Foundation Repair and the Drought-5 Tips for Homeowners

dried up clay soilsDroughts are hard on the home foundation, no question about it.

I was looking at a map from the US National Weather Service that showed almost a third of the country in drought conditions that range from “excessively dry” to “exceptional drought.” Not good.

And to make matters worse, many areas included in the drought also have homes built on shrink/swell heavy clay soils. That means when the soils dry out, house foundations start moving, usually dropping.

Things the homeowner will start to notice are cracks in the sheet rock inside and in brick veneers outside. Doors and windows that don’t work the way they used to and are supposed to, and in the worst cases, floors starting to slope.

It’s happening again at my house too.

Extended dry conditions like this provide plenty of work for foundation repair companies, but what about the homeowner?

Here are 5 Foundation Repair Issues To Be Aware Of

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Foundation Repair Maintanence with Soaker Hoses-7 Ways Homeowners Do it Wrong

It’s been a long hot dry summer over much of the U.S. and particularly so in Texas and it’s been hard on the home foundation built in those areas with expansive clay soils. We’ve  seen a stretch of 100 plus degree days that flirted with the record books and hardly any rain.

That’s good for the foundation repair companies. But not so good for home owners who have not only had to endure sweltering heat but are now seeing signs of foundation movement.

Things you can do to avoid the cost of foundation repair

In fact here are 7 common mistakes homeowners make in regard to their concrete slab foundations that sit on heavy clay soils. I’m as guilty as the next guy as far as some of these missteps go, so don’t think I’m getting all high and mighty on you.

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Foundation Repair In The News

You know a drought is taking its toll on the slab foundation in your area when the local television news is running stories on how busy foundation repair companies are.

While some parts of the U.S. are finally drying out after record flooding this spring, other parts of the country including Texas are experiencing record dry conditions.

As I write this, my soaker hoses are running. You know the drill, when in drought, water foundation.

A TV outlet in Austin, Texas has a news article where they are talking to both homeowners and foundation contractors and things are not good. Well, not for the homeowners.

One of the homeowners has a problem with his doors sticking, not latching properly, and now cracks are appearing in the walls. Those are classic signs of foundation issues. Continue reading

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Water Foundation – What’s Up With That?

soaker hose

The following is a recreation of a conversation between me and a neighbor when I first moved here. His name is Ed and he is wearing a ball cap and a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt.

 

Me: “What are those black hoses I see around your house?”

Ed: “Soaker hose. Water foundation.”

Me: “Excuse me, what?”

“Around here you have to water the foundation. I use the soaker hose for that. Part of foundation maintenance.” (Yes, he speaks in clipped sentences.)

“Well, why do you do that?”

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

“No, we just moved to this part of Texas. Moved here from St. Louis. Lived in New Mexico and El Paso before that. So, yeah, we’re new here.

“Well around here you have to water your slab, water foundation. Don’t let the dirt pull away from it. We have nasty clay soil around here and it’s hard on the house foundation. Be sure and get you some soaker hoses.”

“I’ll check into that, thanks. Soaker hose. Water foundation. Huh. See ya later, Ed.”

Ed’s wife later threw him out of the house.  Continue reading

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Foundation Repair-Underpinning with Hybrid Piers

The three most common ways of underpinning a home foundation in need of repair are steel piers, pre-cast concrete cylinders (or push piers) and the drilled bell bottom piers. Each method has it’s pros and cons and affects the cost of foundation repair.

Steel piers can be shoved into the ground deeper than concrete cylinders because they have a smaller diameter. Using concrete cylinders provides more surface area for the “skin friction” concept of engineering. The drilled bell bottom piers is the oldest method of foundation repair and still widely used although this method takes the most time.

I’m watching TV the other day and here comes a commercial for the Olshan foundation company pitching a combination of steel and concrete cylinders for a foundation fix.

Here’s the claim: Continue reading

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