15. TREC SOP slab foundation distress overview
As I read the SOP, TREC wants you to base your opinion of how the foundation is performing on specific types of distress or irregularities. If you render an “adverse” opinion you are required to report in a general way the basis of your opinion.
The SOP provides a list of types of distress that you can use to base your adverse performance opinion on. You should understand that you are not restricted to their list. The listed item are examples only. You can use other performance indicators if you wish.
As a general rule, I recommend you stay with the indicators in the SOP.
Binding, out of square, non-latching, doors
Doors are very sensitive to foundation movement. They are very good indicators of foundation movement, but you have to know how to read the doors.
First floor versus second and third-floor doors
Doors that are on the first floor are attached to framing that is attached to and supported by, wood framing that is secured to the foundation. Contrast that with upper story doors. These doors are attached to wood framing that is supported by other wood frame structural elements.
It is clear that foundation movement has a much more direct effect on first story doors that doors higher up. Also, any door issues with upper story doors could be caused by the frame structure itself. This is particularly true of older houses that are say, 10 years or more. Wood frame houses older than 10 years will show some sagging due to creep.
How foundation bending distorts door frames on the first floor
How frame sagging distorts door frames
When door frames are supported unevenly, some door frame distortion is highly likely as the house ages. d di
Framing and frieze board separations
The framing separations that are visible will be where rafters meet the ridge board. There are several issues here that you need to be aware of:
- A gap between the ridge board and random rafter is most likely a construction error. Even if there is a gap between every rafter and the ridge board, it can be due to a construction error.
- If the framing is being pulled apart to a significant degree, say 1/2 inch, there is likely to be other distress in the house. If there is no other distress and the roof frame is not racked, the most likely explanation is may be construction error.
- Always do your best to see if the roof frame is racked. A racked roof frame indicates a higher probability that the separations are due to foundation movement.
- I recommend that you be careful in your wording here. I would simply report that the separations could be due to foundation movement and recommend they retain a structural engineer to assess the situation.
Sloping first story floors can be the result of foundation movement: tilt, bending or both. They can also be due to construction errors and the normal sagging of the area between the stiffening beams due to age. This is to be expected. Floor slopes of less than 1% are not noticeable to most people.
Sloping in upper-story floors may be due foundation movement, but the typical cause is the floor framing.
Window, wall, floor or ceiling cracks or separations
Rotating, buckling, cracking or deflecting masonry cladding
Rotating and buckling brick veneer
I think I know what this means, but I do not see what this has to do with foundation movement. The most common cause of rotating and buckling brick veneer is missing or inadequate brick ties. I suppose that foundation movement might make the situation worse, but it would not be the proximate cause of the problem.
In the defense of the SOP authors, they appear to have lifted many of the distress items from a document published by the Texas Section of the ASCE titled Guidelines For The Evaluation And Repair Of Residential Foundations.
Cracking and Deflection in Brick Veneer
I think I know what this means, but I do not see what this has to do with foundation movement. The most common cause of rotating and buckling brick veneer is missing or inadequate brick ties. I suppose that foundation movement