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walkereng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 2762
Experience:  Over 30 years of Structural Engineering experience.
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My name is ***** ***** I own a house approx 1200 sf that is built

Customer Question

My name is ***** ***** I own a house approx 1200 sf that is built on a slab and the floors in the house are cracking and looks like they are rising up (buckling) in areas. The edges (outside wall areas) look to be lower than some of the center areas. this house was probably built in the 50s in an area that has many houses built on a slabs like this one is and a lot of them have similar problems. The house is in the St Louis area on the east side of the river and I have heard that the ground is probably old riverbottom ground from the Mississippi river if that would make any difference. The slab the house is on is not more than 3-6" above grade if it is even that high. I dont think there are any gutters on the house at this point if that would make any difference.
I have a man that wants to work on this house so he can move into it and his solution is to loosen the walls, jack them up and then float a layer of concrete on the broken up concrete so the floors are level to the highest point of the existing floor. I am not sure this would be a permanent fix or even a good fix.
As I think of it, what is the possibility that the edges are ok and have stayed put and the highest point has been forced up by water pressure under the concrete. I can look into the cracks and see that there does not appear to be any gravel under the concrete or any rebar or reinforcing fabric in it either.
This house is old and I am willing to spend some money on it, but tens of thousands of dollars would be a foolish investment. My thoughts are to jackhammer all the broken up concrete and remove it, dig down so a vapor barrier and 3-4" gravel can be put down and then 4 " concrete on top of this. Maybe even a sump hole where the water can weep to and then be pumped out, or even weep into the drainage ditches that are in the area.
There is a 3500 sf commercial building next door to this house that is on slab also and the floors in it are still sound with no cracking or movement.
Is this a question you can answer and what would your recommendations be?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Structural Engineering
Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.
I can help
There are many different issues that can cause your issues.
You really need to have a Geotechnical Engineer do a site visit and have him give you a detailed report on what is causing your settlement/heaving.
You do not just want to start trying all kinds of repairs that may not help the situation. This type of Engineer specializes in Soils and their properties.
Here is a weblink to the Yellow Pages listing for Geotechnical Engineers in your area. Many of the listing have web page links. Take a lok and give some of them a call and ask if they can come out and assess your problem.
I hope this helps.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.
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