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.

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.

3 Qualities to Look For in a Foundation Contractor

So you need some foundation work done around your residential or commercial property, but you don’t know where to begin? Whether you need a minor foundation repair job addressed or a complete installation, it is always a good idea to call on the help of a professional contractor. But how can you be sure you found the right contractor for the job? In this post, we will introduce you to two qualities you should look for in a great foundation contractor.

3 Qualities to Look For in a Foundation Contractor

  1. The Ability to Communicate Transparently: You don’t want to hire a contractor who is going to gloss over vital information or be vague about important points. If a contractor is easy to touch base with and happy to answer all of your questions, it is a good sign that they are a reputable contractor. Additionally, you want someone who will go over the big and little details with you such as cost, time frame, removal of old materials, and preparation techniques.
  2. They Have a Backup Plan: The unfortunate reality of any foundation repair project is that once in a while, things don’t always go according to plan. For example, a foundation repair may take longer than usual due to harsh weather conditions. Before hiring a contractor, ask them what their Plan B is. What will they do when something gets in the way of finishing the job in a timely manner? The right foundation contractor will have an answer for you and a plan as to how they’ll handle the situation.
  3. A Proven Track Record: Great foundation contractors will have a proven track record which includes plenty of testimonials from other customers as well as a portfolio of their past work. Before hiring anyone, ask to speak to a few references or read the reviews on their website and any other online platform. Finally, by looking at examples of their past work, you can get a sense of what they’ll do for you.

Looking for more information? Contact us today!

Drainage Issues: Learn the Signs Before It’s Too Late

It certainly doesn’t take an expert to realize that puddles in the basement or a pool of water in your front yard are potential signs of a drainage problem. However, there are many drainage issues that aren’t so easy to see. Detecting drainage problems when they’re small and easier to fix is crucial to protecting your property from extensive repairs in the future. Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs to look for if you think you may have a drainage problem.

Drainage Issues: Learn the Signs Before It's Too Late

Notice Cracks

We all know that houses tend to settle over time, which can often cause small cracks in the foundation. Although most small cracks are harmless, you need to know when it’s time to call the experts. Any cracks that are larger than about 1/8th of an inch wide should be closely watched. If you notice these cracks are growing, it’s time to call in the pros.

Watch Those Downspouts

If you notice that your downspouts are dumping too much water from the roof, this could be hazardous to your foundation. Too much water being dumped too close to your home’s foundation can cause flooding in your basement, thus ruining your flooring, walls, and even damaging your personal belongings.

Examine Your Gutters

Designed to keep water away from your home, gutters should be examined on a fairly routine basis. If you notice vertical streaks of dirt on the outside of your gutters, splatters of mud on the siding, or vertically peeling paint on your home’s exterior, it could be a clear sign that your gutters are not functioning as they should. They may simply be clogged with leaves and need to be cleared out by a professional. However, undersized or improperly pitched gutters will need to be reinstalled or completely replaced.

At Steady House Foundation Repair, we want to help you protect your property. That’s why we work with each of our customers across the DFW area to fix what is broken and, more importantly, to help detect potential problems before they arise. The earlier you detect an issue, the more money you save yourself in the end. If you’ve noticed any of the above signs or you suspect that you might have a drainage problem, contact us today!

3 Signs Your Foundation’s Settling Isn’t Serious

If you think there’s something wrong with your foundation, the first thing you want is confirmation that it’s not serious. There’s nothing like the peace of mind after you find a crack you don’t remember seeing before and realizing it’s not something you need to panic about. Here are three signs that your home’s foundation is simply settling or not moving at all.

3 Signs Your Foundation's Settling Isn't Serious

Your wooden door is sticking.

If your door is harder to open and close then you remember, you might immediately worry about your foundation. But if you have a wooden door, it might just be swelling from humidity. Wooden doors can also expand and contract because of the temperature, so don’t be too concerned if this is the only problem you see. Even wooden door frames can swell against a metal or fiberglass door enough to make it stick. If the problem stays regardless of the season but it doesn’t get worse, the foundation might just be settling.

There are straight cracks in the drywall.

Your home’s walls are made up of smaller sheets of drywall. If you have a grid of paint lines in your garage, that’s approximately how tall and wide the sheetrock is in your home’s interior, too. Over time, heat and foundational settling tug the paint apart. The cracks run over the seams. As long as the cracks are thin and just horizontal or vertical, they’re probably not an emergency. Take a picture so you can measure growth and keep an eye out for more telling diagonal cracks.

A foundation expert signs off on it.

Having a professional inspect your foundation gives the best peace of mind. An inspector can measure the levelness of the floors, inspect the visible damage, and check for signs of problems that are harder to spot. They can tell you more about your foundation, tips for keeping settling in check, and answer your questions.

If you want that peace of mind as soon as possible, schedule an appointment with Steady House Foundation. One of our inspectors will be happy to take a look.

Soil Shift Happens: 2 Things You Need to Know About the Dirt Around Your Foundation

One of the first things you’ll see online when you type in ‘foundation maintenance’ is a lot of advice about watering your soil. Dry soil contracts and pulls away from the sides of your foundation. The dirt underneath your foundation can also shift and destabilize. Foundation shift happens when the soil isn’t hydrated, but it also depends on the soil itself.

Soil Shift Happens: 2 Things You Need to Know About the Dirt Around Your Foundation

What type of soil is on your property?

If you’re directly in Dallas County, find your neighborhood on this soil map of the area. While knowing the gradient of the property, or how much it slopes, gives you a good indication of how much erosion and drainage might be a problem in the future, it’s an incomplete picture. The type of soil your house sits on can tell you a lot about how likely foundational shift is. The majority of the soil around Dallas has a heavy clay make-up, but that general rule doesn’t apply to the whole metroplex. If you live outside of the Dallas county limits, a quick search can tell you more about your neighborhood’s soil.

