You might need foundation repair if..

Symptoms of foundation failure.

Slab Foundations – Repairing with the Bell Bottom Pier

Foundation contractors sometimes offer up to three methods of underpinning a house foundation. These three main methods of repair include pushed concrete piers, steel piers and the drilled or bell bottom pier.

I’ve run across one company that says the bell bottom pier is the best way to go. It is the oldest method, most tested and most reliable form of underpinning a house with foundation problems. It is the type of pier used in highway and major commercial construction and has been for years. The company is Dawson Foundation Repair and has locations across Texas.

A Slab Foundation on Heavy Clay Soil is Subject to Movement

During the rainy season, clay soils expand with the added moisture. When the soils dry out the clay soils shrink. This can cause not only up and down movement of your foundation but also lateral movement. And this can cause the classic signs of foundation problems…diagonal cracks in the walls, inside and out, doors and windows that don’t work right and uneven floors.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Was Your Slab Foundation Level to Begin With?

If you have your concrete slab  foundation inspected by either a repair contractor, or better yet, an independent professional structural engineer, you are likely to get an elevation report produced by one of two tools:

A  Compu Level or a manometer.  When I had my inspection done, the engineer used a Compu Level. I received a report that detailed variances in elevation from one end of my slab to the other. For example, there was a 3-4 inch drop in one corner of the house when compared to the center of the slab.

Nice to know. I suppose. But in practical terms, what does that really tell you? Unless you have a benchmark of some kind to compare the readings against, not a whole lot.  Do I have elevation readings from when the slab was newly poured? No. (more…)

Continue Reading

The Number One Cause of Slab Foundation Problems

Photo of cracked dry earth that causes foundation problemsIf it’s not the number one problem then it’s a very close second.

It’s the soil.

If your slab-on-ground concrete foundation sits on heavy clay soils that dry out , then swell up when heavy rains come, the foundation  is in danger of movement.

It’s exactly this kind of expanding then shrinking that causes most of the common signs of foundation stress and damage.

A lot of foundation repair companies will tell you that the sticking doors,  windows that are hard to open and close, diagonal cracks in the drywall and brick, and sloping floors are signs that you might need foundation leveling.

And the main culprit is the clay soil that swells and shrinks.

We had a classic case of the soils reacting to the weather this past summer in North Texas.  Weeks of little or no rain, depending on whether you were lucky enough to be under a stray pop-up thunderstorm or not.  (Shrink)

Then along came Tropical Storm Hermine.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Link To Foundation Inspection Report Repaired

In 2006 I had my concrete slab foundation inspected by a local structural engineer and wrote about it on this blog. I also scanned his report into a PDF file and posted it. However, in the throes of changing hosting companies the link to this report was broken and remained so for some time.  The link to the inspection report has now been fixed. My apologies for taking so long to do so.

If you’d like to see a sample of the kind of information you should get back when hiring an independent structural engineer to inspect your slab foundation you’ll find the link in this post.

You’ll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report and you can get it here.

Continue Reading

Get Several Bids for Foundation Repair

A friend of the family is down-sizing and has put his home up for sale. He and his wife have too much house and are looking to move into a condo. A real estate agent was engaged and the process started.

The home inspector said there was a “dome” on the floor of the master bedroom. Nobody else could see what he was talking about, but a foundation repair company was called to check the concrete slab. The inspector for the repair company didn’t find a problem with the master bedroom floor, saw no “dome” but thought the house could use 9 piers. He had used a Compulevel or similar tool according to my friend.

Wanting to verify the need for piers and having good sense, the real estate agent called a different foundation repair contractor who sent out an inspector we’ll call “Bob.” Armed with similar tools, “Bob” came to a different conclusion.  (more…)

Continue Reading