Cracks in Your Foundation – How Big is Too Big?

We have talked about cracks in your foundation cracks a lot. We have stressed that as a foundation settles naturally with age, it will crack. As long as the crack is thin and not horizontal in direction, it is probably pretty harmless. However, when we say “small,” you may want something that is slightly more specific. How big is too big when it comes to foundation cracks?

Cracks in Your Foundation – How Big is Too Big?

If a crack is what could be defined as “hairline” or otherwise the width of a strand of hair, this is from naturally settling and nothing to worry about. As there is more tension put on the concrete, such as soil erosion on one side causing the foundation to tilt, that crack will widen. If you ever notice a hairline crack go from hairline to bigger, then this is a problem. It means that the crack was not caused by natural compression, something foundations are designed to handle, and is instead being widened by tension.

Any time a crack widens after it forms is cause to call for a foundation inspection. However, it may not be growing due to tension. Another potential cause of larger cracks in your foundation is erosion. Over time, water can get into those cracks, which attracts dirt as well as naturally erodes them. In the winter, water can get in there, freeze, and also serves to widen them. If you notice the edges of a crack fraying, but the interior is still rather hairline, you might not have a tension problem, but rather an erosion problem. This is why even with hairline cracks, you want a professional to come out and seal them with epoxy. It prevents the cracks from naturally getting worse.

What this means for you is even if you have minor cracks in your foundation, they still need some attention. If you have a cracking foundation that needs addressed, contact us today to see what Steady House Foundation Repair can do to help.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

Own an Older Home? Look Out For These Common Foundation Problems

While you likely haven’t kept up on foundation laying techniques, they have only gotten better over the past 50 years. This means that properly laid foundations in modern houses are manifesting less problems and standing sturdier. However, as older homes already have a whole house one top of the foundation, there is really only reacting to problems and doing all you can to prevent problems. If you own an older home and are concerned about an aging foundation, here are three common problems to look out for.

Own an Older Home? Look Out For These Common Foundation Problems

Uneven Flooring

If you have doors or windows that don’t properly shut or items that roll on what should be a flat floor, then you likely have uneven flooring in your old home. While this can be a warning sign of foundation problems in a home, if you have wood sub-flooring or original hardwood floors, they are prone to warping over time. Still, it merits having the issue checked out.

Slab Leak

It is amazing how a small leak can cause such huge structural problems. If there is a leak in or beneath the foundation of your home, it is an issue that compounds. Not only is the moisture attracting mold and mildew, but it can eventually lead to further foundation shifting. This puts the pipe at risk of completely breaking which turns this into a much more urgent issue.

Cracking Walls

A sure sign of foundations problems in older homes is cracking on exterior or interior walls. You will likely see it more around windows or around chimney flues. Not every crack in a wall, particularly exterior wall cracks, is a huge problem, but it merits investigation.

Do you have foundation issues in your older home? Unfortunately, ignoring the issue won’t make it get any better. If you want help fixing up your foundation problems, contact us today to see what Steady House Foundation Repair can do to help.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

Repairing Foundation Cracks before Listing a Home to Sell

Before listing a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area, homeowners often make cosmetic improvements and stage their home. But what if a home has foundation cracks? In the eyes of a home buyer, foundation cracks are a lot more serious than faded carpeting or outdated appliances. Even if a home inspector assures a potential buyer that the horizontal or vertical foundation cracks are not of imminent concern, the presence of cracks leaves doubt in the buyer’s mind. In other words, even a few visible signs of foundation problems can scare the daylights out of would-be home buyers. Whether selling a home today or in a few years, consider a few steps for repairing foundation cracks.

Repairing Foundation Cracks before Listing a Home to Sell

Receiving an official diagnosis

In addition to regular foundation inspections by a professional, take time to look for visible signs that you might need professional repair for a slab or pier and beam foundation. Inside the home, take note of cracks in the paint and bowed walls. Outside the home, are there lines that look like stairs?

Budgeting for foundation repairs

Putting money aside to fix a foundation has an immediate return on investment when selling. Not only can a seller command a higher price, but the buyer keeps the good will with skittish buyers who don’t want a fixer-upper. In addition, be aware that a buyer could sue if a seller does not disclose the foundation problems. Cash offers on homes sold “as is” are too often dismal in terms of what a solid home fetches.

