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Podcast 35: Foundation Cracking Issues

With Moises Cruz, Principal Structural Engineer









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Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo moises-cruz-a1-engineering Foundation cracking issues: "It's probably not your foundation's fault that it cracked," says our guest.

Whether its your porch or home's foundation, cracks and other issues are normally the result of external factors.

Mary and I had the pleasure of interviewing Moises Cruz, Principal Structural Engineer and Army Reserve Officer, with A-1 Engineering. Moises has a wealth of information that can help the average homeowner understand why foundations crack and what can be done to rectify the issue.

A home that cracks in the wall or foundation does not necessarily mean failure. The cracks are an indicator that something is moving. Moises elaborates in our podcast.


front porch falling off home
Photo credit
Front Porch Failure





If you would like to be a guest on our podcast, please write to us and let us know your area of expertise. Thank you!

Program Notes: Foundation Cracking Assessment and Resolution



In podcast 35, our guest Moises Cruz speaks about the reasons for foundations to crack and when to call a structural engineer
Some of the key topics of our discussion with Moises Cruz



To hear the full program, please listen here:




Highlights from Our Discussion with Moises Cruz



  • A crack in the concrete is not the same as the concrete breaking. A crack does not necessarily mean failure but it does imply that something is moving.

  • Structural engineers look at two things: what might be causing that movement and what other effects the house may be going through because of that movement.


  • When the soil fluctuates between being overly wet and overly dry, that causes volume changes in the soil and that's what causes the foundation to move.


  • Just because it's a porch and not a house does not mean it should be constructed with any less care than a house.


  • As a homeowner you want to be aware of where all the cracks are because those are your indicators. Those are the red lights that tell you that something is happening and a reason to get a structural assessment to determine why that crack might be there.

  • If you decide to enclose an open porch you need to get your local building officials involved to see what their structural requirements area.


  • A savvy creative engineer would try to find ways to modify or add to your existing foundation so that you don't have to start over.




Foundations Cracking: More Excerpts with Moises Cruz



Minimize Volume Changes: "A structural engineer who is familiar with your area can help to give advice on minimizing the volume changes in your soil and that is the key to a successful performing foundation."



Wet Soil: "Conversely in an area that is more wet than dry, for example Seattle, then it might be advisable to keep the area around the house more wet than dry."



Loads: "A structural engineer cares about how much the load is, not whether it's built from concrete or steel - it's about how much needs to be carried."



Mudjacking: "Mud-jacking also can work but it can be more destructive to the concrete because of how it has to be inserted through hoses."



Soil Stabilization Goo: Although unpredictable, a material referred to as "snake oil" (also referred to as a soil stabilization goo) tricks the soil to think that it is in a swollen state so that the foundation moves.





A Word (or Two) about Press Pile or Push Pile Solutions

This system is relatively inexpensive as compared to other options and possibly the most used for home foundations; however, it is not without issues. The potential for future movement is very high meaning that your foundation may eventually move again.

Many structural engineers will tell you that press or push pile solutions may be temporary at best.



press piles installed under foundation
Press Piles Installed




press piles installed under foundation with foundation cracking
Cracked Foundation with Press Piles Installed


Caution! Before contemplating using concrete press piles or concrete piers, we recommend you investigate the precautions you need to take regarding these foundation stabilization systems.



Protect Yourself

Moises has several things you should do to protect yourself to ensure you achieve a long lasting foundation repair:

  • Call a structural engineer before you call a contractor. Structural engineers are the only people who have the qualifications for diagnosing and recommending proper repairs for foundations. They can tell you if your foundation is safe; cracks do not necessarily mean your foundation is failing.


  • Check credentials. Not all engineers are structural engineers so be careful when a contractor says they have a structural engineer on staff.


  • Choose the right contractor. Avoid selecting a contractor based on lowest bid; you almost always get what you pay for.





About A-1 Engineering

moises-cruz-a1-engineering A-1 Engineering was established to not only educate the public and homeowners regarding issues surrounding both residential and commercail foundations, but also to provide customers non-biased and objective consulting services for their everyday projects. moises-cruz-a1-engineering

To that end, A-1 Engineering provides a myriad of reference materials to educate homeowners to enable them to competently address foundation cracking issues and repair options.

With offices in both San Antonio and Austin, Texas, A-1 Engineering provides direct consulation in those geographical areas and is most willing to give advice to others outside those areas as well.

We are most appreciative to Moises Cruz for sharing his expertise. What he shared is helpful to us homeowners to better understand the real meaning behind foundations cracking. For more information, visit their website: A-1 Engineering or call them at (210) 591-8829.




We hope you will listen as that will allow us to keep bringing you more programs from experts in the porch industry. Thank you!

Listen to Our Audio Program: 00:30:26


Download the Porch Ideas Network audio program Listen to the Porch Ideas Network on iTunes Listen to the Porch Ideas Network on Stitcher Radio





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Our Sponsors

Screened porch windows at diyEzeBreeze.com
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Complement Any Home!


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Want to Be Featured?

Porch Ideas Network logo

Are you a porch builder who would like to be featured in the Porch Ideas Network?

Or have a builder to recommend to us? Just send us a note.



Look at These
Porch Designs

Screened porch design section

Looking for ideas for wonderful porch designs? We have many for you to browse and enjoy. Take a look please!



Our eBooks:

Front Porch Ideas Generator

Our 140 page ebook includes case studies from real homeowners. We showed them how their home would look with a wonderful front porch.
See more
Our Front Porch Ideas Generator ebook


Porch Ideas Illustrator

We are often asked how a porch would look on a ranch or 2-story home. Our Porch Illustrator e-Book shows you how a plain home is transformed with a porch. See more

Porch Illustrator Vol 1 & Vol 2










Want to receive our periodic online newsletter,
Front Porch Appeal?
Learn more.

Your Name

Your Email

We respect your privacy.

You'll also receive
our free eBook.
Get our online newsletter Front Porch Appeal and our awesome curb appeal eBook as a free bonus
Enjoy our back issues.


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