Foundation Repair Job Down the Street Still Good

In 2006 I wrote about my then neighbor Dennis’ foundation repair job. The contractor used the “pressed piles” method of repair. He then sold the house to a young woman we’ll call Shelia and moved.

I was passing by last week and saw that a garage sale was going on at this same house. I figured this was a good opportunity to ask if the new owner was happy with the work done on her concrete slab. Apparently she is. “Shelia” was at work but her talkative mother was there running the garage sale.

It turns out “Shelia” had come into some money and let Dennis know she would be paying cash for the house. At that point Dennis, wanting to avoid complaints in the future, had the foundation repaired by a company that transfers a lifetime warranty to the next owner.

Mom says there has been no cracking or shifting, and “Shelia” is happy with the house. I thanked her for the information but didn’t buy anything at the sale. I have plenty of my own junk already.

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Keep an Eye on the Soaker Hoses

We are experiencing a pretty long hot dry spell in my part of the world. That means making sure the clay soil around my concrete slab-on-ground foundation doesn’t dry up and pull away. I’ve been running the soaker hoses pretty regularly and they do a nice job keeping the ground around the perimeter of my foundation moist or at least not too dry. We call it “watering the foundation.”

I did notice that one of the soaker hoses in the front was sending a 2 foot spray in the air. The problem with that is a reduction in the water pressure down stream from the spray and a less even distribution of water around that part of the foundation.

The fix is simple since soaker hoses are such low tech creatures. Mark the hose where the spray comes out, let the hose dry out a bit, then wrap the area with hose repair tape. Electrical tape works too. You are just trying to knock down a spray, not stop a leak.

If you are using soaker hoses to keep even moisture around your slab foundation it is a good idea to walk the perimeter once a week or so and look for breaks or big leaks that need fixing.

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The Smart Way to Use Foundation Repair Coupons

You have the classic signs of concrete slab foundation distress. OK, your house does. Doors and windows don’t work right, you have cracks around the frames or cracks in your brick veneer. You think your foundation is going to need some work. Then you open the mail or the newspaper and there it is. A “valuable coupon” offering a tidy little sum off the foundation repair job.

The fine print says you must present the coupon at the time you receive your free estimate. It also says you only have a couple of weeks to make that call or the coupon expires. What to do?

First, take a deep breath and rest in the knowledge that these coupons will be coming back around every few weeks. Unless you have really sudden and severe damage to your house and foundation you have some time to make an educated choice. (more…)

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Moving into Soaker Hose Season

In my part of the world the spring rains are coming to an end and the soil is getting drier. Since my concrete slab foundation sits on shrink-swell clay soils, I have to make a concerted effort to keep the dirt around the foundation moist. It’s really not that big of a deal because of the easy availability of soaker hoses. You can find them at major hardware stores, home improvement centers and in the lawn and garden departments of the “big box” discount stores.

In an earlier post, I included a diagram of a typical soaker hose setup. With not that much cash you can ring your foundation with soaker hoses and regular garden hoses to get an even distribution of water to keep the soil moist. Most experts say to put the hoses 12-18 inches out from the edge of your slab. Mulch and other landscaping techniques can hide them. They need not be an eyesore. You can see the tools and techniques you’ll need here.

No one has ever accused me of being the handiest guy on the planet, so if can I put together a soaker hose system you can too. And you will be doing your concrete slab-on-ground foundation a huge favor.

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Cost of Foundation Repair

Every concrete slab that may need repair presents its own symptoms and problems. Each situation is different. The guy next door to me had piers put in all around the perimeter of his house.  He had concrete push piers installed under a 2,000 square foot single-story house and he said he paid right around $7,000.  We live in the Dallas area.

But the guy down the street  in pretty much the same sized house only needed piers under the east and south side of the slab. He also paid close to $7,000 for concrete push piers. However, two of his piers had to go under the driveway. Maybe that added to the cost.

The number of piers required and the type of piers used for underpinning are two of the variables that affect the cost of foundation repair.  Steel piers are generally more expensive.

This is one of the reasons the cost of foundation repair varies, and why the prudent home owner gets bids from at least three different foundation repair contractors. Spending a few hundred dollars on an inspection by an independent structural engineer is a good idea as well.

The Dallas Morning New recently ran an article on the damage to slab foundations caused by the shrink-swell clay soils and the weather in North Texas. The piece also touched on costs of foundation repair and how the lowly soaker hose is indeed your friend. Here is a link to the article.

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