Turning to the professionals

A professional knows how to judge whether you have the telltale signs of foundation damage whereas a homeowner typically experiences a bias. Misaligned windows, sloping floors, drywall cracks, uneven floor planking, cracks in the windows and tile are just a few of the signs that may or may not indicate a problem.

Who is to blame when you notice foundational cracks? In some cases, it’s Mother Nature. Soil often expands and contracts. Temperature and moisture plays a role. Homeowners with plumbing leaks sometimes notice the moisture adds stress to the foundation. Poor drainage and building site preparation are other possibilities. No matter what causes the problem, fixing before listing typically translates into a positive home sale transaction.

At Steady House Foundation Repair, we provide one stop shopping for foundation needs. For more information about scheduling a foundation repair estimate or information about foundation lifts, please contact us today. We serve clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

My House Is Sinking! How do I fix it?

My House Is Sinking! This is a fixable problem. It may sound like an end of the world issue, but it is fixable. There could be many reasons why your home is sinking, it could be caused from water leaks, the type of soil your home was built on and how well the foundation was prepared during the initial stages of construction.

My House Is Sinking! How do I fix it?

Common Causes:

Soil:

Soil is easily saturated by water, even if it is underneath your home. Soil is highly absorbent, and can get water from some of the most out of the place sources like a nearby lake, stream, river, or ocean. It can even be caused from heavy rain and floods, which is a common occurrence in Texas.  While all soil is absorbent, a common soil found throughout Texas is called “expansive clay soil.” The constant change in weather causes the clay like soil to rapidly expand and contract, which causes massive shifting around and underneath your foundation.

Water Leaks:

Another common problem is from water leakage. You could have a nearby pipe which brings water throughout your town, or you could have your own underground source. Even sewage pipes which are not directly connected to your home could cause water leaks. It doesn’t take much for the soil to absorb from these sources

Solutions:

There are several solutions to this sinking problem. You can detect an area in your home which has sunk by placing a ball or other round object and see how it rolls. A perfectly level house shouldn’t even allow the ball to move at all. This can be fixed by readjusting the piers which your house was built on. Sometimes, an underground water source can be removed or drained. If your home has a concrete slab foundation, piers can be installed underneath to help further secure your home.

Call us today and get that sinking feeling in your home fixed!

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

What Does It Mean When a Shift Happens?

A shift or “settling” is when a home begins to settle or shift in a particular direction. This can be a little alarming for a homeowner to experience but there are some reasons as to why this happens. Some of the reasons can be from a poor construction job, a natural occurrence, or cracks in the home’s foundation. A home with foundation damage is one of the biggest reasons why a home shifts. This is why you should have your home inspected for foundation damage if you notice a shift happen out of nowhere. Let’s look further into the signs of shifting and foundation damage.

What Does It Mean When a Shift Happens?

Signs of shifting

Here’s a shortlist of the signs that your home is shifting.

  • Damaged or burst water pipes
  • Slanted and uneven floors
  • Doors and windows don’t open properly

Floors going from being nice and level to being uneven is an obvious sign that shifting is occurring. Other issues like windows being difficult to open or burst pipes can have other causes but they are common with shifting.

What causes foundation damage

Here are some causes of foundation damage.

  • Leaking pipes
  • Soil becoming moister
  • An improper construction job on the property like a basement job
  • Transpiration
  • An earthquake or flood

These issues can cause the foundation damage that causes your home to shift. A lot of these can be a little hard to tell right away so it’s best to contact a professional if you think you have foundation damage.

Conclusion

A shift or settling is when your home basically starts to move out of position. The obvious signs of this are uneven floors and busted pipes. A major cause of shifting is foundation damage. Foundation damage can occur from things like earthquakes or really poor construction jobs. If you think that your home is shifting from foundation damage then check us out here for more information.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

How to Identify 3 Types of Foundation Cracks

As a homeowner, you know that it’s your job to keep your home in good condition and take care of all necessary repairs. But very few homeowners get regular foundation inspections. It’s easy to think of the foundation as something solid that cannot change. However, this is only true when the ground under the foundation doesn’t change. If you are on expansive clay-rich soil or if your region is experiencing unusually dry or wet weather, your foundation may shift unexpectedly. It’s important for homeowners to be able to identify the early signs of a foundation problem, including foundation cracks, so that repairs can be effected before the foundation fracture becomes extensive or starts to damage the rest of the house.

