Frequently Asked Questions

We’re currently licensed in Colorado, California, and Wyoming.

At DL Engineering Inc., we’re experienced in reviewing the structural integrity of a home and answering questions regarding potential foundation movement or other structural problems.

We are a team of design and consulting engineers only. This enables us to focus solely on structural design. We often coordinate with architects, interior designers and general contractors and are happy to offer recommendations.

The Colorado Geological Survey has published “A Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners.” The guide was written to assist homeowners in reducing damage caused by swelling soils and has been nationally recognized by the Association of American State Geologists. There is a small fee for the guide, however we have found it to be well written and helpful to any Colorado homeowner. In Colorado, the root cause of most foundation problems is water and changing saturation in the soil around a structure. Keeping water away from a foundation is critical.

The following best practices are actions to maintain the service life of the foundation that can be applied to all structures. Proper site drainage and placement of vegetation alone may not prevent movement of a structure; however, they are prudent steps to avoid the contraction and expansion of the soil due to changing moisture content. As such we share the following information, which is not property specific, with all our clients.

Site Drainage

The moisture around foundation elements must be controlled for the useful life of the building. Lack of proper drainage is often a contributing factor to foundation damage observed. The site drainage around the structure must be maintained such that precipitations will quickly drain away. The use of proper slope slabs-on-grade, moisture barriers, swales, and surface/subsurface drainage systems are strongly recommended. Extensions should be attached to properly functioning downspouts and roof drains such that they discharge a minimum of 10 feet away from the structure. Over time the soil elevation around a house will change and correction must be made to maintain proper drainage.

Site Vegetation

  • No vegetation should ever be planted within five feet of the structure, this is especially important for grasses which are heavily watered in the summer months. Any vegetation that is in close proximity of the structure will need to be watered and leads to water saturating the soil around a foundation.
  • The vegetation around the perimeter of the structure can eventually lead to foundation movements. Vegetation can also hold moisture in the soil and create excessive pressure on the foundation system. To reduce the risk, bushes, shrubs, and trees should be carefully removed by an experienced professional. Care should be taken to not further disturb or damage the existing foundation system.
  • Planters and other surface features which could retain water should be removed and properly graded to reduce the possibility of moisture infiltrating around the foundation. 
  • Proper maintenance of irrigation system is important. Breaks or leaks in the sprinkler system can lead to water saturating the soil around a foundation.
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