concrete slab foundation

Steady As She Goes

I’ve been doing quite a bit of cosmetic fix-up inside the house over the last 10 months or so since I had root barriers installed. At the same time I had large shrubs removed from the west side of the slab foundation.

In the meantime I’ve been fixing drywall and painting. There were some small wall cracks that needed filling and some areas where sheet rock tape had popped, things to be expected of a thirty year old house that has a concrete slab foundation sitting on shrink-swell heavy clay soil. So far things have stayed fixed.

The was one crack in the ceiling near the patio door that was always kind of an indicator of foundation movement for me. It would open and close ever so slightly depending how much rain we had gotten or how faithful I had been with running the soaker hoses.

Well sir, that crack has stayed closed for several months now. I don’t know if it’s because of all the rain we’ve had this year, the root barriers, the soaker hoses or a combination of all three. It’s probably the latter. At any rate, it’s nice to give the drywall mud knife a rest.

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Protect Foundation-Checking the Soaker Hoses

We had a bit of a dry spell last week and I decided to run my soaker hoses to make sure the soil around my concrete slab foundation was staying moist.

I hadn’t needed to run the soaker hoses in quite a while. Even though I have gutters that take most of the rainfall away from the foundation the soil was not drying out significantly because we have had a lot of rain in my area this spring and so far this summer. Record amounts of rain.

I’m using a “T” splitter on the west side of my foundation to make sure I have enough water pressure in the entire length of the soaker hose. I’m using a configuration similar to the diagram on this page. (more…)

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Foundation Repair – Steel Piers and Rust

A question that comes to mind in considering steel piers for underpinning your concrete slab foundation is “are they going to rust or otherwise corrode?” Fair question. One of the answers involves using galvanized steel piers.

Another method of corrosion protection for steel piers makes use of powder coating technology.

However, there is a report from the National Association of Engineers that questions the need for such protection for steel piers. (more…)

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Are Steel Piers Going to Rust?

If you are pondering which type of pier might be best to repair your concrete slab foundation, a fair question would be “How long is a steel pier going to last?” After all, they are basically steel pipes driven deep enough to encounter either bedrock or a similarly firm and stable strata of soil, then attached to your slab, usually with steel brackets. “Hmmm,” you say. Metal parts in dirt for a long time. Sounds like rust. And you’d be right. Say hello to Mr. Galvanize.

Galvanization is a process whereby carbon steel is dipped in molten Zink, forming a chemical bond to the steel. Galvanized steel products provide good protection against rust and failure when used above or below grade. The next time you are in the car, notice the guard rails, traffic signposts, and bridges. You can tell these items have been galvanized by the unique silver color. (more…)

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A Piece of Concrete Has Fallen From My House. Can Ruin Be Far Behind?

I was running the soaker hoses around the foundation a few days ago and noticed a pretty bad crack just above the southwest corner of the foundation. Tapping at it with the toe of my shoe caused a chunk of concrete to fall away. I had no idea I possessed such power in my shoes.

Corner wedge of concrete slab foundation
I hadn’t paid much attention to this crack because it had been hiding behind shrubs up until a few weeks ago. So I had to wonder if this corner thing means my foundation is critically ill and I should be calling Dr. McPiers.

Not to worry, says R. Michael Gray, P.E. and Matthew T. Gray who have a structural engineering and home inspection firm in Houston.

It’s called a wedge crack. (more…)

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