Can You Live in a House During Foundation Repair?

Many homeowners want to know if they can remain inside their homes throughout the duration of their foundation repair. The answer is “yes.” You can stay inside your home; no need to check your family into a hotel or stay with relatives. When you learn what the foundation repair process entails, you’ll see why vacating your home is unnecessary.

The Repair Process

Typically, most home foundations can be corrected and leveled back into position by installing piers. This also stabilizes the concrete slab and prevents future movement caused by shifting soil.

Contrary to belief, the process does not tear up your entire yard and leave piles of dirt all over the landscape. The process typically can be completed in a single day, though it could take longer depending on the severity of the damage. Disruption to your routine during repairs is minimal.

Once pier installation is complete, the holes are back-filled, and we use any excess soil left over to correct any drainage issues that may arise. If that’s not necessary, then we just haul away the debris. We leave none of the mess behind, so no need to hire a separate disposal crew.

Choosing to Leave

While it’s perfectly acceptable to remain inside your home, some homeowners nevertheless choose to vacate while repairs are in progress. Regardless of whether you choose to stay or leave, we recommend giving your neighbors a courtesy notice that there may be some noise and vibrations from industrial machinery.

If for whatever reason, we feel it is unadvisable for you to stay in your home, we will let you know before beginning repairs.

We Repair Your Foundation Without Disruption

Call Align Foundation Repair if you suspect foundation damage. A technician will need to assess the concrete slab and soil conditions to determine the appropriate action to take. In most scenarios, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your home while repair is underway. Our Garland foundation service area covers the city and surrounding regions.

Tips to Prevent Soil Erosion Around Your Foundation

Even the sturdiest home foundation can be compromised by less-than-optimal soil conditions, which is why soil erosion prevention is so important for homes in North Texas, where rainstorms are very powerful and can erode soil easily. Learn the key steps to home foundation erosion control.

What Causes Soil Erosion?

First, it helps to understand the primary causes behind soil erosion specific to Dallas and surrounding areas. While multiple factors are at work, running water is the leading cause. Even minor flooding can transport the topsoil from one location to another. Similarly, the impact of falling rainwater can cause topsoil to disperse.

Soil erosion creates gaps in the soil, in turn causing the foundation to shift and eventually crack or even split apart completely. In the home, this can create warped or sloped floors and buckling walls.

Now, let’s examine the steps vital for offsetting soil erosion.

Maintain the Gutter System

Remember, water is the leading cause of soil erosion. Keeping puddling water away from the home is of utmost priority. To prevent water accumulation along the home perimeter, be sure to regularly inspect the gutters. Be sure the downspout is pointed at least five feet away from the house. Also, gutters that are sagging or pulling away from the walls require professional attention. Finally, climb up a ladder and remove physical debris from the gutters at least twice a year.

Install a Ground-Level Drainage System

French drains are one of the most common, though other types include channel and surface drains. A technician will recommend the optimal drainage solution based on the layout of your property. A ground-level drain collects water in a basin and transports it to a more removed location.

Strategic Landscaping

Be mindful of your landscaping, which needs to be about function just as much as visual curb appeal. Keep these pointers in mind:

  • Refrain from planting shrubs or deep-root plants too close to the home. The roots can intrude and disrupt the soil.
  • Consider turfgrass like annual rye, which quickly germinates and helps stabilize the soil. Regardless of the grass type, consider using straw and a seed germination blanket to protect the topsoil.

Examine the Slope

You won’t be able to determine the slope angle with a visual inspection alone. A technician will need to determine your property’s current sloping, if there is any. Ideally, the ground should slope away from the home at a 3% to 5% angle for the first 10 feet.

We Provide Anti-Soil Erosion Measures

If you notice water puddling around your home, then some degree of soil erosion is likely taking place. Contact Align Foundation Repair for home foundation repair services. A technician will evaluate the foundation’s condition and recommend prevention measures. Our Dallas home foundation service providers will recommend a tailored solution specific to your home type.

Why Soil Pulls Away From a Foundation During Summer

The foundation is built on top of the soil. If the soil shifts, the foundation is going to move around. The movement, while subtle and gradual, is enough to cause eventual fractures and splits in the concrete slab. During the summer months, soil pulling away from the foundation is commonplace, especially in the Dallas and Ft Worth region. Why does this happen, and what can homeowners do about it?

