on the other hand should at least be 1% (translating to a 3-inch drop for a distance of 25 feet).

How should I address plumbing leaks?

Plumbing problems are common, and homeowners are very familiar with the occasional leaks. If you have a leak in your pipes and your plumbing, this means there will be excessive water in areas where the leak is. What’s worse is if you’re not aware that the leak exists, because you can’t exactly do anything about it. Aside from the usual plumbing leaks that cause a lot of water wastage, there are leaks that directly affect the moisture of the soil.

This happens when the plumbing leak can be found directly under a concrete slab. These concrete slab foundations are actually useful in resisting the variations in soil moisture. The soil under the concrete slab usually stays in equilibrium because it’s shielded from rainfall and evaporation.

However, when there’s a plumbing leak and it happens under the concrete slab, then that equilibrium will definitely no longer stay as is. The leak makes the soil even more moist, and this will result in the movement of the foundation. This is why it’s important to address plumbing leaks right away.

How can watering methods help protect my foundation?

You’ll be surprised that something as simple as watering properly can significantly affect your home foundation problems. You should remember that the soil’s changing moisture content is one of the main reasons of foundation problems, and this can be solved by proper watering. If you already follow a watering program that consistently regulates moisture through a sprinkler system, then this is a good start.

Watering the entire landscape is important, although you should pay close attention to the area surrounding the foundation, especially if you find that the soil starts cracking or if it appears to be pulling away from the foundation. This means that the soil lacks moisture. If there are a lot of trees and other plants in your yard, then you should make sure that your watering system takes all of these things into consideration.

The moisture should be applied to the soil near the foundation in a manner that’s systematic and slow. This means you should probably rely on an automated sprinkler system and not on pouring buckets of water to the soil. A soaker hose can also be used, as long as the holes are installed downwards, around 18 inches from the foundation.

When watering, you should also take into consideration the weather. You can’t overwater especially if it’s the rainy season, because overwatering can cause just as much damage (i.e. foundation upheaval) as underwatering (i.e. foundation settlement).

Can I add rain gutters to control foundation movement?

Adding rain gutters to your roof will not only prevent roof damage, it could also very well help you control unwanted foundation movement. People sometimes underestimate the quantity of water that comes off a house’s roof, and you can only imagine how much this quantity rises when it excessively rains.

If you install rain gutters around your home’s roofline, this can help control excess water from reaching your soil, for as long as you make sure that the downspouts are properly positioned. Just make sure that the downspouts deposit the water a couple of feet away from your foundation, otherwise it will affect the moisture content near your foundation. You can install your downspouts in a way that the spout terminates into a drain pipe that’s buried, so that the water is really discharged away from the house.

Can I help solve home foundation problems by installing a sprinkler system?

A sprinkler system can help as long as you understand that what you’re solving is the underlying moisture problem. The system per se won’t solve your home foundation problems you don’t use it to control the moisture content of the soil all year round. If you understand that what you’re solving is your soil’s ever-changing moisture content, especially during times of drought, then a sprinkler system can certainly help.

Having a sprinkler system will allow you to regulate the “watering” of your soil, and it allows you to do it in such a way that you don’t have to exert as much effort. It then becomes very convenient for you to regulate your soil’s moisture content, and all you have to do is ensure that the water valves are placed at least 5 feet away from your foundation. If you have control over how to put up the system, it would also help to have a sprinkler specifically designated for the soil that’s directly surrounding your home foundation. This allows you to make sure it has enough moisture during the dry months, without overwatering the rest of your yard.

Should I pay attention to my crawlspace?

If you see water in your crawlspace, you shouldn’t ignore it. Paying attention to your crawlspace can help prevent home foundation problems, because crawlspace moisture can actually lead to structural wood damage. This leads to problems with the quality of the air you breathe as well as the invasion of insects. Standing water in your crawlspace should be a cause for concern because it can lead to problems with your foundation, if not solved early on.

Can installing piers help my foundation be more stable?

Aside from controlling the moisture content of the soil, there are also other interventions that you can do to make your foundation more stable. Installing piers under your home foundation for instance can help increase its stability and rigidity. If your home foundation is a lot more rigid, it can withstand whatever upward or downward movements are caused by changes in the soil’s moisture content. If your piers are properly designed and installed by an engineer who knows the area’s soil conditions, then this can do a lot in preventing foundation problems.

