Foundation Repair Houston

For Houston homeowners, concrete foundation damage poses a serious threat. Every year, residents of Harris County spend over $450 million for foundation repairs. “Blame it on the soil,” says the foundation repair industry. Houston’s expansive clay soil tends to swell when it gets wet and shrink as it dries.

Trees around the house can compound the problem. A mature live oak can drain up to 600 gallons of water per day from the soil. Even pine trees, which draw much less water from the soil, have extensive roots that can grow under the concrete foundation and cause problems.

What can homeowners do to stave off foundation problems? Installing root shields in the ground between the house and the trees will block the roots from growing toward or under the house and a good sprinkler system might help somewhat by providing ample water for the trees. In communities like Santa Barbara, California, which experiences foundation problems similar to Houston’s, newly planted trees are required to have these root barriers. Whether they are installed when foundation repairs are being done or at any other time, root barriers are a good idea for Houston.

Houston, we have a foundation problem

To help you assess the seriousness of your problem, you might want to monitor cracks that appear in your plaster, tile or brick. One good way to do that is to draw a diagonal pencil line across the crack and lightly record the date. You can then see if the crack grows and how quickly.

Several different solutions to foundation problems are currently available in the Houston area. Traditionally, repairs have involved installing piling or piers under the concrete slab foundation, either all the way around or just where needed.

Houston is home to the Foundation Performance Association (FPA) “a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and professional standards of light foundation design, engineering, construction, inspection and repair.

Members and guests involved in the design, construction, inspection, repair and forensic investigation of the foundations of residential and other light construction buildings are encouraged to attend the meetings and learn more about the Association.

As a Houston area home owner, you can find engineers and foundation repair contractors listed on the website.

Also see the post on this blog “Consider a Structrual Engineer.”

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4 Responses to Foundation Repair Houston

  1. Gary says:

    I have oak trees with roots sucking the soil out from under my slab. It is getting pretty bad. Would you recommend I get a foundation repair company to install a root barrier or a reputable tree service to do that?

  2. Digger says:

    Hi Gary,
    I would get a couple of estimates from both sectors… a couple of prices from tree experts and a couple from foundation companies.
    Then you can compare prices and the methods they intend to use to block the tree roots. After that you can decide which
    company and which solution for your particular situation your are more comfortable with.

    It takes more time to get more estimates but you’ll be better informed before you decide.

  3. martha says:

    I have a crack at home on tiles that just appear and it is growing very fast. who can I call to review?

  4. Digger says:

    Martha,
    Abry Brothers get good reviews on Angie’s List and claim to be the oldest foundation repair company in Texas. You might start with them.
    http://www.abrybros.com/ If they say you have a foundation problem, have an independent structural engineer inspect your foundation and get at least two other bids. Good luck!
    Digger

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