What Causes Soil to Pull Away?

Soil pulls away for different reasons. The Dallas region is known for its hot summers. The heat plays a major role. The heat rays cause moisture in the soil to quickly evaporate. When the soil is dry and warm, it contracts and shifts, often moving away from the foundation. This leaves significant gaps between the foundation’s slab and the dirt that borders the home. This leads the foundation to shift, sink, or slope at an uneven angle and eventually crack apart.

Soil pulling away is especially common in Plano and surrounding cities that have heavy clay-based soil that is prone to drying out. Plano home foundation service providers keep these points in mind during residential inspections where soil conditions must also be examined.

Is Soil Pulling Away in Your Home?

Make a habit of performing a visual inspection around the border of your home. Do you see physical gaps and spaces in the dirt? Does the soil appear cracked along these areas? These are signs of soil contracting and pulling away.

What Do You Do?

Since soil pulls away when it dries, prevent it from drying out by watering it. Run a soaker hose around the home for about 20-minutes. Position the hose about 12 to 18-inches from the perimeter of the house. Be sure not to oversaturate the soil; the soil should be moderately moist. If a puddle is beginning to form, then you overdid it.

Run the soaker hose during summer when the weather forecast suggests a hot and dry week ahead.

Call Align Foundation Repair for a Foundation Inspection

While you can see signs of soil pulling away, you may not be able to tell whether foundation damage has occurred as a result. Soil separating from the house over many summers can cause significant damage that warrants a professional inspection. Contact Align Foundation Repair for foundation repair service solutions. We will provide a free estimate and quote.

Do New Construction Homes Need Foundation Maintenance?

One of the perks of moving into a newly constructed home is that everything is, well, brand new. Often, this entails little to no maintenance on components like the windows, doors, cabinetry, built-in appliances, etc. Can the same be said of the foundation, which is also new? Despite the concrete slab being recently poured in and cured, it still requires maintenance. Find out why you shouldn’t ignore a foundation inspection even in a recently-built property.

Why New Foundations Still Require Maintenance

As the owner of a new home, you may think foundation maintenance is something you don’t have to worry about for another 20 years. Unfortunately, this mindset is only inviting trouble down the line. The North Texas region is especially notable for having heavy clay based soil. Anyone in the agriculture industry can tell you that this soil type is notorious for absorbing moisture and subsequently drying out. This leads to an endless cycle of soil shrinkage and expansion. As the soil shifts, so does the foundation that rests above the soil. This can cause even relatively new foundations to begin cracking or coming apart. This is precisely why new construction home foundation maintenance is required even in the first year of residence.

How to Maintain a Foundation

Be proactive with these measures starting from the time you move into the home:

  • Periodically walk around the house (both inside and outside) and visually check for cracks along the walls, floors, and ceiling. When outside, look for signs of the soil pulling away from the home.
  • In the summer or when there is a drought, use a soaker hose to water the soil that borders the home.
  • Monitor the drainage system. Though likely also brand new, it can still become clogged after a heavy rain spell. The same goes for the gutter and downspout.
  • Refrain from planting shrubs or deep-root plants too close to the home. The roots can extend below the foundation and disrupt the soil. The same goes for trees. If planting a sapling, keep it a minimum 20-feet away from the house.

Keep in mind that some level of settling is going to occur; that’s natural and no cause for alarm. However, homeowners should take an active role to keep the settling to a minimum, especially given the region’s expansive soil.

Don’t Forget the Professional Inspection

The above measures are a great way to keep tabs on the state of your foundation, but they are no substitute for a visual assessment from a trained technician. Make sure that one of your new home foundation maintenance tasks is getting a yearly inspection from a professional. Our Dallas County foundation service area covers the city and surrounding regions. Give Align Foundation Repair a call today.

Why is an Area Drain Typically Used?

As with all other exterior drains, the primary purpose of an area drain is to shuttle water away from the foundation. However, what makes its application different from other drain types? What are the right circumstances for area drain usage in North Texas?

What is an Area Drain?

First, it helps to understand how an area drain is constructed. The drain system and its pipes are installed below the soil. The construction extends beyond the drainage system itself. For an area drain to be effective, the trench the system is built under needs to be slightly sloped downwards. This allows gravity to do the job by enabling water to naturally flow downward through the pipes and through an exit basin located away from property grounds.

An area drain has an open grate for water to enter. The connecting pipes are angled downwards and flow to the exit grate. The exit point may be near or beyond the property boundaries. Ideally, it should be an open area that gets ample and direct sunlight to allow for optimal evaporation.

When is an Area Drain Necessary?

A technician may recommend an area drain if you have a recurring problem with ponding water after a rain spell. The fact that water is lingering for extended periods indicates that the ground is flat, thus not allowing water to naturally flow where a slope descends. Even if you don’t see puddles directly, you may notice an excessively soggy lawn that takes upwards of days to dry out. Additionally, you may also notice water getting into the crawlspace. Worse, water may seep into the ground level of your home.

If left untreated, the ponding water can lead to soil erosion, creating gaps in the ground that enables even more water to collect. If it makes contact with the foundation, it can make its way into areas where cracks and openings are present and exacerbate existing damage to the slab.

Area Drains Are Made to Specific Residential Requirements

One of the best attributes of area drains is that they can be built to specifications most beneficial for the layout of your land. If your neighbor’s property sits higher than yours, for example, water may divert from the neighbor’s plot of land to yours. An area drain can be installed at the specific point where water enters from the neighbor’s property.

In addition, the exit pipe can also be positioned in accordance with city ordinance. Some municipalities have regulations regarding where water can and cannot be redirected.

We Install Area Drains

Do you find water remaining on your lawn long after rain? Your existing drainage system may be inadequate. An area drain may be the appropriate corrective action. The purpose of an area drain system is precisely to remove the water that can cause structural damage and invite mold and mildew growth. Take measures before the situation gets worse by calling Align Foundation Repair. We provide a free estimate with every consultation.

How Can I Tell If I Need Drainage Work?

Your gutters are your first line of defense against puddling water. Prolonged water exposure is the primary cause of foundation damage. The signs of residential drainage problems include a gushing gutter, moving mulch, puddling water, ground mildew, and more. We will discuss these at length; these are telltale signs that your drainage is not doing its job and requires a serious look from a professional.

1. Puddling Water

It’s normal for water to puddle around your yard after rain. It becomes abnormal, however, if the puddle remains for days on end. The water is supposed to eventually drain out to the street or filter through the soil. Water puddling indicates one of two things: the drainage system needs work, and the yard is likely not properly sloped.

2. Gushing Gutters

Is water exiting the downspout sporadically instead of flowing out smoothly? This is a sign of a backed-up gutter. You may also notice mud splatters on the wall; this indicates water coming out forcefully and in short bursts. You will need to clean the gutters. In most cases, you may just need to get on a ladder and remove physical debris by hand. It’s also possible, though, that the gutters may be damaged, improperly pitched, or undersized. The gutters may need to be reconfigured.

3. Ground Mildew

If you spot or smell mildew on the ground, that’s a tipoff that an issue is occurring at ground level.

4. Shifting Mulch

Do you notice mulch moving away from certain areas, leaving bare spots in the soil? Mulch shifts when water collects and carves a gulley within the landscape. Often, the water will carry away much of the mulch and vegetation and drag them into spots where they don’t belong. Aside from poor drainage, water can also puddle due to compact soil that doesn’t drain properly. This is especially common in the North Texas region where the heavy clay-based soil is prone to compaction.

5. Bowing Floors

Water can seep into the concrete foundation especially if there are existing cracks and splits in the slab. This causes further warping and expansion. Of course, you can’t see the foundation directly, but you will notice something is awry when the floors feel a bit “off.” You may notice some parts feel like it’s bulging, slanted, or sloped.

Correct Drainage Problems ASAP

Drainage issues will only exacerbate over time. Don’t ignore the drainage problem signs, believing they are just the normal recourse after a rain spell. The effect of ponding water can be devastating to the concrete foundation. Contact Align Foundation Repair if water time and again lingers around your property. Your drainage system likely requires some refitting. We provide a free estimate with every home visit.

Do You Repair Existing Drainage Systems?

Can a residential drainage system be repaired, or are you better off replacing the entire system? The answer depends on the extent of the damage and other factors. At Align Foundation Repair, we offer effective, long-term existing drainage system repair solutions, though in some rare cases, the whole system may need to be replaced.

Let’s explore the factors that determine when repair is doable and the situations that warrant a total drain replacement.

When Can a Drain Be Repaired?

If you see puddles forming around the home and dangerously close to the foundation, then the drainage is clearly failing. What is the cause of the drain failure in the first place? The most common cause is a simple backup due to a buildup of solid debris accumulating in the pipes. The drains can be cleared using a number of techniques, such as hydro-jetting.

The issue may also lie within the pipe itself. The pipe may be sagging (AKA “bellying”) or be separated at the joints. If gutters are involved, the pipe may pull away from the roof. These issues are repairable.

When Should You Replace the Entire Drainage?

A simple reason for replacement is old age. The definition of “old,” though, depends on the type of pipes. Cast iron pipes, for example, have a lifespan of about 50 years. PVC pipes, more common in modern homes in the North Texas region, have a similar lifespan of 50 to 60 years. If you’re experiencing constant issues, and the pipes are within five years of their life expectancy, then it may be time for a replacement.

Issues may also arise due to poor initial installation. Drainage needs to be installed with its surroundings in mind. The driveway, for example, may have a section that angles inward, allowing water to puddle. Likewise, the home itself may be built on the downward end of a slope. These are issues that need to be addressed beforehand. However, the previous installer may not have taken these facets into consideration. In this instance, the entire system may need to be replaced or reconfigured.

Other situations that may require a full replacement include:

  • Extensive pipe corrosion
  • Extensive pipe damage from tree roots
  • Old pipes not conforming to modern regulations

We Repair and Replace Existing Drains

Align Foundation Repair installs drainage systems, including French, surface, and channel drain solutions. Likewise, we can also fix a current drainage system if the issue is relatively minor, and the system as a whole is still in fair condition.

Only an in-person evaluation from one of our technicians can make the determination. Give us a call today; we provide a free estimate with every home visit.

What Type of Maintenance Is Required for My Drainage System?

The drainage system on your property is one of the most critical components yet one of the most overlooked. Without it, water is susceptible to ponding precariously close to the foundation. This is especially so in the North Texas region where soil erosion creates cavities and gaps for water to settle. Drainage system maintenance is pivotal. Do you know how to care for it and keep it in usable condition? The solution includes both DIY and professional upkeep.

Professional Maintenance

While there are DIY measures, they do not replace the yearly or so professional inspection. Most drainage pipes are installed below surface; homeowners have no way of observing the pipe interior to examine its condition. A professional can assess the pipes without any intrusive digging. This is made possible thanks to miniature cameras that can be snaked into the pipe. This is no different than the cameras used for observing an air duct system or plumbing pipes in the home. The camera can detect debris; removing debris can be achieved using some form of water flushing method, such as hydro jetting.

Remove Nearby Vegetation

While you can’t check the pipe interior, you can check the grate. The openings can easily become clogged with debris carried over from flowing water. Constantly check the grate and remove obstructions. It also helps to rake away nearby leaves and keep the immediate vicinity clear of foliage. This is especially important during spring and fall when vegetation is in abundance.

Remove the Grate

If you’re a bit more hands-on, you can remove the grate and remove debris by hand or use a hand cultivator. You can even use a basic shop vac to reach beyond the depths not possible using your hands alone. Keep in mind, though, that even this will not reach the most inner depths of the pipe and definitely not if the pipe branches in multiple directions. This is why an occasional professional assessment is still required.

Clean the Termination Area

Don’t limit the cleaning to the opening at the grate. We also suggest checking the termination area. This is the point where the drain’s basin empties out. This should be located towards the outer boundaries of your property where the water is funneled away from your home. Remove the grate and clean this area the way you would the entrance point.

Flush the Drain Pipes

Every few months, flush the pipes by inserting a garden hose into the catch basin and turning the water on. The pressure from the water will flush out accumulated debris. If this works, you will see solid sediments exit the termination point. We must stress that this DIY measure – while effective – is not a replacement for professional hydro jetting.

We Maintain Your Drainage System Year-Round

Leave the annual cleaning to Align Foundation Repair. We clean and repair all types of drains, including French, surface, and channel drains. Drainage for foundation maintenance is integral for your home especially if you reside in a region known for frequent rain spells. Give us a call today for an inspection that includes a free estimate.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

Will your home insurance cover the cost of a foundation repair? We can’t give a simple “yes” or “no” answer because it depends on the specific policy and what it covers. More often, though, the answer is a “no.” Even if it does, it may only cover specific types of damage. Let’s explore this topic in further detail.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

When it comes to homeowner’s insurance covering foundation repair, it comes down to the specific policy. As a general rule, most home insurance policies in the North Texas region do not include foundation repair insurance.

Nevertheless, we do suggest that homeowners extensively review their insurance to be certain what is and isn’t covered. A damaged foundation often accompanies other problems in the house, such as cracks and separations in the walls and ceiling. You will want to know whether your insurance covers this type of damage.

My Insurance Does Cover Foundation Repairs

Perhaps your policy does include foundation repair. Don’t assume that this means any foundation damage scenario will be covered. As with the rest of the home, the plan may only kick in if the damage meets certain criteria. Examine your policy or ask an agent the following:

  • Does the policy cover cracks in the slab concrete?
  • What foundation repair methods are covered under the policy? Common repair methods include concrete leveling, concrete piling, drilled pier, and spread footing. Know which of these are and aren’t covered.
  • What type of damage has to occur for the policy to go into effect?

It’s especially important that you have a clear answer to the third question. Policies that cover foundation repairs will only do so under specific conditions. Policies typically do not cover damage from acts of nature, such as an earthquake or flood, though you may be able to add those additional coverages with an increase in premiums.

We should also point out that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover damages caused by soil erosion and expansion. This is really important to keep in mind because the North Texas region is notoriously known for heavy sand and loam-based soil that is susceptible to expansion and compaction. When we dispatch a technician to evaluate a residential foundation, we often discover that the damage stems partially or fully from the soil conditions.

We Provide Affordable Foundation Repair

To summarize, most homeowner’s insurance does not cover foundation damage. If your policy does, the damage must meet very specific conditions for the insurance to kick in. This is why we highly suggest homeowners call Align Foundation Repair to schedule routine foundation evaluations. This will prevent a costly foundation repair down the line that your insurance more than likely does not cover. For homeowners insurance foundation repair services in Dallas-Fort Worth, call us today for a free estimate.

What Foundation Repair Methods Does Align Foundation Repair Use?

No single repair method applies to all foundation situations. At Align Foundation Repair, we only utilize tried and proven procedures effective for dealing with the type of foundation damage that is commonplace in the North Texas region. This includes:

  • Concrete/steel piling
  • Drilled piers
  • Pier and beam repair
  • Drainage systems

Let’s examine each of these more in-depth and learn when each is needed.

Concrete and Steel Piling

Concrete piling is the most common method used for North Texas residences. The pile is hydraulically driven in place and may be reinforced with steel bars. The piling helps transfer and distribute the weight of the house.

Steel piling is typically reserved for commercial facilities with load requirements that far exceed that of a traditional residential structure. Nevertheless, steel piling can and has been used in a residential capacity. An inspector may also recommend steel piling in lieu of concrete if dealing with less-than-optimal ground/soil conditions.

Drilled Pier

Drilled piers are another one of our mainstay foundation repair solutions. There are fundamental differences between piling and piers. With a pier, a shaft is drilled deep into the soil. Concrete is poured around the shaft. As it cures, it becomes a solid pier that holds the foundation firmly in place. Piers are intended for smaller residential units and don’t possess the weight capacity of piles. Piers are also installed at a shallower depth.

Pier and Beam Repair

In lieu of a conventional slab foundation, some homes consist of a wooden beam that rests on a cement block or pier that lays several feet below the soil. Homes with a crawl space typically have this type of foundation. Align Foundation Repair can perform repairs if either the beam or cement block/pier incurs damage. We employ a method known as spread footing. This is a poured concrete pad installed below the block/pier to provide additional balance and support.

Drainage Systems

This is more of a prevention measure rather than a direct foundation repair method. Puddling water is one of the primary causes of a foundation settling. The water accumulation is the result of an inadequate drainage system. Align Foundation Repair installs new drainage systems or repairs existing ones. We work with French and surface drains, gutter systems, and soil grading for effective irrigation and water flow that direct water away from the home.

We Provide Foundation Solutions for Texas Residences

There are many effective North Texas structure foundation solutions, but no one-size-fits-all approach. Only an in-person evaluation from a qualified technician can determine the optimal repair approach for your foundation type and incurred damage. Contact Align Foundation Repair today if you spot early warning signs of potential foundation issues.