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. (more…)
If you need a foundation fix, it might be because of climate change (formally known as “global warming”) At least that is the gist of an article written last year that I ran across in the New York times.
We know that homes built on expansive clay soils that swell during rainy periods, then shrink during dry spells cause a lot of problems for concrete slab foundations.
What I didn’t know was that these periods of dry weather followed by heavy rains have become more frequent and possibly triggered by climate change according to this NY Times article. Really? Here is a quote:
“Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association indicates that since the 1990s there has been an accelerating trend nationwide toward more extended dry periods followed by downpours. Whether due to random climate patterns or global warming, the swings between hot and dry weather and severe rain or snow have profoundly affected soil underneath buildings.” (more…)
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…)
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.
I came home the other day and found a flyer from one of the local foundation repair companies hanging from my doorknob. “Knob-spam”, the kids call it. I started to throw it away but then saw the phrase “revolutionary new double pier perma-pile system.” Wow. Say that out loud three times fast.
Curious as to what that meant and frankly, falling for their marketing trick, I rang them up. Of course the person who answered the phone didn’t know but dutifully passed me on to sales.
I told “Mike” that I had gotten the flyer and was trying to visualize just what the “double pier perma-pile system” would be. I didn’t mention the word “revolutionary” because we all know that is a word that translates into “hype”. No reason to go there. (more…)