Structural Engineer Arlington TX | TEC provides engineering reports for home foundations in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding cities. Read the blog for homeowner tips and tricks for preserving your home’s foundation.
Dallas – Fort Worth Foundation Evaluation
In Dallas – Fort Worth, there are many factors that can cause your foundation to lose structural integrity. Sometimes the soil beneath a home can start to settle and shift. Unfortunately, the foundation will shift as well. A foundation evaluation by a Licensed Professional Engineer is the best way to fully understand what is happening to your home’s foundation.
Fixing unleveled flooring and filling cracks in the wall is easy, but you need to determine the root of the issue. Physical flaws in your home could be a signal to something more serious and complicated. Choosing an engineer for a foundation evaluation should be your first recourse.
Engineers are trained to look at all aspects of the home’s foundation, and they are equipped with the knowledge needed to recognize problems as they arise. When the foundation problem involves more than just the framing and foundation, having an independent engineer on your side becomes quite handy. They know how to look beyond the surface, and this is good because beyond the surface is probably where the problem belongs.
Factors to consider in finding a good independent engineer
Identifying and fixing a structural problem is like a sick person going to a doctor. You have symptoms that you’re not well, and the doctor examines you and conducts a couple of tests to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. The diagnosis of your disease will depend on how good the doctor is, and in the same way, getting to the bottom of your house’s foundation problem will depend on how good your engineer is.
Here are some things you need to consider before choosing an engineer for foundation evaluation:
License: Having a licensed professional engineer inspect your house will streamline the process and ensure accuracy. As this article by HSH.com highlights, a home inspector could very well uncover a structural problem, but a licensed professional engineer not only uncovers the problem, but he or she will know exactly how to deal with it. Getting a licensed engineer from the beginning will save you the hassle— and money.
Professional Affiliations: Some people think that gaining membership to professional clubs is simply about paying the dues. Not true for engineers; they must pass difficult eligibility requirements and adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Credibility: If the independent engineer is affiliated with a credible inspection institution, then you should be fine. However, as a homeowner, you can never be too careful. Be sure to check their references and get referrals.
Thomas Engineering Consultants has a reputation for client satisfaction.
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Home Inspector | Dallas Fort Worth Arlington Mansfield
There are several challenges that a Home Inspector must overcome to keep the home inspection process running as smoothly as possible. If you are a homeowner or a realtor in the selling process, there are a few things you can do to help your listing shine during a home inspection. We interviewed a TEC Licensed Professional Home Inspector, and he gave us this Home Inspection Checklist, 10 Ways to Prepare:
Home Inspection Checklist – 10 Ways to Prepare
1. Don’t assume that the utilities are still on.
Confirm that the water, electrical and gas services (including pilot lights) will be on during the inspection so the home inspector can determine if the dishwasher, hot water heater, stove, electrical components, etc. are functioning properly.
2. Make sure your pets won’t hinder the inspection.
I love dogs! Unfortunately, they don’t always welcome me. Please remember to alert the inspector if animals will be present during the appointment. It is best to remove them from the premises to speed things along.
3. Check your light bulbs.
I can’t tell you how many homeowners forget to replace old light bulbs with new ones before an inspection. Take the time to replace any burned-out bulbs (prior to your appointment) to avoid a “light is inoperable” comment on the home inspection report.
4. Replace dead batteries.
Don’t forget to replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors too! A home inspector will do a walk-through of your home and test these items. Any detectors with a missing or low battery will be listed in the report as a deficiency. It might not seem like a big deal, preparing ahead of time can help keep your home inspection report short and sweet.
5. Check your filters.
Avoid an embarrassing reveal of filthy HVAC filters in front of a prospective buyer by checking them beforehand. When filters clog, they prevent proper airflow through the vents. Ill-fitting or dirty filters can cause the HVAC system to malfunction and will be noted in a report.
6. Clear debris away from the foundation.
Woodpiles, fallen branches, etc. create an ideal habitat for pests. To avoid a comment on “conducive conditions” for termites in your home inspection, clear a path before your inspector arrives.
7. Remove clutter.
Do a quick scan of the property and ensure that nothing is blocking access to major appliances, the HVAC equipment, all electrical service panels, hot water heaters, and attic entries.
8. Find your keys.
Make sure that you have copies of keys for sheds, attic doors, electric service panels, garages, exterior gates and any other locked areas that the inspector will need to access.
9. Trim your branches.
Tree limbs should be at least ten feet away from your home’s roof. An inspector will make a note of any offending branches in his report.
10. Tackle small repairs in advance.
If your property has missing doorknobs, locks, latches, window panes, screens, gutters, downspouts, chimney caps, etc., it is best to fix those prior to listing your home. A Licensed Professional Home Inspector is required to note all of the above in the home inspection report.
Selling your home can be an emotional and arduous process. By preparing your listing with this home inspection checklist, you will set the pace for a hassle-free closing. Happy selling!
To schedule a home inspection in Dallas, Fort Worth, or surrounding areas, contact TEC today.
You’ve probably heard this before; an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. It’s a cliché for a reason — because it’s true! The cost of foundation maintenance can be minimal and require little time and effort, but a foundation repair can cost you thousands of dollars!
Consider these 7 Tips for Home Foundation Maintenance:
- If you see minor cracks in your home, don’t ignore them. Write down where you found the cracks, and measure how long they are. Check the length of the cracks every couple of months or so. If the cracks are getting longer, it may be time for you to get a specialist to inspect your home and your foundation.
- Maintain a constant level of moisture for the soil around your house. The soil you find all over the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex can absorb and lose considerable amounts of water. During months of heavy rain, the soil will swell up when it becomes wet. During the summer and other dry months, the soil will shrink. This constant expansion and contraction put stress on the foundation of your home. To prevent possible damage, you may need to use soaker hoses to keep the moisture level steady. Watering your home foundation won’t fix your current foundation problems, but it will slow down the rate of deterioration.
- Provide drainage away from the foundation perimeter and ensure there is no standing water near the foundation wall or slab. This may encourage even moisture content underneath the slab and reduces soil movement under the foundation slab.
- Make sure the trees around your home aren’t causing problems for your foundation. Check with a specialist, especially if the trees around your home are large. Be sure to water the trees around your home in the dry season. Don’t be too stingy with the water, as large trees can absorb up to 150 gallons of water. If the trees can’t find the needed moisture, they will venture towards the soil beneath your home’s foundation.
- Keep the ground elevations of the flower beds around your home 3 to 4 inches below the slab. The flower bed should be sloped away from the foundation for proper drainage. Doing this keeps the moisture from seeping into the wall system or inside the home.
- Maintain a steady temperature inside your home. This will help prevent (or at least reduce) the tendency of the concrete slab to expand and contract. That means you shouldn’t let too long a time pass when you don’t heat or cool your home.
- Check for leaks inside and around your home. This includes checking your sewer line, potable water lines, and the plumbing system. Leaking water can cause adjacent areas of the soil to have inconsistent moisture levels, which will damage your foundation.
Following these 7 maintenance tips will go a long way in helping to protect your home foundation from damage and costly repairs. You might also consider an annual inspection as part of your ongoing foundation maintenance program.
Schedule today! 817-576-1973
What to Expect From a Home Inspection in Dallas – Fort Worth
The TEC team is always receiving questions from Dallas Fort Worth first time home buyers who aren’t sure what to expect from a professional home inspection. Buying your first home can be stressful! Don’t worry, we are here to help.
Frequently asked questions and answers about getting a home inspection:
Should I get a home inspection before I list my Dallas Fort Worth house?
Generally, home inspections are scheduled (at the expense of the buyer) before closing on the sale of a property. However, some sellers choose to do a “pre-listing inspection” prior to putting their home on the market. By working proactively to identify defects, the seller has sufficient time to schedule repairs and can control costs easily.
