Browse Category by Building Design
Building Design

Cracks on Your Exterior: Do They Indicate Foundation Problems?

Cracks on Your Exterior: Do They Indicate Foundation Problems?

Homes and commercial buildings rely on strong foundations to support them and keep them level. When a foundation starts to fail, the whole structure can be in danger. But, how can the building owner tell if the foundation has problems? And, if the foundation has problems, how can they be fixed? After all, a whole building sits on top of the foundation and can not be moved for repairs. Actually, some structures can be lifted so that a badly damaged foundation can be replaced or repaired and then will be lowered back onto the foundation.

Do Cracks in Stucco, Stone, or Brick Wall Always Mean Foundation Problems?

Brick, stone, and masonry building materials are strong but are not pliable. So, there are forces that cause movement in a building that results in cracks. Bricks can wear out or become damaged and require replacement. The joints between bricks can break down and need to be tuckpointed. These defects do not mean foundation problems. But, there are cracks that do indicate foundation problems, and it is important to know the difference.

Contacting construction companies or building engineering companies such as roofec precision exteriors or foundation specialists may be the best way to find out what those cracks mean and arrange to have them repaired professionally. Different cracks have different causes and meanings.

Horizontal cracks

Horizontal or jagged cracks running at 45-degree angles can mean there are serious foundation problems such as a shifting foundation or some form of water damage. Small cracks can be repaired with different types of patching compounds. But, more serious cracks need professional attention and repair of the foundation as well as the crack to avoid additional damage.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks might be caused by settling after construction and are easier to fix. They do not usually mean foundation problems.

Stair Step Cracks

Stair-step cracks might mean that the soil has settled or shifted beneath the center of a wall. the cracks usually follow grout or cement lines. They are most common in unfinished basements with cinder blocks. This type of crack must be repaired by professionals, and foundation soil tests must be performed to determine which type of repairs will be needed.

Cracks That Include Bulging

If a wall has cracks and bulging, it means structural problems such as the foundation shifting or settling unevenly are present. This condition must be repaired from the foundation up by professionals.

When Are Foundation Cracks Serious?

Cracks in exterior walls or foundations can be serious depending on where they are located, the size of the cracks, the number of cracks, and if the cracks are getting larger over time. Serious cracks in exterior walls and foundations can lead to problems with the building’s structure, framing, roofing, doors, and windows. It can lead to water leaks in basements.

Up to 98% of the homes in America have foundations made of concrete, brick, or masonry blocks, all of which will crack if subjected to movement or excessive stress. Areas where the soil has a large clay content will have more issues with soil movement.

Signs that indicate a foundation problem include:

·         Sagging or uneven roofs

·         Cracks in brick, stucco, or another masonry siding

·         Cracks or gaps at door or window corners

·         Doors or windows that do not open and close correctly or stick

·         Cracks in a concrete slab or garage floor

·         Sloped floors

·         Cracks in walls or ceilings

·         Leaning or bowing foundation walls

·         Chimneys that are leaning away from the house

Walking around the house is a good way to look for foundation problems and exterior wall cracks. Once the above signs are spotted, it is time to call in a foundation or engineering specialist for help.

What Causes Foundation Problems?

·         Tree roots can damage building foundations

·         Settlement causes cracks

·         Expansive soils with heavy clay content

·         Drainage issues cause water build up along the foundation that results in cracks

·         Plumbing leaks can cause water buildup around or under the foundation causing damage

·         Rotation of the foundation

·         Poor soil compaction before the footings are dug can cause the foundation to fail

·         Engineering defects and poor design can lead to foundation failure

·         Adding a second story onto a house whose foundation is only built for one story and can not support the added weight

·         Lack of proper reinforcement of the cement in the foundation. Rebar is needed for reinforcement of poured cement

·         Ground frost uplifting or heaving in cold climates

·         Geotechnical problems such as earthquakes, landslides, or sinkholes

It is important to get professional opinions on the cause of the cracks, the seriousness of the cracks, and the proper way to repair them and the foundation of the building. It won’t do any good to patch a crack on exterior walls or interior walls without repairing the cause of the cracking. if the foundation is damaged and left that way, the cracks will just come back and get worse.

