Common Problems with Pier and Beam Foundations

Pier-and-beam foundations are very common here in the DFW area. If your home has a crawl space, chances are it has this type of foundation. While pier-and-beam foundations are normally very stable, they can nonetheless develop problems that would require a professional to address. Here are a few common problems as well as some solutions for them.

Common Problems with Pier and Beam Foundations

Pier Collapse-Your piers may fully or partially collapse, lean to one side, or sink into the ground. Collapsing piers can cause the rest of your foundation to become uneven, leading to cracks and other imperfections. It can also result in damage to the beams.

In cases of pier collapse, we can often stabilize them to prevent further damage. Some shimming may be necessary as well.

Shifting Beams-Unstable beams may shift over time. When this happens, you may notice sagging floors as well. Installing shims, foundation support, or new piers may alleviate this problem.

Shim Failure-If your home has previously been shimmed, contractors may have used inferior materials such as plywood. In those instances, replacing those shims with standard material such as steel is required.

Rotting or Decayed Beams-This is something you are more likely to experience if you have wooden rather than steel beams. Decay can happen as a result of moisture damage, flooding, or an insect infestation. Rotten or decaying beams are unstable, and should therefore be replaced.

If you notice mold or mildew, you should also replace your beams. The presence of mold and mildew suggests that your foundation has already been subject to moisture damage, in which case the beams may very well be compromised. Internal beam damage is something that cannot be eliminated simply by removing the mold.

Pier and beam foundation repairs are not DIY projects. If you notice a problem with your foundation, please contact us instead. We are an experienced foundation repair company, and will ensure your safety and the health of your foundation during every job.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

Have You Found Long-Term Water Damage?

If you’ve found water damage from a crack in your bathtub or gaps in the shower’s grout, the last thing you might want to do is go looking for more problems. Once you’ve turned off the water and had a plumber come inspect the damage, bring in a foundation inspector. Here’s why:

Have You Found Long-Term Water Damage?

 

1. The core problem might be in the foundation.

All of the water damage might not be from cracks and rotted grout in the first place. Shifting piers and subfloors can knock plumbing askew or put enough pressure on the pipes to cause damage. In even more severe cases, the foundation may have shifted enough to put those cracks in the grout, and simply repairing the bathroom surfaces won’t be enough.

2. Long-standing water damage can start to rot subfloors and piers.

If water has been standing or spreading for a while, you may need to cut out more of the flooring and subflooring than you first thought. A foundation expert can inspect the damage from all angles, including in the crawlspace, to make sure all of the damaged or weakened wood is cleanly cut away the first time. They can also recommend the best way to “air out” the crawlspace that just received an influx of moisture.

3. Tree roots could be behind all of the problems.

Tree roots try to grow wherever they can find moisture. Give the opportunity, that could include your home’s pipes and up into the drains and fixtures. If roots are crawling up your home’s drains, they could just as easily be making your foundation walls crumble or knocking aside the piers.

Calling a foundation inspector can help give you peace of mind or let you catch the damage before it grows and causes another emergency. Contact Steady House Foundation to schedule an appointment today.

3 Reasons to Install Drainage Solutions Along Your Fence

Now that the summer is solidly underway, it can feel like it’s “foundation damage season.” The hot, parched soil is pulling away from your foundation unless you actively counter the moisture loss, and some of your new spring foundation plants might not last the season. While shoring up your home’s foundation defenses is always a good idea, don’t just focus on your property. Think about home your neighbors or the surrounding area might be leading to foundation damage, too. Here are 3 Reasons to Install Drainage Solutions Along Your Fence

3 Reasons to Install Drainage Solutions Along Your Fence

1. Your neighbor’s house is on a higher slope than yours.

Even in the suburbs, there are still hills and variations in soil height. While developers may have tried to create the perfect neighborhood drainage areas to counteract these problems, your house may still be downhill from where. That pushes water and soil onto your property. Excess water along your foundation can create unequal settling, and the extra pressure from new soil can knock the bottom of your fence out of position.

2. Surrounding drainage systems might be pushing water in your direction.

There are lots of DIY drainage solutions that are free for people to try. But many of those plans don’t alert people about the secondary harms of redirecting drainage or digging into the soil. If your neighbors are installing retaining walls or French drains, that’s going to change how effectively your own drainage systems work.