Is getting a home inspection required by the bank?
Not necessarily, but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. More than 95% of buyers opt for a professional home inspection. A good home inspector can help identify major deficiencies, helping you make an informed decision about your investment.
What does getting a Home Inspection involve?
A typical home inspection takes anywhere from two to four hours, depending on the size and age of the home.
Here is a short checklist of items that you can expect your home inspector to examine:
Home Inspection Checklist (Exterior)
• Brick and mortar – The home inspector should check the brick and mortar for cracks and deterioration.
• Siding, flashings, and trim – Damages such as frieze board separation can allow moisture (and critters) to enter the home.
• The roof, eaves, and fascias – We get some gnarly weather in Dallas Fort Worth. As such, a knowledgeable home inspector will carefully inspect exterior features, such as the roof.
• Exterior doors – Improperly sealed doors and rotted frames are another common entry point for moisture and bugs.
• Landscaping, grading, drainage and retaining walls – This is a huge one! A home inspector should make note of excessive water pooling around the home, missing gutters, etc.
• Decks, patios, balconies, and any steps, stoops porches or railing – Thorough home inspectors cite structural failures and potential safety hazards.
• Walkways, patios, and driveways – In the Dallas Fort Worth area, it is common for home inspectors to make note of cracks in concrete patios and driveways.
• Downspouts – Downspouts are cheap to install, but you would be surprised at how many homes fail to keep their gutter systems functioning properly.
• Skylights – It can be hard to tell if a skylight is leaking on a hot sunny day, or when moisture intrusion is minimal. That’s why we always suggest adding thermal imaging to your home inspection package. Thermal imaging picks up on broken window seals, leaky roofs, slab leaks, and other items that the naked eye may be unable to detect.
Home Inspection Checklist (Interior)
• Doors and windows – Your home inspector will look for broken seals, cracks, and missing screens.
• Ceilings, floors, and walls – A good home inspection involves careful examination of unleveled flooring, cracks in the sheetrock, nail pops, and other defects that could be an indication of foundation problems.
• Any steps, stairways or railings within the home – Your home inspector will do a visual inspection (maybe a wiggle test too) to make sure the stairwells and steps are safe and up to code.
• Countertops and cabinetry – Cabinet doors that swing open and fail to close properly let your inspector know that there could be some foundation settling.
• Garages and carports – Among other things, your home inspector will check to make sure garage doors are functional and carports are not in disrepair.
• Installed appliances – Your home inspector will run the HVAC, fire up the hot water heater, and test out major appliances for obvious issues.
• Fireplaces, vent systems, exhaust systems, chimneys and flues – One of the most common items pointed out during a home inspection are dirty HVAC filters.
• Smoke detectors – Smoke detectors with missing faces or dead batteries will be marked deficient.
• Plumbing – Running toilets, leaky shower heads, etc. will be pointed out during a home inspection.
• Water pressure – Lack of water pressure can hint to other plumbing issues.
• Attic insulation and vapor retarders – Another common issue uncovered during the inspection is inadequate attic insulation.
• Electrical wiring, switches, and fixtures – Missing plate covers and overloaded breaker boxes pose a fire hazard. A good inspector should check every outlet and all breaker boxes.
• Heating and cooling equipment, access panels and thermostats – All home inspectors carry a tool that helps them determine if the HVAC is cooling and heating properly at the time of the inspection.
Additional Home Inspection Services
Some home inspectors will also include floor level surveying to identify if there are any foundation concerns with the home. Other inspections that you might want to consider are irrigation inspections, termite inspections, and pool/spa inspections. Check with your inspector to see if their company offers these additional services.
Remember that a good home inspector should always be objective! They should take photos of defects and take the time to explain their findings to you. We always recommend that homeowners are present for the inspection to ask questions and make observations.
It is TEC’s mission to help Dallas Fort Worth homeowners make informed decisions about their biggest investment, their home. Call today to schedule your Professional Home Inspection with Thomas Engineering Consultants. (817) 576-1973
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