How to Identify 3 Types of Foundation Cracks

Foundations Crack Before They Break

Before a foundation breaks completely, it starts to crack. If you catch it at the cracking phase, you can save your home with early preventative measures and repairs. The best way to do this is to watch for cracks that indicate foundation issues. For most homes, these can be spotted along the base of the house, usually behind low flower beds if the grass doesn’t go up to the edge of the house. For homes with basements, foundation issues are often spotted as cracks in the walls that can get quite large. Let’s take a look at the types of cracks to look out for both outside and in basements.

1) Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical cracks are the most common type of foundation crack and look exactly as you’d expect them to. This can be one slowly widening crack or a spider web of vertical fractures that are crumbling apart. The nature of the vertical crack depends on how the soil is shifting under your home and can be quite complex. However, vertical cracks are most likely when one section of the home is pushed up away from the rest or when one half horizontally away from the other creating a fissure. Diagonal cracks that are mostly vertical are considered vertical cracks.

2) Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracks are the result of a different kind of soil shifting. If your foundation is buried in several different layers of soil, one layer expanding or shifting more than the others can cause stress to hit or shear your foundation horizontally. Several horizontal cracks in a stack are indications of soil pushing in after expanding while a single crack is more likely to be shifting and shearing force pulling the lower part of your foundation away from the upper part. Horizontal cracks are sometimes hard to catch if you don’t have a basement and the crack is below your yard soil line.

3) Stair Foundation Horizontal Cracks

For home where the foundation is lined with bricks or a diagonal crack is at an even 45-degree angle, you may see a stair-step shaped crack in your wall or foundation. This is known a stair crack for obvious reasons and is what happens when brick is pulled apart by foundation problems. You may also see your brick facade up the side of your house crack as well because it is built onto your splitting foundation.

If you see any of these types of crack in your foundation or any any other signs that concern you, please call a foundation repair team right away. Foundation problems start small but can wreck entire houses if they go untreated. For more information about foundation repairs and trouble identification, contact us today.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

DFW Landlords: Shift Happens & Tenants Can Sue

Foundation Repair Notes For DFW Landlords

Shift Happens! Your home and rental properties are some of the biggest investments you’ll make in a lifetime. Shift happens when the ground beneath your home becomes unstable due to weather, earthquakes or earth movements, local extraction (mining), mudslides or even just years of weight bearing under your home.

DFW Landlords: Shift Happens & Tenants Can Sue

Landlords face an extra risk when severe foundation problems affect the living conditions of a rental property. Sloping floors, cracks and other symptoms of foundation shift make your rental worth less to renters, affecting your bottom line. Even scarier, tenants CAN sue you if they get injured by a sloped floor or other foundation issue.

Foundation Problems on The Rise

Pay close attention to your buildings foundations, even in new homes. According to The New York Times (NYT) shifting soil is a very real threat with increased numbers of homes being affected in recent years. “Extreme weather possibly linked to climate change, as well as construction on less stable ground, have provoked unprecedented foundation failures in houses nationwide”.

Homeowners are spending a billion more dollars per year on foundation fixes than they were 10 years ago, reports NYT. Though there has been a tremendous increase in housing development as well.

Symptoms of Foundation Problems:

  • Doors & windows are difficult to open/close
  • Cracks in ceilings/walls/chimneys
  • Strange creaking noises
  • Floor cracks
  • Gaps & spacing between floors and walls
  • Sloping floors

Is a Texas Landlord Obligated to Make Repairs?

It depends on the severity of the situation. Loud creaking noises and bathroom doors that don’t shut are not really a health issue. But if your tenant falls and breaks their neck due to a sloping floor, or if the home separates from the concrete porch and someone breaks their ankle, the short answer is yes, you will be held responsible. Learn more about Texas tenant rights here.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you suspect a foundation problem. Shift happens and it’s not a matter of if, but of when. Whether your unit is built on a pier and beam foundation, or a concrete slab foundation, Steady House Foundation Repair is the right company to handle your rental foundation problems.

Related Reading:

Is Landlord in Texas Obligated to Make Repairs?

Steady House Foundation Repair / Dallas Fort Worth

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

Can You Repair Foundation Cracks When It is Wet?

