Pile Testing for a Safe Home

The base of any home is the foundation. A secure foundation in good repair is what keeps any home stable. Weak foundations can lead to more severe problems. If the foundation cracked under the weight of the home, then the building will begin to shift. Wooden support beams and plaster walls can eventually crack. If the deformation is severe enough, the wood may even break. Metal beams and supports can deform as weight shifts. Luckily, foundation defects can be found with pile testing.

The structure of the building is not the only thing that can be damaged. Water and sewage pipes can be damaged leading to leaks and water damage. A building’s wiring harness can be pulled loose, eventually creating a fire hazard. The house’s chimney can tilt, and in severe cases, cause smoke leaks or inefficient heating. The science of foundation engineering can prevent these problems or repair them if they occur. Timely pile testing will detect weakness before problems occur.

Foundation engineering is used to initially design a new construction’s foundations. Foundation engineering today uses two basic types of foundations. They build shallow foundations, or footings, and deep foundations. Footings are generally built about a meter into the soil. The spread footing uses pads and strips of concrete that go past the frost-line. Slab-on-grade foundations use a flat slab of concrete at the surface to hold up the building. Foundation engineering determines just how thick or thin the slabs must be to safely hold the weight.

While the building is being constructed, a number of pile testing techniques will be used to double check the timber and concrete used. One of the easiest tests is a low strain dynamic test or sonic echo test. This is a cost effective type of pile testing. An expert in foundation engineering uses a special hammer and a sensor device. The engineer inspects the pile, then taps it in particular spots. The sensor picks up the sonic waves and interprets them. Any weak spots will be revealed.

The modern engineer carefully assesses the ground and the house-to-be. He designs a foundation that will safety hold a home and all it contains over time. All piles will have pile testing done as needed. Older foundations may not be as well designed as older foundation engineering was not as advanced. The builders who constructed them would not have had access to the same high quality pile testing that exists today. Timely testing is key.

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