If you have disintegrating drywall, a crooked chimney, or bizarrely sloped flooring, there is a good chance your property is displaying foundation problems. These issues can manifest through expansive soils leading to foundation settling and heaving. If you’ve recently had a foundation examination or are about to have one, you’ve probably heard (or will hear) of floor elevations and floor elevation surveys. Here’s what you must essentially know about them:
Understanding a Floor Elevation Survey (FES)
A Floor Elevation Survey (FES) is a type of survey that determines the floor elevation of a structure. It reveals the locations and magnitudes of deviations in your home’s floor elevation. To begin, a primary reference point – point 0 – is established. Following the creation of the base, comprehensive elevation readings are collected throughout the home.
Elevation differences are calculated using these measurements. They will either be greater than, less than, or equal. These readings are used to determine the location and amount of movement within the residence.
Measuring Floor Movement in Your Home
Floor elevation surveys are extremely accurate, noting changes in height to the tenth of an inch. Elevations depict the height or depth of various areas of your floor. This certifies visual indicators of movement within a home.
A building contractor or property inspector utilizes different tools to measure floor movement in your home. Through a floor elevation survey, a trained professional collects data using a water level, transit, or a ZIPLEVEL altimeter.
A Water Level
A water level is the initial method for estimating the elevation of a floor. In water levels, a line connects the basin to a post, which is then marked to indicate the basin’s water level. If there is a discrepancy, the water in the line will be different. The difference is quantified and recorded.
Transit is the same tool that surveyors use on large-scale projects. The base unit emits a laser, and a grade rod is installed throughout the house/structure. The grade rod must be positioned higher or lower than the base unit.
A ZIPLEVEL Altimeter
In comparison to the water level, this device does not require a tripod or buckets of water to set up. Because the altimeter is self-contained, you can easily and rapidly adjust new base points as needed.
This ZIPLEVEL altimeter functions in the same way as others. After choosing a starting point, the measurement equipment is moved around the house to detect base point differences. This equipment is so advanced that it can present a reading in as fast as two seconds!
After gathering and accurately labeling all data points on the home sketch, you might find any movement tendencies within your home. These readings and trends are crucial for establishing the particular fix and repairs for the parts experiencing settlement/heave. Without these measurements, you’re just guessing what areas need treatment, and no goals for living or leveling, let alone maximum possible healing, can be created.
Floor elevations essentially reveal a lot about your house. Thus, it is critical that each planned work scope includes an accurate floor elevation assessment to ensure that expectations are met and, more crucially, justified!
Are you looking for a structural engineer in Tulsa? AEI is the leading home inspections and structural engineering company with over 30 years of combined experience to ensure that all safety criteria are satisfied and that the structure is solid and up to code. With us, you can be stress-free as you sell, buy, or manage properties. Schedule your appointment with us today!