While the amount of times it is very wet in the Dallas-Forth Worth area are not exactly numerous, you just know as soon as you schedule a foundation repair, it is going to rain like never before. While more major repairs will need to wait until the weather dries up a bit, the repair of foundation cracks are another story.

Can You Repair Foundation Cracks When It is Wet?

If it is raining out, your foundation cracks can still be repaired, but only if the cracks themselves are pretty dry. If your cracks are not dry, your foundation repair company will need to reschedule. However, the small bit of good news is that they may have found a potential foundation problem before it even started.

If water is splashing up into foundation cracks when it is raining, this means you likely have drainage issues around your home that is causing shifting and cracking. If you rectify these issues, you may be able to stop potentially more expensive foundation issues down the line.

In some homes, water close to foundation can be as simple as cleaning out those overflowing gutters. In others, you may need drainage options like re-grading near your foundation or installing a French drain to deal with the excess water.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for foundation cracks to appear in order to know if you have drainage issues around your home. If you see pooling close to your foundation when it rains in any spot around it, then you will need to address a drainage issue. This means moisture is seeping down and it could be causing shifting and hydrostatic pressure.

If you have a foundation that is manifesting cracking or appears to have drainage issues, contact us today to see what Steady House Foundation Repair can do to help you get the issues fixed up fast.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

How Long to Wait to Repair Your Home After a Foundation Problem?

If you are lucky, you will catch foundation problems early before they become more than a few cracks. As a foundation issue goes on, it can manifest a variety of problems from doors sticking to huge cracks in the drywall. In some cases, they can even be the cause of roofing problems. While repairing your foundation can normally fix issues like a sticking door, cracks in drywall and most other issues will need to be repaired separately.

How Long to Wait to Repair Your Home After a Foundation Problem?

While you obviously want to wait until the cause of the problem has been repaired – in this case the foundation – can you start repairing the other problems right away? In truth, it is best to wait at least six months before your do even minor repairs like replacing the drywall. Why? Well, the same reason as what caused the problem – your foundation will be settling. After foundation repair, your repaired foundation will settle again similar to how it settled after it was first installed. It will be minor and likely not to cause any new problems, but you will want to let it settle before fixing the old issues. It would be a shame to install new drywall in an area only to find it cracked again a few months later.

As for roof issues, while remodeling typically tells you to go “from the top down” in terms of replacement, you definitely want to get the foundation fixed before you fix the roof in this case. In the same vein as minor repairs like drywall, your roof will again be affected by settling. Setting up temporary fixes for a roof problem is advised before committing to something permanent.

Do you have foundation issues that are causing myriad other issues in your home? Contact us today to see what Steady House Foundation Repair can do to help you get your home back on stable legs.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

What to Do to Prepare Your Home For Foundation Repair?

If you have discovered that your home has developed foundation problems, your first step should be to call out a foundation repair company to confirm these potential issues. Once done, they will be able to give you a run down on what the problem is and what they recommend to be done to fix it. Once you have that repair scheduled, you want it to go smoothly, and here are some things you can do to prepare your home for foundation repair.

What to Do to Prepare Your Home For Foundation Repair?

Sort Out Your Landscaping

Obviously, you don’t want to add any new landscaping by the foundation before a repair. You will also want to remove items away from the perimeter to minimize the amount of work that needs to be done by the crew. While not always possible, you may want to reserve parking close to your home as well.

If you would like to really be proactive, you can ask the contractor if there are any areas where they will need to remove landscaping. While they can do that themselves, it can save them time if you start removing some items.

Have a Foundation Repair Plan

Not every foundation problem is something extreme like a complete concrete slab replacement. However, your contractor will go over what they need to happen. It may require you to be out of your home. Alternatively, foundation repair can be loud and somewhat intrusive, you may feel more comfortable relocating elsewhere. This means that even if you don’t technically need to leave your home, you may want a plan on where to go if you need to.

Secure the Interior

Not all foundation work happens outside. Just like the exterior, you will need to clear the interior as well. For example, if you have bowing basement walls, you will want to clean out the basement so the crew can work quickly and obstruction-free. You will also want to restrain pets or wandering toddlers for their safety during work hours.

Do you believe your home has foundation problems? Contact us today! Steady Home Foundation Repair can help you determine what the problem is and can help you get it fixed quickly.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog