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Foundation Repair Glossary
Bedrock Foundation Repair, LLC
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BALLOON FRAMING a wood framing system whereas the wall stud members extend from the ceiling area to the foundation girder below the floor joists. In this system the floor joists are not attached to the wall studs, causing difficulty in supporting the wall above it while switching out a damaged girder. This system was common until the 1930’s. In conventional framing, the wall studs rest on a bottom plate, that sits on the floor above the floor joists. This is also known as box framing and stick framing.

BEAM also called a girder, runner, stringer. This wood member is 2 or 3 times larger than floor joist, and is unlikely to bend between the supports that should be every 6 to 8 feet. A metal I-Beam supports a large area without bending, allowing a house mover to move the entire structure at one time. Wood beams are typically used to support a structure, with the floor joists and flooring above the beam, and the supports and underpinning below the beam.

With a slab foundation, the beam is the thick part of the concrete slab, intended to support the weight above it without sagging, or bending. With the proper steel reinforcement, most slab beams, also called the grade beam, will not sag with supports no further than 8 feet apart, depending on the weight.

Some frame houses can be defectively constructed without an exterior wall beam, but only a flat sill plate installed. These defective structures should have a beam installed, to save the structure from dips and sags every few feet. Without installing a beam, then pier supports must be added under each floor joist.

BEDROCK a hard, solid rock that lies beneath the surface soil, that usually requires blasting or jack hammering to be excavated. Considered excellent for construction purposes.
can also be defined as one who possesses a high degree of integrity, the solid backbone of chivalry, good character and unbending honor.

BELL, or BELLED PIER the bottom part of a foundation pier that spreads outwards, wider than the pier shaft, producing more bearing support at the bottom, such as a spread footing.

BENCHMARK a reference point with a fixed location and height that does not change. A tree makes an excellent benchmark, because even though the tree grows significantly higher, the mark will remain at the same height and position. The foundation can be compared to the benchmark on the tree years later, and a determination can be made if the foundation is moving up or down. It is amazing that something as simple and natural as a tree has a near permanent foundation, whereas structures built by man regularly fail.

BERM a mound of dirt, placed against a building to protect it from temperature extremes, or a mound of dirt near a structure to soak up sound waves from nearby traffic noise.

BLUE SHALE the bluish or gray rock, usually formed from a hardening of mud and silt materials over time. The top of blue shale is usually soft and easily penetrable, but hardens more the deeper it goes. Blue shale is really not bedrock, but just sedimentary soil that has hardened and become firm over time. sometimes called mudstone.

BOARD FOOT equals 12″ x 12″ x 1″, or 144 cubic inches = 1 board foot.

BOIS D’ARC POST a pier support used entirely under frame structures, composed of a section of a bois d’arc tree. Bois d’arc posts are desirable because they do not normally rot and deteriorate easily, and they are not susceptible to termites and wood destroying insects. Bois d’arc posts are acceptable supports under a foundation if they are not flagrantly tilted, but a foundation typically requires additional supports that cover more bearing area at the bottom of the pier support.

BRIDGING installing wood blocks as stiffeners in between floor joists to prevent them from twisting. Good bridging will also prevent the floor from shaking.

BUTTRESS a concrete or masonry support mostly above the ground, outside of a wall, installed to stiffen and strengthen the wall, and built in a triangular shape outside the wall. Different from a pilaster, which is not triangular, but straight like a column, but serving the same purpose.

CAISSON an enclosed shaft that water is unable to penetrate, used for underwater construction.

CALIFORNIA SLAB A slab foundation that has a wood floor on top of it. Usually it consists of a 2 x 4 runner laid flat on about 16 inch centers, with wood flooring laid on top of the runners, leaving a hollowness to the sound of the floor. This makes one believe it is a pier and beam foundation.

CANTILEVERED means supported only at one end. Some structures can be designed to be cantilevered, and the unsupported end will not sag. In some cases, however, the structure is not designed properly to be cantilevered and supports are required to support the cantilevered end. Oftentimes, a girder under the house is cantilevered, and needs a support at the end for the foundation to be leveled and all sags taken out.