The proper design and installation of piers are important in making the piers effective, because this often requires that the piers are installed with the proper depth. The engineer needs to be very specific and precise about where the bed rock is located, and this ensures that the piers are installed deep enough. Site-specific data can be very expensive when it comes to the soil and the bearing, so it’s best to just choose a professional engineer that’s familiar with the area. If the pier is not installed properly and lacks in depth, then it can potentially move if the soil is unstable.

On a more specific note, these are the two reasons why installing piers is important:

  • Piers can prevent the settlement or the downward movement of the foundation, at least within a 7-foot radius. Within that area, the piers can prevent the soil from moving downward. However, it’s important to note that beyond this radius, the other surrounding areas may still be subject to settlement and upheaval, especially if it’s due to other factors like changing seasons, the presence of trees and root systems, as well as the improper compacting of fill materials.
  • Piers can bring the foundation into a level position, especially in those areas that are currently not leveled. If the pier is firmly installed In a stable bearing strata, then this really makes your foundation so much more stable, no matter how many times the soil contracts or expands due to varying moisture content and other factors.

PROFESSIONAL HELP WITH FOUNDATION REPAIR

How do I know if the foundation contractor is following the Engineer’s specifications?

Once you’ve chosen your contractor, the next step is to make sure that the contractor follows everything specified by the Engineer. If you have chosen a qualified contractor that you can trust, then this obviously shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you need to find a way to double check and you can’t exactly understand what the report says, then it would be best to also ask an independent engineer to check on the progress of the repair.

If you ask an Engineer to inspect the site during the implementation of the repair plan, then this will lead to fewer errors and ensure that all the repairs are being done in compliance with the Engineer’s specifications and requests. The inspection should also be done after the repair is completed, to ensure that the design specifications were really complied with. A compliance letter can even be written by the Engineer to the homeowner to ensure that everything is properly implemented and you have the documentation to prove it.

Which foundation repair contractor should I choose?

After the Engineering report is complete, the next step would be to select a good contractor that can implement all of the Engineer’s recommendations. What’s important to note here is that you shouldn’t just choose one from the onset and stick with it. You can ask several contractors to present their bids, depending on what’s seen in the Engineering report. The bids you receive from the contractors should match the specifications that are detailed by your Engineer in the report.

When these contractors present their bids, you should also take into consideration other factors and not simply look at the price they’re offering their services at. Pricing is an important factor of course, but you should also look at the thoroughness of their proposal, the timelines they provide, the insurance details, and even the reputation and experience of that particular contractor. You can check past clients and find out how satisfied they are with the work of the contractor.

What should I expect in my Engineering Report?

Once you ask an engineer to inspect your property, you will typically get an Engineering Report that contains everything your contractor needs to know in order to fix it. However, not all reports are created in the same manner. You have “Level A” reports that’s quite limited when it comes to scope, but is enough when all you need is an overview. A “Level B” report on the other hand gives you all the structural defects you need to know about, as well as details on the differential evaluations. It also gives you sound recommendation based on the thorough inspection that was just done. This is the minimum report you should look for before you purchase a new home or ask a contractor to repair your foundation.

A good report will basically mirror a thorough inspection, especially in terms of giving you an idea about what needs to be done. Detailed specifications and recommendations regarding repair work will also be included.

Should I be worried about professional fees?

The professional fees that the engineer will charge you are of course a matter of concern, but you should keep in mind that your property is also valuable. As such, you should get only the best person to inspect it and the fees shouldn’t be a primary decision point.

The fees are also usually dictated by the scope of the inspection, because some properties require more effort and time to inspect. Depending on the value of property, you should match this with the expertise and experience that you require from the engineer you will be hiring. An entry-level engineer will of course charge lower than someone who has been in the business for so decades.

Why should I hire a professional engineer?

In hiring an engineer to inspect your property, you might as well make sure you hire a professional. These are the ones with “P.E.” attached to their names. Engineers don’t become professional simply by completing an Engineering degree from an accredited college. Of course an Engineer will need to have studied the necessary subjects like mathematics (including calculus) and related engineering sciences such as thermodynamics, structural analysis, fluid mechanics and others. Getting a diploma isn’t enough, because to become a professional engineer, you need to have enough experience (at least 4 years) that’s active and verifiable.

Texas Board of Professional EngineersIn Texas, professional engineers need to be certified by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. They also need to have 3 character references from professional engineers that are already licensed. These character references must stem from a personal knowledge about the individual’s character, suitability, reputation and experience.

You can also ensure that your engineer is truly suitable by hiring from an Engineering Firm like Thomas Engineering Consultants that’s also certified and registered. A registered engineering firm will have full-time professional engineers that you can rely on.

In choosing your Engineer however, you should also understand that just because your engineer has “P.E.” attached to his or her name doesn’t mean that person is already the best person to do the job. You should consider other factors like qualifications and length of experience. Has that engineer done similar work in the past and is he or she able to provide the detailed report that you need? Is your engineer willing to give you references from past contractors or clients?

Why should I choose an independent engineer?

When it comes to solving your home foundation problems, you’ll need a contractor to help you out. Before the contractor however, you need to hire a qualified engineer to do the inspection for you. This engineer will then give you an Engineering report, which will be your basis for what you want the contractor to do exactly. Choosing an engineer independent from your contractor will ensure that you get only the most unbiased opinion on what the repairs need to be. Because the independent engineer isn’t connected with the actual repair from your contractor, you can be sure that he or she will keep your best interests at heart.

You should also be wary about contractors that offer a “free” Engineering report if you sign up with them on the spot. Some contractors that do home foundation repairs merely hire “inspectors” or “specialists” that are not really engineers but simply estimators. Some of them even provide you with an estimate without necessarily going to the site. They also typically tailor their proposals and estimates based on what the contractor already offers, even if this isn’t what’s best for your property. Hiring an independent engineer from Thomas Engineering Consultants will address all of those problems and make sure you get the best solution for your particular situation.

How do I choose a foundation repair method?

Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the repair options that contractors are offering. It’s important to note that home foundation repair isn’t like getting instant gratification by picking from a menu. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to home foundation problems, and this means that you need to have a qualified professional engineer check your property.

Home foundation problems are varied because each situation is different, so you really need to have an Engineer inspect your property up close. You can’t just make a couple of guesses either, because it’s really different when these problems are seen from the critical eye of a professional who does it for a living. Only then can the engineer actually propose a solution that works specifically for your property, taking into consideration the structure as well as site-specific data on the type of soil your foundation stands on.

Are foundation repair options permanent?

If you fix something that’s broken, that doesn’t take a way the fact that it was broken. People ask the question of how long they can expect foundation repairs to last typically because they want to know if it’s worth it. If the repair isn’t permanent, then just sell the property and make the new homeowner worry about repairs, right? Wrong.

The reality is that if you have foundation problems, you might not even be able to sell your property, let alone get it at a competitive price. There are many ways to prevent foundation problems as well as some interventions that you can do yourself. While all of these interventions, nothing beats professional help with qualified Engineers and contractors.

With professional help, you can properly analyze the foundation problem and the repair plan can offer a long-term solution. No Engineer or contractor will tell you that this is a guarantee for home foundation problems never to occur again in the future, but at least you’re fixing the problem where it can be fixed. If you have a qualified and professional team, then they can really fix the problem and make your home function as if it were brand new again.

If the impermanence of the solution still bothers you, you should consult with your realtor regarding the timing of your repair. What you should note however is that fixing your home’s structural problems could definitely make it worth a lot more in the real estate market, and this is something you should take into consideration vis-à-vis the amount of money you will be paying for the repairs.

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Thomas Engineering Consultants – Dallas Fort Worth

Home Inspections | Structural Evaluations | Foundation Inspections

Licensed Home Inspector Jobs

TEC is now hiring Licensed Professional Home Inspectors for our Dallas Fort Worth location.

Remember, owning real estate in Dallas Fort Worth is a long-term investment! You deserve to know the facts BEFORE you commit to purchase a new home or perform foundation repair on one you already own.

Thanks for reading our FAQ page. We hope that all of your questions have been answered. If not, feel free to call our office at 817-576-1973 or shoot us an email. We are happy to help!

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DFW

(817) 576-1973

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(888)-235-5523

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601 Corry A. Edwards Drive
Kennedale, TX 76060

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