In semi-arid areas such as Dallas, Texas, foundation repair to houses and other buildings and structures is often necessary, more so than in much of the rest of the country. This article will look in detail at the major causes of concrete foundation problems in the Dallas area, how to prevent foundation problems before they occur, how to recognize foundation problems and what to do in the unfortunate event that your house experiences foundation problems. Our practical advice will lead you in the right direction by showing you what causes this type of problem, how to prevent foundation problems, and what to look for in a repair company.
What are the major causes of foundation problems in the Dallas area?
The primary, major cause of foundation problems in the Dallas area is the high clay content of the local soil. Clay is very absorbent and when it becomes wet, it expands considerably. And, in contrast, when it becomes dry once more, it contracts, again considerably. This cycle of expansion and contraction can cause foundations to shift causing problems to the home or property owner.
A second major cause of foundation problems are trees growing close to a property. A large tree can suck vast amounts of water from the soil. This will cause some areas of the land to become dryer than others. If the tree is located near to your house, then these dry areas maybe very close to your foundations— not a good situation! This contrast between dry areas near the tree and wetter areas elsewhere can, again, cause foundations to shift. And, again, this can cause problems to the homeowner.
How can you recognize foundation problems?
There are several key things to look out for which could indicate foundation problems. These are:
Cracks: Cracks in bricks and/or mortar could indicate you have a foundation problem. The foundations may have shifted, pulling and twisting brick and mortar causing the cracks.
You may also see these cracks in any sheet rock you have, especially above windows and doors.
Sticking doors or windows: the wooden frames of doors or windows may shift, twist and turn if you have foundation problems. This could be indicated by windows and doors sticking when you try to open them or being extremely difficult to close. Alternatively you may witness doors or windows swinging open by themselves as they no longer sit snug in their frame.
Uneven floors: Any uneven floors (especially those that used to be level!) may indicate foundation problems. This is usually observed in furniture that no longer seems to sit level or becomes wonky.
In addition, if your floors appear unusually squeaky, or if any ceramic floor tiles are exhibiting cracks, then this could also be an indication of foundation problems.
How can you prevent foundation problems in the Dallas area?
As mentioned before, much of the foundation problems in the Dallas area are caused by the regions soil and its high clay content which causes much expansion and contraction. This can result in foundations that are exposed to too much stress to maintain their original positions. To combat this, it is necessary to maintain an even moisture content to your soil throughout the year. You can do this by:
- Refraining from planting large trees near your property. If a large tree already exists near your property, consider installing a root barrier. This will prevent roots from expanding into areas where they could potentially cause problems.
- Keep any rock gardens away from the house. Rock gardens do a wonderful job of retaining moisture. In fact, they will probably maintain water more efficiently than the rest of your property. This contrast between comparatively dry and moist areas can cause foundation to shift.
- Install proper guttering to your house. And by proper guttering, I mean guttering that deposits the rain water some distance from the house.
- Using of an automatic sprinkler system. If you set up your automatic sprinkler system properly – and this is no easy task! — it can go a long way toward maintaining a constant moisture content to your soil. Just remember that you will have to adjust your system throughout the year to accommodate the different volume of rainfall that comes with the different seasons.
How do you choose a good company to handle your foundation problems?
Choosing a good company can be difficult when looking for someone to solve your foundation problems. Follow the following steps to ensure you employ the right people.
- Ask friends and family for any recommendations. Better to deal with someone that you know has done good work in the past.
- Consult several companies and get quotes from each so that you can compare prices. In addition this will also give you a “feel” for who you will be dealing with.
- Strongly consider employing a company that is a member of the Foundation Repair Association (http://www.foundationrepair.org/.) While this is no guarantee that you will be happy with any work done or the price, these companies do generally have a good reputation for doing quality work.
- Consult the Better Business Bureau of Dallas (http://www.bbb.org/dallas/.) This will enable you to see ratings for different foundation repair companies, check whether they are BBB accredited, read reviews and check whether any complaints have been made against them.
Companies that currently hold high ratings and BBB accreditation include:
- Metroplex Foundation Repair
3102 Maple Ave Ste 450
Dallas, TX 752011261
- A-1 Foundation Repair Solutions
3131 McKinney Ave Ste 600
Dallas, TX 752042456
- Structured Foundation Repairs Inc
Serving Dallas and Surrounding Counties
Dallas, TX 75201
How much will it cost to repair your foundations?
This really depends on the nature of the problem, how widespread it is and what measures need to be taken in order to resolve the problem. This is why it is always important to get several quotes done before signing a contract.
Structured Foundation Repairs Inc, reports that the average cost of repairing foundations is somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 dollars. Homeadvisor.com reports a slightly lower average cost of approximately $5,000 dollars.
How do foundation repair businesses actually repair your foundations?
There are two common/modern methods used to repair foundations. These are called, “slabjacking” and “piering.”
Slabjacking is commonly used for smaller concrete slabs such as driveways, pool decks and the like. It involves pouring a cement grout through small especially bored holes in the slab. This concrete grout will then set providing a stable base for the slab and resolving the problem.
Piering is used for larger jobs, commonly those necessary in houses. It is a larger, more expensive, task. In this method, mechanical jacks are used to lift the very foundations of the house. Then, under the foundations are placed, carefully, piers and footings which stabilize the foundations and hold them in their new raised and correct position.
As with most things, prevention is better than cure; especially when the cure will set you back approximately $5,000 dollars. So, ensure that any house you own in the Dallas, Texas area is properly insulated against foundation problems. This will primarily take the form of maintaining regular moisture content to your soil though automatic sprinklers and practicing proper tree management.
If however, you are already experiencing foundation problem, it is important to get them solved before they get worse and cause even more problems and a larger expense. Choose a reputable company to do your work after getting several quotes in order to ensure satisfaction with the end repair.
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