Nature's strict and can be a real bitch. We humans have been trying to corral and tame the natural world for as long as human history exists. Archeologist say one of the first and most significant leaps for humans was when we learned to make and use fire. Our most recent accomplishment would have to be over coming gravity through flight.
Gravity, according to the people who have initials after their names , is a weak force in nature. It may be weak, but it's sure hard to overcome. Gravity is constantly acting to bring down what has gone up.
Our homes are in a constant pitched battle with not only gravity, but the weather. Gravity conspiring with wind, water and temperature will return a house to where it originated, the earth.
During a recent home inspection of an ocean water front property, the forces of nature were showing their stuff. The house, originally a small cottage, had been added onto several times over the years. The additions had not been built on concrete foundations, but instead on piers. Pier foundations in this particular town are more or less required by the building department due to flooding concerns. If piers are not used, the foundation must have openings that allow water to freely flow in and out.
A main and important part of building any foundation whether piers or a wall is the footings. The footing is the base on to which all will bear. It needs to be on solid ground.
Examining the piers on this house's additions, it was clear they were not on firm ground. Being water front my guess was the soil was sandy. A big leap of logic for sure, but I was comfortable with the assumption.
Sighting down one side it is easy to see the piers are well out of plumb. Some by several inches. The photo may look off level, but it's not. At the very back of the picture is the original foundation wall. It's straight.
A close up of the pier in the background shows the structural beam twisting from the force of the pier heading towards a prone position. The green board is a "repair". Apparently the thought was to shore up the framing, not address the piers.
I found several other of these "repairs" at the top of the piers along this wall. This is one my favorites.
Yep, a couple of blocks of wood should halt the sands of time.
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC
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