3. Neighboring construction projects can hurt your soil’s stability.

If someone is constructing a room addition, a basement, or an in-ground swimming pool nearby, that’s going to change how your soil drains and behaves. The soil pressure will change, and that will impact the settling rate at the side closest to the construction. While some settling is inevitable, the real damage happens when one corner of your house settles more than the other.

If you want to make sure your foundation is safe from general summer settling and neighborhood projects, contact us today to schedule an evaluation.

Should You Buy a Home With Foundation Issues?

“Should I buy a house with foundations issues?” – Ask this question to any real estate agent in the world and you will probably get a very animated “No” as an answer. Foundation issues are the bane of any home, and most new homeowners don’t want to deal with them. However, while you can probably find a good home with a good foundation, you may be able to get a better deal on a home with foundation issues.

Should You Buy a Home With Foundation Issues?

The housing market is fairly hot across the United States right now, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is no exception. Houses can sell within hours of being listed, but houses with foundation issues will likely be on the market for a bit longer and be listed cheaper. This means you can probably get a better deal on a house with a foundation issue, but you need to know what you are getting into.

Foundation Inspection

If you found a home that you love, but it has foundation issues, your first step should be to call for a foundation inspection. Home inspections will find many problems, and will even cite foundation problems, but only a foundation inspection will detail how serious those foundation issues are. Furthermore, a foundation inspection will likely give you a forecast of how much it will cost to repair.

Fixing the Issue

A home with foundation issues is often around 20% cheaper than comparable homes in the area because it is such a major issue. This means you obviously want the foundation repair to not exceed that amount you are saving. You may also be able to angle that the issue is fixed by the homeowners before you buy the home in negotiations. However, it is better to fix it yourself so you can choose a good contractor rather than just the cheapest one.

If the math behind a foundation repair works out so that you are getting the home for a good price, then it may be worth purchasing. However, you will also need to make sure that whatever caused the foundation issue won’t come back as well.

If you are looking at a home with potential foundation issues or need foundation repair at your home, contact us today. Let Steady House Foundation Repair come to your aid.

5 Questions To Ask Your Potential Foundation Repair Contractor

Foundation repair is something that is always best left in the hands of a professional, but choosing the right foundation repair contractor isn’t easy either. As this can be a very serious repair, you want to pick the best contractor for the job so that it gets done efficiently and correctly. If you are starting the search for a foundation repair contractor, here are five questions that you should be asking.

5 Questions To Ask Your Potential Foundation Repair Contractor

Do I Need Foundation Repair?

Not every crack in your foundation means serious repair is needed. Unfortunately, some more shady contractors may be happy to tell you quite the opposite in order to take your money. It is often wise to get a second opinion on foundation repairs. Getting a foundation inspection is also crucial if you suspect damage and they will usually tell you if repair is truly necessary.

How Many Repairs Have They Completed?

It is always best to choose a well-documented foundation repair contractor. Not every contractor will have testimonials, but they should have photos of their previous projects. When choosing any contractor, experience is important and as a customer you should be able to see that.

Are They a “Foundation Repair” Contractor?

You should always check the licenses of a contractor, as they are legally required to have them. Yet, there are contractors that don’t specifically call themselves “foundation repair” contractors in order to get around this licensing and insurance issue. You want a contractor that specifically handles foundation issues to fix your foundation issue.

What Caused This Issue? Can It Be Fixed?

You need to fix your foundation, but you will also want the issue that caused it to be fixed as well. For example, if poor drainage caused erosion, you will want to fix the drainage issue and most foundation contractors will be able to help with that. If they can’t identify the issue causing foundation damage to your home, it may be wise to pass on their help.

The How’s of It All?

How much will it cost? How long will it take? How will you fix it? These are all common questions and you want to make sure your contractor of choice answers them all very clearly. Foundation issues can be expensive and time-intensive to fix, so you may not always love the answers to these questions, but they should be laid out clearly for you.

Need Help?

If you have foundation issues and are in the market for a foundation repair contractor in the DFW area, contact us today. Steady House Foundation Repair can confidently answer all these questions and any more you may have to give you confidence in our repairs.