Clay, loam, or sand — why does it matter?

If you have loamy dirt, or dirt with a good mix of clay, sand, and silt, you hit the jackpot. This soil is more stable than it’s other counterparts. However, it’s much more likely than even loam-heavy regions have too much clay in the soil. Sandy soil is almost as good because of the good drainage, but it’s rare. Unfortunately, sandy soil is also vulnerable to erosion.

Clay is really good at retaining water, which is good for your plants but bad for the foundation. The dirt will swell up with as much water as it can hold onto when it rains, and that can put a lot of pressure on your foundation. During a drought, the dirt will severely shrink as the water disappears. The high level of expansion and contraction is why shift happens so much in the DFW area.

You don’t have to figure out what type of soil your foundation sits on to keep it safe. Call in a foundation inspector to examine potential problems and shift.

Three Testable Ways Your Pier and Beam Foundation Might Not Be Level

Whether you’re looking for a new home to buy or you’re preparing for some hardcore spring cleaning, the integrity of the foundation. When you have a pier and beam foundation, it’s important to check for problems in the subflooring and the floor’s levelness to catch problems early on. Here are three ways to do it.

Three Testable Ways Your Pier and Beam Foundation Might Not Be Level

1. Look for a gradual incline across the length of the house.

It’s hard to notice a whole house tilt by yourself. If your home is built on a hill, or there’s been a lot of erosion in the last few months, those are signs that shifting is a risk. If the tilt is severe or growing, you might be able to feel it as you walk down a straight hallway. But the best way to discover a tilt across a whole house’s foundation is to call an inspector. They can often confirm a tilt down to the degree as part of a free estimate for repairs.

2. Check rooms from corner to corner.

It’s easier to check individual rooms for a tilt. You may have heard of the marble test, where you place a marble in different sections of the floor and see if it rolls. You can also use a level or other DIY tests. If just one room is at a tilt, that means there’s uneven stress on the foundation, and a more official test can isolate the problems.

3. Look for vertical and horizontal warps.

Even if one corner of the room isn’t higher than the other, there may be warps and warbles across the space. That’s because most rooms are big enough to have several piers and beams under the floors. If one of them settles or starts to crack, you might be able to feel or see valleys or waves in the flooring.

If you want to get your foundation tested so you know for sure, go to Steady House Foundation Repair here.

3 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home’s Foundation

Texas homes are well-known for their foundation troubles. Every home has a few hairline cracks in the concrete, and soaker hoses running around the edge of a home, even where there aren’t any plants, are a common sight.  Let’s talk about 3 ways water can damage your home’s foundation.

3 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home's Foundation


A lot of it has to do with the weather. The are’s multi-year drought, intermixed with heavy torrential rain, is putting stress on everyone’s concrete foundation. Water can cause a lot of damage that’s hard to spot. Here are three ways it might be hurting your foundation behind the scenes:

1. Poor drainage makes water sit against your house.

If your home is at the bottom of an incline, that’s bad news for your foundation. When water pools against the side of your house, eventually it will find its way into the basement. It will also wear any the dirt and slip under the concrete slab. That replaces the semi-stable dirt support around your foundation with flowing water and mud.

2. Droughts change the consistency of the soil around the slab.

Not all of the soil on your property has the same composition. Some of it can be rocky and have easy drainage. Some of your soil might be more like clay. When the soil is frequently, consistently watered, those different types of soil offer relatively equal amounts of foundation support. But when it’s been months since the last good downpour, some dirt will dry out and contract more than the rest. Instead of equally distributing its weight on the soil, then, some parts face more stress and are more likely to crack.

3. Without good gutters, rain will fall against your slab’s seams.

Gutters don’t just redirect water away from your front door. They also make sure water doesn’t free fall from your roof against the concrete. Without them, the pressure would wear down the concrete. It can push the soil around the sides of your foundation away and push more water under the slab. If water falls in front of your garage, it will also work its way between your house and driveway slabs of concrete.

Fix poor drainage and water problems before you have to fix your home’s foundation. Contact us at Steady House Foundation Repair to get started.

3 Important Qualities of a Reputable Foundation Contractor

Finding the right contractor for any kind of home repair or renovation project can seem like a daunting task. But when you are familiarized with key qualities you should always expect from the best contractors, finding the right professional for the job becomes a cinch! In this post, we’ll introduce you to three important qualities every reputable foundation contractor possesses.

3 Important Qualities of a Reputable Foundation Contractor

  1. Experience: The last mistake you want to make is hiring a foundation contractor who has absolutely no experience. For the sake of your home and the safety of everyone in your home, it’s important to find a seasoned foundation contractor. One way to gauge a contractor’s level of experience is by talking to their references, asking them about their specialized skills, and reading customer testimonials online. Along with experience, a reputable foundation contractor should be able to provide their credentials such as a certificate of insurance, a license, and other important documents that prove they are legally operating in the state.
  2. Integrity: Unfortunately, there are far too many contractors in the world who don’t have their clients’ best interest at heart. They have no qualms about dishonestly overcharging or even leaving projects unfinished. The best foundation contractors have integrity and a solid reputation in the community. Once again, you can determine a contractor’s level of integrity by asking other clients about their experience with that contractor.
  3. Excellent Listening And Communication Skills: Great foundation contractors are great listeners and always prioritize the needs, concerns, and questions of each client. They won’t gloss over important information and they won’t evade questions. A reputable foundation contractor will take the time to address all of your concerns before starting a project and happily discuss matters with you should you have questions during the project.

Are you looking for a great foundation contractor? Contact us today!