If a foundation is failing, the whole building will develop serious structural issues if the problem is not repaired. Foundation repair must be left to foundation experts and contractors who may need the input of building engineers to design a workable solution and repair plan.

The worse thing a building owner can do is ignore cracks in exterior or interior walls or cement floors or foundations. Those cracks will not go away on their own. They will get worse over time and will let water seep into them and create even worse problems for the building. The longer cracks and foundation problems are left, the more extensive and expensive the repairs will be.

Any building owner should keep a close eye out for cracks and other indications of basement leaks, foundation wall cracks, or exterior masonry wall cracks. Once trouble spots are observed, professionals should be called in to inspect the foundation and repair it. Once the foundation is repaired, the cracks in the building’s walls can be repaired. Do not neglect a building’s walls and foundation.

Building Design

Top Tips For Building Your Home From The Ground Up

Top Tips For Building Your Home From The Ground Up

***Collaborative post***

As anyone who has ever searched for a home can attest – it’s nearly impossible to find a property already on the market that ticks every single item of your checklist. While this sometimes means that you need to make certain allowances (Goodbye games room), it also presents you with a unique opportunity to throw caution to the wind and build your own home.

Yes, you read that right. It’s entirely possible to build your own home – meaning that you can take the vision that currently exists within your head and build it up one brick at a time. However, it goes without saying that this is a huge task – and will set you moving plans back considerably. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile investment toward achieving your dreams and creating the perfect family home that will be the envy of all your friends! 

With that in mind, here are some top tips you can use if you’re considering building your family home from the ground up! 

  • Try to find a way to put your vision down on paper. Whether that means you draw a series of sketches or write down an in-depth description of the space. This means that you’ll be able to communicate clearly with any of your construction team – be that an architect or builder – and ensure you are working towards the same finishing point. 
  • Understand that this project is going to cost you a considerable bit of money. While you can reduce some of the costs by using DIY to stay on budget, you must have a clear idea of how much you can spend overall and how that money will be divided throughout the project (i.e. what areas of development will cost you the most). 
  • Ensure that you have planning permission and other legalities covered from the start – as you don’t want to land yourself in a difficult decision further down the line. For example, you could work with companies such as Arbtech Consulting to ensure that you obtain planning permission ahead of time, ensuring that your project is completed much quicker and without unnecessary interference. 
  • Get in touch with a variety of construction companies, paying close attention to any online reviews. This can help you decide whether or not you want to work with a specific company and provide you with an insight into what to expect when working with them. 
  • Remember that the hard work doesn’t stop when you’ve finished the building’s exterior – as you still need to find a way to make a house into a home. As a result, you need to put just as much effort into the interior decorating portion of the project. However, this stage is often the most fun – as you get to buy new furniture, experiment with bold colours and can get the whole family involved in the process! 

While you shouldn’t necessarily buy the cheapest available materials (as they may not always be the best quality), keep an eye out for online deals and discounts that can save you considerable amounts of money in the long run.

Building Design, Design

Those Unmissable Steps In Any Home Construction

Those Unmissable Steps In Any Home Construction

When you are looking for ways to improve the overall look of your home, there are a lot of things that you will want to consider. Probably most important of all is considering some kind of renovation, which can easily be achieved in a number of ways. If you are thinking of carrying out some kind of construction in your home, there are some essential steps that you should be aware of. In this post, we’ll take you through some of those steps, so that you can ensure you are going to get it done much sooner and with greater success.

Ideation & Planning

First of all, you need to be really clear on what you want to change in the home and why. Only by having a strong idea that you love will you be able to find the necessary motivation to carry on, and you are going to find things so much easier in this way. So, spend some time asking yourself what kind of ideas you want to put into place. How do you want your home to look and feel, and what are you going to do to make it a reality? This is going to be essential in getting started.

After you have your essential idea, you then need to draw up a basic plan for how you are going to achieve it. That can be a difficult part of the process, but it is also one of the most important, so it’s vital that you do not overlook it if you can help it. This plan should include what you want the home to look like at the end, as well as what you are going to do – in the major steps – to make it a reality.

Of course, you can go very detailed into this plan if you like, but you should bear in mind that this is not always going to be easy to do, and you might need to keep things simple instead. It’s all about finding the right balance for you and your project. But one thing is for sure: some kind of plan is bound to be essential.

Finding A Team

If your project is a considerable one, you are probably going to need to find a team who can work alongside you. This is not always going to be easy to do, but again it is likely going to be essential, so you should make sure that you are thinking about it for that reason in particular. Most of all, you need someone to help with the blueprints and plans, such as a qualified architect. You will also need to look out for a construction team whom you feel you can trust, of course, and that can be something of a challenge in itself.

The important point here is not to land on one option too quickly, but rather to try and find a team who are likely to work with you and offer you the best opportunity that you would hope for. This means spending time shopping around, and trying to follow your nose with regard to finding a team you feel you can trust.

Carving Out Time

The project in question is always going to take some time, so you need to make sure you can find it. That might mean you need to take some time off work, or even that you need to think about doing something along the lines of shaking things up in your life in a more profound way. The important thing is that you are going to have enough time to get the project done, but without having to rush and cut corners – as that can often end up causing a lot of problems in itself.

Once you have landed on a particular time frame, you are going to find it so much easier to get the ball rolling in a significant manner.

Put Up Scaffolding

Before any actual construction can be done, you need to find a team who can construct the scaffolding for you. In most cases, this should be a pretty straightforward affair, but there are always going to be times when you need to find a specialist team who can offer you in house design scaffolding instead, which can help to make the project much more successful and easier to complete. Without this vital step, it is unlikely the construction work is going to go ahead as planned.

Sourcing Materials & Equipment

In most cases, your construction team is going to come with many of their own equipment and materials, but there will likely be a lot that you also need to source separately. Anything that you are going to use for the construction of something new is necessary for you to source, for instance, so that is something that you should consider. It’s important to think about this before you get them in, so that you can be sure they have work to do the moment they arrive. They are unlikely to appreciate it if you are not doing this, and it could delay things considerably too, which is not going to help things along.

Review

While the construction is taking place, you should consider how much of an active role you want to have, and act accordingly. However, whichever level of action you get involved in, you should also make sure that you are frequently reviewing the construction process, so that you can update the plan as required along the way. One rule of thumb is that you can always expect your plans to change, and you never know quite how they are going to change. Being on top of things and paying close attention at all times is therefore going to prove to be a useful skill, for you and everyone involved.

If you can bear that essential process in mind, you should find that your home construction is much more likely to succeed, and that you are going to have a better result at the end.

Building Design

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

Things to Consider Are

If you feel like you have grown out of your home and would like to improve your lifestyle, you will have to choose between turning unfunctional spaces into storage or living area, or adding space through extensions. Unfortunately, both projects will come with a lot of mess and you will need to compare the benefits and the cost before you start making plans. Apart from the finances, you will also have to work out how long you will need to be without a bathroom, central heating and air conditioning, and other services. Below you will find a few tips on how to make your home renovation project work for you.

The Look Of Your Home

The first thing you have to do is make sure that you are going to be happy with the end result. This means that you should create professional plans and check how your home will look like from the inside and the outside. If you are planning on adding an extension, the shape and style of your home will change completely, and you might as well ruin the curb appeal of the house. Engage with a professional and find out how you can improve the look of your home without breaking the bank or reducing the value of your real estate.

Style

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

You will also have to choose a style that matches your taste and the current property trends, After all, you want to be able to sell on the home when the kids have flown out or you need to relocate. The more popular the layout and style is the better chance you will have to make a good return on your home improvement investment. Home renovations cost a bit, so you need to ensure that you are able to improve the look of your home while making it more comfortable for yourself and your family.

Cost

When decided whether to renovate your property or to add an extra room or two, you need to make sure that you can save money and your sanity, too. You will be able to improve the lifestyle of your family, but at what cost? You might get into debt to pay all the contractors and not even get the results you are expecting. It is always better to invest more in the beginning in your plans to make sure you are not wasting money on features and services you don’t really need.

Stability of Your Home

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

When making structural changes to your home, or adding extensions, you need to make sure that nothing compromises the stability of the walls and the foundation. If you want your extension to be as strong as your home, you can buy Reinforcement Products Online and join the existing foundation with your new build extension. This is important when it comes to insulation and structural stability.  

Heating and Electricity

When you are doing a full renovation in your home, chances are that you will need to upgrade your boiler and your electricity as well at the same time to support the increased number of outlets and radiators. Changing your existing plumbing and heating system is not cheap, so you will need to get a couple of quotes in to find the best solution; extending your system or complete replacement.

Permissions

Your architect firm might be able to take care of the permissions for you, but you also have to check local authority’s building regulations to avoid being caught up in a legal battle. Ask your neighbours about their views, especially if you are looking to complete an extension or a garage conversion. If you live in a townhouse, the noise that comes with the work might upset some of the residents, so you have to make sure you are not creating more problems than necessary.

Roofing

When starting a home extension project, you will also have to consider whether or not to improve your roofing and insulation. The last thing you want to happen is one half of your house looking completely different from the rest, of having problems with dampness and guttering. Consult with a roofing specialist and compare the price of matching your existing roof or replacing the entire structure and all the tiles.

If you are considering a major home improvement or an extension project, you need to be aware of the difficulties ahead and calculate the total cost, or you might end up in debt and never be able to finish the work on your own.

***Collaborative post***
Building Design, DIY tips, Exterior design

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

If you’re deciding on how to build your home for the first time, there are plenty of things that you should know before getting stuck it. Building is a great alternative to buying because you don’t have to settle for something if you can’t find what you’re looking for. You can just create your own dream house, something completely different to what anyone else has, because it has came from your mind and not an ad online.

Let’s get started.

Arrange the finances

It is absolutely essential that you come up with a budget, along with how you plan on paying for this project, as this will determine how big (or small) the house can be. It’s important you be realistic with your budget to avoid disappointment. You don’t want to envision something incredible, and then realize you have no means of getting the finances to cover it.

Find a building plot

You will need to decide on a location for your home to go. This can be a long process because not only will you need to find somewhere that you have the right to build on, but you also have to like it. You will need to consider things like distance from the nearest shop, doctor, school, and work.

Find a team   

You have the choice of what kind of designer you choose. You could hire in an architect as well as a builder to work alongside one another. Or you could go with a package supplier, which is the person that does everything. Just make sure you find the right person for the job. They should understand and be able to visually see your idea while also giving you their honest opinion on things if they don’t think that it’s a good move. For example, when deciding on the framing, there are plenty of steel frame homes pros & cons. Now you may not have any idea what these are – but your team should.

Contact the planners

Starting communication with the planners is a wise move so that you know early on whether your project is viable or not. By doing this, you will have a better idea of what will and won’t be accepted in terms of the scale that you want your home to be, as well as the different materials that can be used. This will give you the best chance of getting your planning permission because you did everything by the rule book without trying to cut any corners.

Start the build

Hopefully, by this time everything has been accepted, and you have the freedom to build exactly what was planned. If this is the case, then it’s time to start. Now although you may not be doing the work, it’s important that your presence is always around so you can oversee exactly what is happening, and if it’s how you had all discussed. Of course, you should have every trust in your team that they create your vision exactly how you said, but sometimes it has been known for builders to stray away from that. So you must be there to keep an eye on how things are running. – If there is something that you’re not sure about or weren’t aware of – speak up.

***Collaborative post***