Innocent Home Problems That Really Mean Foundation Issues

No one want their home to manifest foundation issues. They are the homeowner horror stories that everyone hopes to avoid. However, while you may check your exterior for major cracks, signs you have a foundation problem do not always come from the visible foundation. Sometimes your home can be trying to tell you of foundation issues in more innocent ways you might not expect.

Innocent Home Problems That Really Mean Foundation Issues

Stuck Doors and Windows

If doors and windows no longer close smoothly – or at all – foundation issues probably won’t be your first suspect. You are more likely to think the wood around the frame is swollen or warped rather than your house is manifesting foundation issues. However, any time these entryways stop working as intended, you should be suspicious of the foundation.

Uneven Flooring

Despite being on the floor, if a few tiles come up or you get a raised area in your hardwood, you might not always look to the foundation, but you should. Raised flooring doesn’t happen for no reason, and while it could be an issue with the floor itself, it is important to make sure it is not a problem with the foundation affecting the floor and the flooring.

Drywall Cracks

If your foundation issues have progressed enough that you are manifesting drywall cracks, then you have a really serious problem, especially if a very large crack has manifested. Drywall is somewhat flexible and can endure very small changes, but if it is cracking, then a major issue in the foundation is affecting it.

Need Help?

If your home is manifesting any of these seemingly innocent problems, you should look to the foundation first. If foundation problems are caught early, repair may be able to stop the issue from getting much worse and vastly more expensive to fix. If your home is having potential foundation issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact us at Steady House Foundation Repair today to schedule an inspection and get any issues repaired quickly.

Avoid These Three Design Trends to Keep Your Foundation Strong

Sometimes exterior home design trends catch on that look great but aren’t a good structural fit for your home. This can include anything from planting a fast-growing tree that’s a bit too close to your bay windows to letting ivy grow up the brick facade of your home. Watch out for these design trends that could let foundation damage settle in without warning:

Avoid These Three Design Trends to Keep Your Foundation Strong

1. Stone facade covers for your exposed foundation

Bare concrete isn’t always pretty. If you have a brick or paver driveway and a flagstone patio, you might be looking for ways to get rid of the last of your exposed, visible concrete. But covering your foundation with stone facade tiles isn’t a viable solution. It obscures the start of hairline cracks and wider signs of damage. You need that concrete to stay exposed so you can keep an eye out for problems.

2. Adding too many concrete features around the perimeter of your home

Watering the soil around your home’s foundation is a great way to control settling, especially in Texas. The soil contracts and expands so wildly when left to its own devices that you need a way to moderate the size changes. Mulching, watering, and garden beds with light-rooted hedges and flowers are all great options. But if you line the side of your house with concrete blocks or footpaths, you can’t keep the soil in place as easily. Shifting soil will also create a chasm between the concrete and your foundation that rain will shoot right into.

3. Raised garden beds around the side of your house

Raised garden beds can trap water against the sides of your foundation. So always make sure your garden beds and any layers of mulch slope away from your home. It needs to be both gradual enough to fight against erosion and steep enough to mitigate the risks of standing water.

Go to Steady House Foundation Repairs for more tips to keep your home’s foundation safe.

Look for These Three Signs of Bad Drainage Before You Buy a Home

When you’re on the market for a new home, don’t fall in love with how it looks. Instead, run a full gamut of tests that measure the house’s structural quality and the quality of its systems. Even if you can’t schedule an appointment with a foundation expert, there are a few ways to check if a house has foundation problems just waiting to emerge. One way is to check if the floor is level. The other is to look for signs of bad drainage.

 Look for These Three Signs of Bad Drainage Before You Buy a Home

Keep an eye out for these three signs of poor drainage on the property:

1. The house is downhill.

There’s something picturesque about a house on a hill. But it means water running down the slope will pool against at least one side of the house unless you actively prevent it. Houses built on a downhill slope need to have carefully maintained lawns and drainage systems that divert the runoff around the foundation. So if your prospective next home is on a slope, make sure that the previous owner was on top of that maintenance. Also be sure that you’re willing to keep it going.