CARPENTER’S LEVEL a measuring device, usually 4 feet long, that has a bubble in the middle of it, to determine the level of a horizontal surface area. Some carpenter’s levels have another bubble to determine if a wall or vertical structure is plumb. A carpenter’s level is the most efficient and most reliable instrument in measuring the levelness of a foundation slab or floor. It can be quickly and easily placed on the floor, cabinets, on the top of door frames, window sills, and even along the brick mortar, making it the most versatile measuring device in the foundation repair industry. to see if there is an area that is not level. Sometimes a shorter level can be used, or a longer one, but the 4 foot level gives the best reading over a sufficient distance to make a determination of the area measured.

CEMENT a “glue” that forms that adheres other materials together, such as sand and rocks. Cement is usually made of silica, alumina, and lime. It hardens and works once it is mixed with water. Many other materials and substances may be mixed with cement to give it different qualities, such as fire resistance, water resistance, and other things.

COLLAR TIE, also known as a strut beam, installed in attic bracing to connect the two sides of the roof rafters. Without collar ties, the roof may push the outside walls of the structure out. With collar ties, the roof rafters stay together.

CONCRETE a hard substance made of sand, rocks, cement, and water. Concrete can have other ingredients added for color, resistance to water or heat, and other additives. Any additive can potentially weaken the concrete. Most foundations are designed with concrete poured at 2500 psi. This is also called 5 sack cement, because it should have about 5 sacks of cement per cubic yard of concrete, insuring it’s strength. 6 sack would be about 4,000 psi. Too much sand, or too little cement, will weaken the concrete.

CONVENTIONAL FRAMING a wood framing system whereas the wall studs rest on a bottom plate, that sits on the floor above the floor joists. This is also known as box framing and stick framing.

COOKIES large spacers placed between a support and the foundation of a structure. Under concrete foundations the cookies are almost always concrete thin blocks, but under a frame structure they can be wood or concrete.

CRAWLSPACE the area under a house, or structure. The minimum crawlspace should be 18″ below the floor joists, but in some areas, like New Orleans, the code requires 24″ below the floor joists in an attempt to motivate homeowners to pick their houses up as much as possible, away from rising flood waters. The hole from which to enter the crawlspace is called the scuttlehole.

CRIBBING a support system, usually of wood, stacked for temporary support of a structure, in most cases until a permanent support system can be installed. Also, a support system, usually of wood, to support a jacking apparatus intending to raise a structure.

CRIPPLE STUDS short, vertical wood frame members above a header and below a window frame, connecting the header to the roof load, or connecting the foundation to the window.

DEAD LOAD the weight of a structure without adding people or furniture.

DEAD MAN a large weight, made usually of concrete, used as an anchor and usually buried underground, to keep a wall from pulling away from the hill. It is also called a foundation pier made up of a large block of concrete under the structure that cannot be adjusted or altered without breaking it out. It is the most undesirable of all foundation repair techniques and repair methods, because it cannot be adjusted.

DIFFERENTIAL SETTLEMENT means that different parts of the structure are settling at different rates, causing cracking and pulling apart of the structure. Is different than subsidence.

DRY ROT a decaying of wood, caused by different kinds of fungi. For dry rot to occur, one must have poor ventilation, some moisture for the fungi to grow, and moderate warmth. Once dry rot begins, it can be controlled with adequate ventilation and moisture control, but rarely can it be removed because it is too deep in the grains of the wood. Wet rot require a lot of moisture, and of course, poor ventilation. The most common species that destroy the wood are Serpula lacrymans, Coniophora puteana, Fibroporia vaillantii, and Phellinus contiguus, but a number of them can be found in damp wood. Some molds may be extremely hazardous to your health.

ENGINEER a highly skilled and educated designer and planner of various fields. In Texas, to be called an engineer, one must first have a degree in engineering, then work for 4 years under the guidance of a registered engineer, then be approved by the State Engineering Board. After the degree in engineering, one can be called a graduate engineer only. A foundation engineer is one that specializes in the planning and construction of foundations, but is usually under the auspices of civil engineering. A structural engineer is primarily concerned with the mathematics and physics of structures. A civil engineer is involved in the planning and building of bridges, highways, drainage facilities, canals, and foundations. To repair a foundation, the most qualified engineer is one who has both experience and education in civil engineering.

Foundation repair experts must understand all the techniques of building construction, common structural defects, drainage problems and repair methods, different foundation repair techniques, and some knowledge of soil hydrology and the local geology. A good civil engineer must be prepared to crawl under a structure to inspect for defects and drainage.

Engineers not usually qualified for foundation and drainage repairs are mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, software engineers, and electrical engineers.

ENGINEER’S REPORT an inspection of a structure, residential or commercial, whereas a licensed engineer registered with the State from which the structure lies, completes a visual inspection of the structure, detailing what he or she believes are flagrant defects of the structure. A normal engineer’s report will list observations, make a conclusion from those observations, and make detailed recommendations how those flagrant defects should be corrected. An engineer’s report is sometimes limited to the economic condition of the area surrounding the structure and other factors. An engineer’s report is limited to the substructure, and does not usually concern the superstructure. One engineer’s opinion may differ from another, depending on what each may call a flagrant defect, and one engineer may recommend a foundation repair that may be different from another engineer.

EPOXY GROUTING a method by which concrete cracks are “glued” together. Prepared properly, the epoxy bond will be stronger than the concrete itself.

EXPANSION JOINT a flexible joint between to parts of a structure to allow for expansion and contraction of the two parts, preventing structural distress.

FILLING THE VOID a process by which a large void is filled, but not necessarily with pressure. In this process a large cave of a void can be filled quickly, leaving the last little bit for pressure grouting. Only pressure grouting will squeeze the mud into the small cracks and crevices that need to be filled.

FILTER FABRIC a material that allows water to pass through, but not soil particles or rocks.

FLAT WORK a section of concrete that is about 4 inches thick.

FLOATING SLAB a slab usually about 4″ thick inside a foundation wall, but not attached to the wall or foundation. A floating slab is usually just poured on grade and has no piers underneath. Many are constructed with little or no reinforcement, and simply provide a concrete floor to walk upon instead of dirt.
Most all pier and beam homes have a floating slab in the garage. The only way to raise a floating slab that has settled is by mudjacking.

The original idea of installing a floating slab is that it was thought it would “float” with the swelling soils, instead of the expansive soil crowning the floor. However, it is a junky poor idea that should be scrapped.

If you don’t want swelling soils, install drainage. Water causes the soil to swell. A monolithic slab is better than a floating slab, and it’s design has good structural integrity.

FLUSH GIRDER a girder that is placed where the top of it is even with the top of the floor joists.

FOOTING a concrete slab, usually 8 inches to a foot thick, placed under the perimeter or the interior of a foundation. A continuous footing is a concrete foundation footing that runs around the edges of a structure.

FRAME HOUSE FOUNDATION a type of construction, usually residential, whereas the foundation is composed of individual piers throughout, generally on 6 foot centers, and the home has wood or asbestos siding. Each individual pier must separately support the weight above it. With a frame foundation, one can usually crawl under the structure, and cross ventilation is necessary to air out the crawl space.

FRIEZE BOARD, also called fascia, a horizontal, decorative band of wood around a house, where the siding meets the roof members. Where the frieze boards are separated at a corner is a common sign of foundation settlement of that corner. The corner of the wall will rotate outwards as the structure settles, pulling the frieze boards apart.

FASCIA also called a frieze board, a horizontal, decorative band of wood around a house, where the siding meets the roof members. Where fascia boards are separated at a corner is a common sign of foundation settlement of that corner. The corner of the wall will rotate outwards as the structure settles, pulling the fascia boards apart.

GIRDER a wood beam, sometimes metal, to spread the weight above to the foundation supports below.
This wood member is 2 or 3 times larger than the floor joist, and is unlikely to bend between supports every 6 to 8 feet. A metal I-Beam supports a large area without bending, allowing a house mover to move the structure. Wood beams are typically used to support a residential structure, with the floor joists and flooring above the girder, and the supports and underpinning below the girder. Can also be called a runner, beam, or stringer.

GRADE BEAM the perimeter band of concrete that is thicker and deeper than the remainder of the concrete slab foundation, or the interior strip of the concrete slab foundation that is thicker and deeper to allow for the support of the above loads. The grade beams will support above loads with less bending and deflection as the usual interior of the slab, which is usually only about 4 inches thick. Most grade beams under residential construction are about 10 inches thick and about 2 feet tall. If a load bearing wall was placed on a 4 inch thick of slab, without a beam, it may likely sag downwards in the future.

GUNITE a hard substance made from cement, sand, water, and sometimes also small pea gravel. Gunite is sprayed on with a sprayer, and the materials are mixed at the point of being sprayed from the nozzle. Gunite is commonly installed for most swimming pools, because it can be sprayed on in layers, enabling the contractor to pour a vertical wall, spraying on a little at a time. Gunite can sometimes be defective because the materials are not always well mixed. Spraying shotcrete is better, because the materials are mixed well first, then sprayed on. Both are sometimes installed on hillsides to prevent erosion.

HEADER a wood or metal support beam that transfers weight placed on it’s middle to each end of the header. A weak header will bend, but a properly designed header will transfer the weight above without bending.

HELICAL PIER, the HELICAL SCREW ANCHOR a foundation repair system that acts like a screw, and is literally screwed into the soil or rock, meeting enough skin friction that it should support most loads. However, in clay soils, once the clay shrinks in dry conditions, the skin friction decreases, causing the helical pier to fail. Helical piers can sometimes be successfully anchored into rock and used as a tieback for retaining walls, but should never be used to as a tieback when screwed into soil.

INVERTED CORNER the opposite of the outside corner of a structure. In foundation repair, the inverted corner usually requires pier support on each side of the corner in order for it to be raised uniformly, and supported uniformly.

KIP FACTOR a mathematical term used to describe how much load a soil can support, determined by a qualified engineer.

JOIST HANGER a metal bracket that is attached to a floor joist or ceiling joist, and then also attached to an adjoining wood beam or header. A joist hanger supports the wood member more securely than nails alone can do.

LEVEL STRUCTURE WITH AN UNLEVEL FLOOR in this case, such as an old porch that has been enclosed, the structure may be level, but the floor was constructed with a dip in it to allow for water drainage. To level the floor, one must remove the flooring and replace it with flooring that is level. The structure must be leveled first by using the ceiling or window sills, instead of the floor.

LIVE LOAD the additional weight to a structure added by people, furniture, snow, ice, or water. The most dangerous live load is water. If a roof drain clogs up, and the water cannot escape, and the roof structure may not be able to support the water and could collapse, endangering the occupants of the building.

Solid rock 100 tons per square foot
Limestone 40
Sandstone 25
Soft rock 8
Compact Gravel 10
Loose Gravel 4
Hard clay 4
Soft clay 1
Coarse sand 3
Fine sand 1.5
Soft soil 1/2

LOAD BEARING WALL a wall of a structure that can successfully transfer weight from a ceiling area to the foundation without distress or bending. The weight above a load bearing wall must be carefully supported before it can be removed, and usually a header or beam can be installed in it’s place. Non load bearing walls can be removed usually without the danger of the weight above collapsing. Removing walls should only be attempted by a professional contractor, because it can be dangerous to the future occupants of the structure.

MONOLITHIC SLAB a concrete slab foundation poured all at one time.

MONTMORILLONITE a common type of soil in North Texas that has the ability to swell greatly after prolonged contact with water.

MUDJACKING a process by which concrete flatwork can be raised by pumping a soil/cement slurry under the concrete with enough pressure to literally “float” it up to a more desirable level. Raising concrete with concrete beams or uneven weight is difficult with mudjacking, and usually nets poor results. Mudjacking must be done from above, and never from the side of the area that must be raised.

OUTSIDE BAND a board runner the same size as the floor joists, but running around the perimeter of the structure. The floor joists are nailed to the outside band, keeping the ends of the joists from twisting. Holes can be safely cut into the outside band to allow for the installation of crossvents in between the floor joists. If the outside band is around a wood front porch, it is best to double it up to give more support for the above columns. If the outside band is running parallel to the floor joists called the rim joist, it should be doubled to prevent it from twisting or bowing out, say on the back wall where the floor joists are running left to right.

PIER a support under a foundation. can be wood, steel, concrete, in the ground or above the ground.

PIER AND BEAM a type of construction, primarily in residential construction, by which the foundation is formed with individual piers along with a concrete beam or wood beam spans. In a pier and beam home, one can usually crawl under the structure, and cross ventilation is necessary to air out the crawl space. In a pier and beam home, the floors are usually wood.

PIER CAP connects a support system to the structure.

PILASTER a concrete or masonry support mostly above the ground, outside of a wall, installed to stiffen and strengthen the wall, and built in a straight, columnar shape outside the wall. Different from a buttress, which is triangular, but serving the same purpose.

PILING a pier that is driven or pushed into the soil. A standard piling typically used in foundation repair uses the weight of the structure to push the piling into the soil. Other names in the foundation industry circulate as segmented pilings, push pilings, pile blocks, steel pilings and concrete pilings, and then there is the double piling, which is two pilings close together. A pile is a support PUSHED into the earth (displacement pile), rather than a pier that is an open hole that is filled with concrete to construct a pier support (replacement pile). There are further names such as a drilled pile and a grouted pile, and around the world there are names such as pali radice, micropali (Italian), pieux racines, pieux aiguillles, minipieux, micropieux (French), minipile, micropile, pin pile, root pile, needle pile (English), soldier pile, Verpresspfahle and Wurzelpfahle (German) and Estaca Raiz (Portuguese). With any pile, in clay soil, the idea is to transfer the structural load into the ground to a more competent or stable strata by pushing the pile into the soil. In sandy soils, friction plays the larger part into developing support on the edges of the pile, but clay soils can also develop outside wall friction with the soil and add to the support of the pile.

POINT OF REFUSAL a point at which a piling can no longer be “pushed” into the soil without breaking or lifting the structure above. A light structure will reach a point of refusal at a shallow depth because it has less weight to push against. A heavy structure will allow the piling to be pushed deeper, until it reaches a hard change of soil or rock, or it develops enough skin friction around the pile to reach a ‘point of refusal’.
A point of refusal in dry soil may not be sufficient to support the weight above during wet conditions.

POOKIE any tar like substance used for sealing and repelling water.

POST AND BEAM FOUNDATION a foundation composed of individual wood posts, supported spans of wood beams. One can usually crawl under a post and beam foundation, and it requires cross ventilation to air out the crawl space. To avoid wood to ground contact, and treated post or a bois d’arc post is required to prevent rotting.

PRESSURE GROUTING a process by which a void under a concrete area is filled with a soil/cement slurry by pressure. The mix must be fluid enough to fill the cracks and all the void under the concrete, satisfactorily sealing the void from moisture penetration from the perimeter of the concrete area.

REBAR an abbreviation for the term metal reinforcement bars, used to strengthen concrete and help prevent separation of the concrete, especially in a foundation pier, footing, or slab. 1/2″ is commonly used in most concrete floor slabs, called #4 rebar. #6 is 3/4″, usually used in the concrete grade beam of a slab, and #3 rebar is 3/8″.

RETROFITTING making changes to a structure to help protect it from earthquakes, flooding, fire, and other natural hazards.

RIM JOIST a floor joist on the outside of the structure running parallel to the adjacent floor joists.

ROOT BARRIER a method by which the roots of a tree are severed between the tree and a structure, and a horizontal ditch is placed between the structure and the tree, lined with a variety of materials that may prevent the tree roots from growing back. This is a defective measure designed to prevent the tree roots from drinking too much water under the foundation, ultimately damaging the foundation structure. If the tree roots were truly a problem, then all the trees and the neighbor’s trees would all have to be cut down. Cutting the tree roots are hazardous to the tree, and most foundation systems are not so fragile that some shallow tree roots could cause a problem.

RUNNER, see girder

SCUTTLEHOLE the entryway from which one enters the crawlspace under a home or structure. Many homes have a scuttlehole inside a closet, but that does not meet many code requirements. When the scuttlehole is opened, it allows bugs, bacteria, and molds into the home from the unsterile environment in the crawlspace. The most desireable location of the scuttlehole is from the outside. Bedrock can design a scuttlehole box, like a storm cellar door, on the outside, to allow entry into the crawlspace, and the closet scuttlehole can be nailed and sealed shut forever. Also, plumbers and foundation repair contractors are no longer needed to track through the house and enter one’s closets any longer. They can get under the house from the outside scuttlehole box.

SETTLEMENT the downward movement of a foundation. Differential settlement means that different part of the structure are settling at different rates, causing cracking and pulling apart of the structure. Is different than subsidence.

SHAKER BEAM see girder

SHIMS thin spacers placed between a support and the foundation of a structure, usually very thin to cover a small space. Shims can be hard wood, cedar shakes, or metal. The larger spaces are usually filled with a larger material called cookies.

SHIMMING, SHIM JOB to install shims on top of the piers and supports, under a foundation, usually making small adjustments to the level of a foundation, without the further installations of additional supports.

SHIPLAP wood planks nailed against the inside of wall studs to provide cross bracing. Shiplap can provide the backing for the installation of wallpaper in older houses.

SHOTCRETE a hard substance made from cement, sand, water, and small pea gravel. Shotcrete is sprayed on generally, but the materials are mixed well first, then sprayed, insuring that there are no weak portions of the mix. Most commercial swimming pools in Texas require shotcrete over gunite, and all the pools in California require only shotcrete. Gunite and shotcrete are sometimes installed on hillsides to prevent erosion. Bedrock Foundation Repair, LLC will spray shotcrete to prevent erosion, but will not use gunite because of it’s weak spots, and the finish work with gunite appears to easily deteriorate.

SHOTGUN HOUSE a very narrow house, usually no more than 15 feet wide. Some shotgun houses are defective because the floor joists are too small, and they are constructed too low to the ground.

SILL PLATE the flat piece of wood that sits below the joists in framing, laid flat like a plate. The wood girder is usually placed below the sill plate, or a concrete grade beam.

SKIRT see tin flashing

SLAB FOUNDATION a type of construction whereas the floor is concrete, usually poured monolithically, supported by concrete beams. The size, width, and location of the concrete beams of a slab foundation depends upon the design and weight of the structure. A slab foundation without the proper steel reinforcement will not hold together.

SNOOT an attachment to a front end loader, used to push under a structure to remove earthen materials, also known as a long nose bucket.

STAIRSTEP BEAM a concrete beam that goes vertically, then horizontally, like a stair would run.

STAIRSTEP CRACK a crack in brick, stone, or the mortar, that goes vertically, then horizontally, like a stair would run.

STRINGER see girder

STRING LEVEL a method of horizontal measurements with a long string, and a small level with a bubble in it that sits on the string. Once the string is stretched tight, and the bubble is in between the two lines in the level, the two ends of the string will be level to each other, allowing one to make a mark.

STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY possessing the strength to support the load as it was designed.

STUD see wall stud

SUB FLOOR rough wood members below a finished floor that give support and more strength to the floor, nailed on top of the floor joists.

SUBSIDENCE a sinking to the bottom, different than settlement, usually caused by the removal of oil and gas, or mining, but can also be caused by the lowering of the water table, causing the structures above to sink.

SUBSTRUCTURE an area of a structure that involves the floor and everything below the floor.

SUPERSTRUCTURE an area of a structure that involves everything above the floor.
A typical engineer’s inspection of the foundation and structure does not usually include the superstructure. To include the superstructure, the engineer must be prepared to thoroughly inspect the attic for proper bracing, collar ties, and supports, as well as attic ventilation and ceiling/wall inspections.
A superstructure inspection is usually an additional price over and above the normal foundation inspection by an engineer.

TIGHTEN OFF to secure completely the connection between a pier support and a foundation, by hammering a shim with enough cookies as necessary, to make the connection secure and strong between the two.

TIN FLASHING, TIN SKIRTING tin placed along the perimeter of a wood frame structure at the bottom, from the top of the floor joists to the ground. Better than wood skirting, because it avoids wood to ground contact. Soil can then be placed against the tin skirting to create a positive slope away from the foundation.

TORPEDO PIER a patented foundation pier support made of steel, whereas the support can be placed into the ground at least 90 feet deep. The advantage of a torpedo pier is that it can usually be installed into hard rock before the 90 feet depth, making the support permanent. Also the Torpedo Pier, a patented system, can be installed in limited access areas. One torpedo pier can be placed 90 feet deep into the earth from one’s hallway or walk-in closet, without scratching the ceiling. This makes it advantageous to install a permanent foundation pier in areas where typical pier support systems will likely fail.

TRANSIT an optical leveling instrument that can measure horizontally, usually up to about 200 feet. Some laser transits can measure up to 600 feet, but the longer the measurements, the more chance of error.
To set up a transit slightly out of level to get started can mean a great error at the end of the measurement if it is a long distance. Transits cannot measure through walls or obstructions.

UNDERPINNING supports of various kinds added under a structure to assist in the vertical support of the structure. Underpinning can be defined also as piering, and there are a multitude of different kinds of piers.

UNSUPPORTED WALL a load bearing wall of a structure that lacks foundation support. An unsupported wall can create a sag in the floor. Some unsupported walls are built in between the floor joists, causing a sag, and others are built in between the foundation girders, causing a sag. Sometimes a load bearing wall over a thin slab can cause it to sag where an interior grade beam should have been installed. Piering under the unsupported wall will usually correct the situation if the piers are installed close together.

UPHEAVAL the rising of a structure caused by swelling soil, swollen because of an accumulation of water.

VENEER a layer of brick, stone, or concrete added to a wall of a building for cosmetic purposes, that is not structural.

WALL STUD a vertical wood frame member in wood framing construction. Most residences have 2″ x 4″ wall studs, but the downstairs of a two story structure would require 2″ x 6″ members to resist bending and wall failure.

WALL TIES a piece of metal that connects the brick wall to the wood walls.

WATER LEVEL a method of horizontal measurement using a long clear tube filled with water. Since water will seek it’s own level, the level of the water at one end of the tube will be level to the water at the opposite end. This method can be erroneous if any air bubbles get into the water.

WEATHERED SHALE the top of a hardened layer of rock that has become soft over time because of its contact with water.

WEEP HOLE an opening in the bottom of a brick wall that will allow water in the wall to escape. A weep hole can also allow air to circulate inside the wall, like ventilation. Unintended consequences, however, allow a weep hole to be a home for insects and bugs, and it also allows water an unrestricted passageway into the home. Some houses have no weep holes at all, and it seems to have no effect.

WET ROT a decaying of wood, caused by different kinds of organisms or fungi. For wet rot to occur, one must have poor ventilation, a lot of moisture, and moderate warmth. The most common species that destroy the wood are Serpula lacrymans, Coniophora puteana, Fibroporia vaillantii, and Phellinus contiguus, but a number of them can be found in damp wood. Some molds may be extremely hazardous to your health. Dry rot will rot into a dusty powder, while wet rot remains wet and soggy.

WIND LOAD the pressure on a structure caused by wind.

WING WALL a brick or stone wall usually protruding from the front corners of a home. Some wing wall foundations are attached to the foundation of the home, and some are not. Some wing wall brick or stone is laid with the brick or stone of the house, and some are detached. A wing wall that has rotated to one side or to the end can usually be piered and jacked back up to vertical.

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Bedrock Foundation Repair, LLC 

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