2. The grass and soil around the house aren’t uniform.

If the soil around the edge of the property’s foundation is pitted or has smooth chunks carved out of the surface, that usually indicates the gutters aren’t doing their job. There may be missing downspouts at those spots, the gutters might be clogged, or there could just be a pocket of extra loamy soil. No matter what the reason is, uneven, pocked soil around the foundation line means the previous owner hasn’t been paying attention.

3. The crawlspace smells musty.

Nobody likes going into a crawlspace, even under the best of circumstances. But if you’re looking at a home with a pier and beam foundation, you need to make sure that the space is in good condition. One of the simplest tests to look for bad drainage is to open the door and smell the air. A little bit of mustiness is to be expected. But if you are hit by a wave of mildew and rot, it might be time to walk away.

If poor drainage is a problem but you like the house anyway, call in a foundation expert to take a look. We can offer recommendations or an estimate for future repairs.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

How Poor Exterior Drainage Can Damage Your Foundation

Many homes suffer from the problem of poor exterior drainage damaging the integrity of the foundation. This problem stems from several potential sources, and fixing it as soon as possible is the best way of keeping your home’s foundation in good repair.  Let’s discuss how poor exterior drainage can damage your foundation.

How Poor Exterior Drainage Can Damage Your Foundation

Downspouts Depositing Rainwater Next to the Foundation

One of the primary sources of poor drainage around the outside of a house has to do with the gutters and downspouts, and it’s not that the house does not have them. The problem is that the downspouts deposit rainwater from the roof right next to the foundation and the surrounding soil does not slope away from the house.

The solution to this problem is installing subsurface drainage pipes connected to the downspouts and leading water away from the foundation to a safe discharge area, for example, to the curb at the street or a natural low spot on the property. In some cases, installing a sump pump is necessary if the house is situated in a low spot.

Missing Gutters and Downspouts

In other cases, a house may entirely lack gutters or downspouts or have missing sections. This causes water from the roof to pour down around the perimeter of the house, softening soil under the foundation and leading to settlement of the slab or beam.

The solution here is installing a gutter and downspout system all around the house and then connecting the downspouts into buried drainage pipes or a sump pump to move water away from the foundation.

Poorly Installed Gutters and Downspouts

Another potential drainage problem happens when gutters and downspouts were installed incorrectly. Gutters need to slope slightly toward the downspouts, and if they don’t, water may spill out in the wrong places, creating soil erosion and foundation settlement.

If your foundation is sinking or cracking and you suspect exterior drainage problems, contact Steady House Foundation Repair and get expert help in finding the right solution.

Shift Happens And What You Should Know

Houses shift and settle. Some notable signs are sticking and dragging windows and doors. There may be hairline cracks in the walls near interior doors and windows. Floors may slope, slant, buck or sag.  You may also notice exterior cracks as well. Gaps may develop between caulking and windows and doors, also between the ceiling and crown molding. These minor issues can become major ones unless attended to. Shifting and settling may be because of soil related issues.

Shift Happens And What You Should Know

The symptoms you are noticing can be caused by the soil under and around your home. The soil may not be compacted well, which causes your home to shift and settle. Soil composed mostly of clay, most affected by moisture, may swell and shrink. The soil’s movement affects your foundation. Since the movement is usually not even, neither are the shifting and settling.

Foundation Shifting

When you notice the signs of shifting and settling, make sure your rain gutters and downspouts send the water away from your house. Your yard should slightly slant or slope away from your house as well. You also don’t want your neighbor’s water to run toward your house. You want the water to run toward the drainage system away from your home. Your house responses to both too much moisture in the soil as well as too little. You will have shifting and settling during dry seasons as well as wet ones.

In you are in an area where the soil have a high clay content or lots of sand, there is a greater probability of foundation damage. Texas is known to have soil that expands and contract. Homes need good drainage as well. Some cities that should be particularly concerned are San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. Steady House Foundation Repair serves the Dallas and Fort Worth areas and has a vast amount of experience with both foundation and drainage problems.

You should have your home inspected by a professional foundation repair expert. You want an expert that will inform, consult and educate you about possible repairs and solutions. You want a specialist that offer quick repairs and foundation inspections that will keep your home and foundation in the best possible shape. You want Steady House Foundation Repair. For an inspection and consultation, contact us.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog