Why and When to Use Concrete Piles

Concrete piles are a mainstay in foundation repairs, especially repairs around the Garland, TX, area. The region is rich in clay soil, which is prone to shifting, contraction, and expansion. The constant soil movement can seriously compromise building foundation, causing cracks, sloping, and sinking.

What Are Concrete Piles?

 

Concrete piles are vertical cylindrical beams, usually about 6-inches in diameter. The installer digs a hole about two-feet deep and adjacent to the foundation that the piles go into. A hydraulic machine is used to press the piles deep into the holes until it reaches solid bedrock or maximum strata is reached. A concrete cap is then added over the piles.
Piles are usually made from concrete, though they may also be made from steel and reinforced with other material.

Piles are usually made from concrete, though they may also be made from steel and reinforced with other material.

Why Use Concrete Piles?

 

Concrete piles are far more affordable and speedier compared to other methods. It also requires minimal equipment and space. Installers also don’t need to dig expansive and space-consuming holes beyond the ones for inserting the piles. This contributes to site cleanliness with minimal intrusions during site operation. Surrounding landscape is often left undisturbed and fully intact.

Concrete piles also make sense financially; most installations come with a lengthy warranty and can be adjusted for the life of the structure.

When to Use Concrete Piles

An installer will assess your foundation and other factors like extent of damage and soil condition. An evaluation will determine whether concrete piles are the best solution for the situation. Usually, concrete piles are in order when:

  1. The upper layer of soil is weakening and unable to support the weight of the building. The building load then needs to be transferred to the stronger soil or bedrock that lies below the weak upper layer.
  2. The building has extremely heavy and concentrated loads.

Concrete Pile Types

  • End-Bearing Piles – This pile is used when the soil has a stronger bottom layer, usually consisting of firm bedrock for the pile to anchor to. The pile essentially acts as a support column.
  • Friction Piles – this is shorter than an end-bearing pile and usually does not reach the bottom of bedrock. Instead, the pile transfers the building’s weight and load evenly across the soil.

In any case, the evaluator will determine which concrete pile type is ideal for any given situation.

Fortifying Your Foundation

Concrete piles are more affordable and feasible for most situations thanks to new technology in the industry. If you notice irregularities in your foundation, such as sloping, tilting, or cracks in the walls, then call Align Foundation Repair. Repairing concrete piles is one of our mainstay services in the Dallas-Forth Worth region.

 

The Use of Concrete Piles vs Steel Piles

Steel piling and concrete piling are not interchangeable solutions for foundation repair. Each requires different methods of installation and the choice to use one or the other will depend upon the kind of structural damage your home is exhibiting. We’ll explain the difference and the factors that dictate when each method is most viable.

What Are Piles?

First, let’s explain how foundation-supporting piles work. These are thick, vertical pillars pressed deep into the soil. This provides a firm support base for a foundation when the soil is weak and unable to keep the foundation steady. The pillars themselves don’t fully support the weight of the building. Rather, they transfer the weight to the stronger layer of rock and gravel that rests several feet below the surface soil.

Concrete and steel piles are the two main types, which we’ll be discussing for this post. However, some applications may also call for other pile types, such as those erected from timber or composite.

What Is Concrete Piling?

Concrete piling is usually a foundation repair method for residential homes and light commercial facilities. It consists of heavy-duty concrete columns pushed deep into the soil to provide support for the foundation. The top portion consists of durable concrete caps followed by a concrete cylinder that sits between the column and foundation.

What Is Steel Piling?

Now that you understand concrete piles, you can probably guess that steel piles are more or less the same, with the exception that the columns consist of steel instead of concrete. Steel offers the highest tensile strength. The exceptional durability also enables them to be driven further into the ground and past dense layer of hard gravel.

Steel piling is designed to handle the heaviest structures, such as skyscrapers, highway bridges, and vertical towers. Due to the material, this pile type is costlier. However, this is a nonissue for Texas residences, as most of homes only require concrete piling.

Side-By-Side Comparison

 

Concrete Piles

  • For residential and light commercial buildings
  • Cheaper to install

 

Steel Piles

  • The strongest pile in the industry
  • Reserved for the heaviest structures, such as skyscrapers and bridges for public roads
  • More expensive installation

Reinforcing Your Foundation

Align Foundation Repair performs both concrete piling and steel piling installations. Give us a call if you notice structural damage in your home or place of business. A free inspection will determine the best method for your foundation repair in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Soil types can also dictate which pile material is appropriate.

 

Hot Weather Foundation Repair

Why Hot Weather Damages Your Home Foundation

Texas temperatures in summer easily break 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the temperature is in the high 90s, dry Texas weather wicks the moisture from the soil around your house and steals it from your foundation, which causes cracks. Dry weather day after day is a recipe for foundation disaster, and you may find yourself with lasting foundation damage that compromises the structural integrity of your home if you don’t address the problem.

Foundation repair experts believe that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in and around Plano should understand the facts behind this phenomenon, and why it’s more important than ever to be proactive in assessing damage to your home’s foundation.

Shrinking Soil

When the weather gets too hot and dry, especially in states like Texas where the daily summer temperature easily reaches above 100, that dehydrates the soil. Since the soil around your foundation is usually moist, it shrinks when it’s dehydrated, moves around, and stops supporting your foundation. The loss in support causes your foundation to settle.

Sinking Foundations

When settling occur in the foundation because of dryness and hot weather, the foundation will settle until it finds support again. However far away from your foundation the dry soil has moved, that’s how far the foundation will move until it has soil to rest against again. This causes parts of your foundation and house to tilt in whatever direction the foundation started to fall and sink.

Just Add Water

One of the ways homeowners can combat dry soil and cracking foundation is to water the area around the house. Spend 15 to 20 minutes each day adding water to the soil around the foundation. If your area is in a drought, do as much as you’re allowed, but be consistent. As permitted, increase your watering time until you hit 15 or 20 minutes each day. Just remember to keep the soaker hoses 6-18″ away from the foundation.  For those who worry about water costs during the summer, your water bill might be a bit higher, but that’s preferable to a foundation repair that costs thousands of dollars. Use watering as a method to maintain your foundation. If you believe you have a settling issue, continue to water normally and call Align.

Foundation Cracks in Dallas-Fort Worth? Call a Professional

How do you know this damage hasn’t occurred already? Sometimes it’s obvious, but sometimes those cracks are sitting in places you can’t see. Call a professional and ask for a foundation evaluation. When no problems exist, our foundation repair service professionals will recommend more measures you can take to make sure your foundation stays intact. When settling is present, we will let you know how extensive the damage is and whether repairs need to happen right away.

The Texas heat is brutal on your foundation, so foundation damage isn’t something to ignore. Call Align Foundation Repair right away for an inspection. Our Texas foundation repair service areas include Plano, Garland, Arlington and the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area. If your foundation is fine, start watering it every summer day to make sure it stays that way. If it isn’t, take care of it before the damage gets any worse.

 

Spot Foundation Problems

Foundation Problems vs. Foundation Settling: What Is the Difference?

Many customers ask us about the difference between foundation problems vs. settling. Foundations can be constructed in many different ways using piers, spread footings, and pilings, but most homes in Texas are made of concrete poured on steel. Sometimes the foundation settles and remains sturdy for years to come. Other times, foundation problems develop that require immediate attention. A good foundation does more than just hold your house above the ground. It also insulates against the cold, keeps moisture out, and holds fast against the movement of the earth around it.

Our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas cover Plano, Garland, Arlington and more. Call us today for a free estimate!

What Is Settling?

“House settling” is a term used to describe natural wear-and-tear of a foundation over time. It’s normal for homes to sink a bit further down into the ground, no matter how well a foundation has been constructed – especially given the climate and soil type of Texas.

Over-excavating and inadequate back-filling can result in some settling, but the biggest contributor is the natural expansion and contraction of the soil. As the clay in our soil gets exposed to cycles of moisture and dryness, some shifting and compacting will inevitably occur.

Roughly one-quarter of all homes in America are affected by this type of settling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of these homes will be okay, but an estimated 10 percent of these homes will experience severe foundation issues as a result. The rates of occurrence  are much higher in the DFW area.

House Settling vs. Foundation Problems

Signs of house settling that do NOT necessarily indicate foundation problems include the following.  If you see any of these, do not hesitate to call as it could also be a foundation issue.

  • You observe thin, hairline cracks, less than 1/4 inch wide.
  • Tiny cracks appear in an L-shaped section of foundation or in the mortar between blocks.
  • The cracks in your home do not appear to be growing longer or wider.
  • There are no other warning signs besides a few cracks here and there.

Do You Have A Faulty Foundation?

It can be hard to believe, but brand-new homes sometimes end up with foundation failures within the first five years. We see this a lot of times when a home was built during a particularly rainy season when the soil is as swollen as it can get, followed by a period of extreme drought, where clay can retract, causing the house to plummet up to five inches within a few months.

Sometimes a home has undiagnosed issues caused by plumbing problems, over-watering plants, or improper sloping and drainage away from the foundation. Contractors can contribute to foundation failure when they rush the curing of the concrete, interrupt the concrete pouring process, or have not firmly tamped down the soil before adding the concrete.

You can tell it is foundation problems vs. settling when:

  • There are wide cracks, greater than ¼ inch in width, or bulging walls.
  • You note jagged cracks running from the foundation at a 45-degree angle.
  • The doors and windows of your home are sticking for no apparent reason.
  • The top story of your home exhibits cracks above door and window frames.
  • There are stair-stepping cracks in the brick veneer of your home.

Worried About Foundation Problems or Settling in Dallas, Tx?

Contact Align Foundation Repair to discuss your concerns about possible Dallas foundation problems. A foundation specialist from our family-run business would be happy to come out and take a look, free of charge. We are an A+ Better Business Bureau rated service offering a full range of foundation repair services to suit your needs and budget.

 

water drain

How to Maintain Your Catch Basin

Catch basins are often an afterthought for many homeowners. However, the catch basin plays a vital role during storms and heavy rainfalls, preventing flooding and capturing debris. Neglected catch basins can lead to flooding, which can negatively impact your home’s foundation. For this reason, we recommend that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area clean out their catch basins on a regular basis.

Catch Basin Cleaning

Area drains and catch basins are designed to accept a certain amount of debris along with the water. The debris drops to the bottom and the water level rises and enters the exit tube. If they are not cleaned regularly, they will eventually fill with debris and clog the line. It is a good idea to pop the lids and scoop out the debris as often as once a month.  After cleaning the debris, you can wash the basins out with water and fill them to test that they are flowing water properly.

Catch basins collect rain and storm water and release the debris buildup into the municipal sewer system. Basins are placed in areas prone to collecting standing water. This prevents flooding that may affect soil conditions. Water absorption causes the soil to expand and contract, in turn causing home foundations to shift. Flooding is one of the primary reasons foundation repairs are needed in the first place.

This is precisely why catch basin cleaning is crucial. If too many solids accumulate, the water draining tube becomes blocked.

Catch Basin Drainage Repair

Catch basins should be cleaned when the interior is filled one-third of the way with solid debris. For some areas, the maintenance may be as often as once a month. If you notice water overflow, nearby pest infestation, or an excessively damp yard, then the basin may require a professional drainage system repair. Depending on the foundation, soil type, and current condition of the basin, this may include additional solutions, such as:

  • Gravel-heavy trenches to redirect the water
  • A sump pump installation
  • Soil contouring for better water flow

Don’t wait until a backup occurs to call in a drainage repair expert. Taking preventative steps to improve your drainage system before a problem arises not only saves you money, but helps promote the long-term health of your home foundation, while also reducing environmental risks.

Catch Basin Maintenance for Property Owners

There are steps you can take on your end to keep the basin in good operating order. This doesn’t eliminate the need for professional cleaning, but it does keep the basin in acceptable condition in between servicing.

While basins can accommodate some level of debris, never actively dump trash inside. This includes all waste products, such as pet waste, cooking oil, or grease. Such garbage will not make its way to the treatment facility and may instead end up in nearby lakes and rivers.

You should also regularly check the grate to be sure there are no obstructions that may prevent the unit from accepting water. About once a month, you should check how full the basin is with debris. A simple visual check may not be possible due to the grate being in the way. A solution around this is to stick a broom into the opening and see how deep it’s able to go down.

Catch basin maintenance is part of being a responsible property owner. Foundational repairs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area may also include drainage solutions to improve the basin’s efficiency. Contact Align Foundation Repair to determine if your property can benefit from drainage repairs or installations.

Home inspection dallas garland foundation repair

Can You Trust a Home Inspection Report?

During the purchase of a home you will no doubt contract with a home inspector to look everything over at the house. There is a section for structural systems on the report. Rarely in north Texas does an inspection come back “clean” in this section. Do not panic! Inspectors are trained to point out any issue they can find. It does not necessarily mean you have a structural problem that requires repair. The bottom line is: the average inspector has limited training on foundation types and problems. If you get a report that is dinged in this section, simply call us for help! Our foundation repair experts can investigate the issues brought up by the home inspector and give you a true evaluation of the seriousness of the problem and whether or not it will adversely affect the home’s value.

An inspection report is an integral part of the home-buying process. After all, you want to be sure your future home sweet home is up to par with building codes. However, exactly how reliable are these home inspection reports?

What Does a Home Inspection Report Include?

When touring a prospective future home, it’s not enough to just admire the granite countertops or built-in redwood cabinetry. A report evaluates what isn’t visible to the untrained eye. A home inspection is thorough and detects defects that would entail costly repairs. This may include:

  • Pipe leaks and other plumbing issues, including furnaces and heaters
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Energy efficiency deficiencies
  • The condition of the roof
  • HVAC, heating and cooling systems
  • The condition of the foundation

Home sellers in Texas will usually need to acquire a home report for prospective buyers. Home buyers may also acquire their own report. Detected defects can be used as a bargaining chip for bringing down the cost. Aside from sellers and buyers, home builders may also need to acquire a report if they’re selling a new and recently constructed home. The same goes for extensively renovated homes that have yet to be occupied in their remodeled state.

How Reliable Is the Report?

Inspectors may not be trained in every single one of the above points. They may only have a baseline knowledge. As such, they may miss small details that may manifest as more severe problems a few years down the road. This is especially true with respect to the foundation. This component requires very specialized knowledge that an inspector trained to look at the whole home may not possess.

A home inspector’s report is not necessarily unreliable. It is indeed a very vital aspect of the home transaction process. However, it should not be the end of the story. Both home buyers and sellers should perform a crosscheck when evaluating qualified inspectors. They should also be willing to bring in another inspector for a second opinion if they have any reason to question the validity of the original inspector’s findings.

You Can Rely on Our Dallas-Fort Worth Foundation Repair Experts

Our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas encompass Plano and surrounding regions. Whether you’re a home buyer or seller, call Align Foundation Repair if a home inspector report lists foundational damage in its initial findings.

 

Foundation Repair Tips

Do Your Homework: Know a Home’s Foundation Before Buying

The Big D is home to beautiful multi-million dollar mansions, quaint little bungalows, and everything in between. Just as styles of homes in Dallas vary widely, so can their foundations. It’s critical to distinguish between different types of home foundations  so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next house.

If you’re looking to buy a new home in Dallas, or you’ve ever just been super interested in home construction in the area, here’s a quick guide to understanding the various home foundation types found throughout Texas.

Poured Concrete Slab Foundations

Simple and cost-effective, this is a top choice of many builders because it’s quick. This method became popular as a result of the housing boom in America post-World War II and builders sought an efficient means to accommodate the demand.  Poured concrete slab foundations are still commonly used today because of their overall versatility.

The process goes like this: before pouring the cement, topsoil is removed, and if well-drained conditions are not present, a layer of gravel is added to the lot. Also, to create a durable, lasting foundation, builders will reinforce the area with steel bars (also called “rebar’) and a welded wire mesh. Despite their best efforts, over time, slabs can buckle, shift, and crack, due to the ground conditions, extreme weather, or geological events.

Finally, before pouring the cement, electrical and plumbing systems are installed and encased in the concrete. If you’re planning on doing any renovations, this can create a problem, so when buying a home make sure the foundation type matches your future plans.

Pier and Beam Foundations

Before the 1960s, most homes possessed another type of foundation, pier and beam foundations (also called “post and beam foundations”). In this case, a home’s treated floor is raised about a foot-and-a-half off the ground, resting on a several concrete “piers” or blocks connected with pressure-treated wooden beams and wooden joists, creating a subfloor for the dwelling.

Similar to a poured concrete foundation, plumbing and electrical systems are underneath the home. However, due to the crawl space that results from this type of construction, if one of these systems should require attention, they are much more accessible to plumbers and electricians.

Deterioration is one of the most prevalent problems with pier and beam construction. Wood decomposition occurs over time, even with pressure-treated lumber. Replacements can be costly. The threat of vermin infestation is ever-present: termites, insects, rodents, and small animals frequently make their nests in crawl spaces. While rare in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, freezing temperatures can affect exposed pipes, causing them to burst, leading to flooding.

Frame Foundations

This very old technique is very rarely used today. The foundation consists of framed lumber that is supported by many different types of piers at varying intervals. Most frame homes were built during times when building codes did not exist. Hence, homes right next to each other could be built in very different ways, with different underlying structures. You will find these homes mostly in historic areas and areas built before 1940.

Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Whichever type of foundation supports your new home, problems can arise and must be addressed immediately to protect your investment. For a comprehensive, no-cost foundation evaluation, contact Align Foundation Repair and ensure your peace of mind. We specialize in pier and beam foundation repair, as well as all other foundation repair services in Dallas-Fort Worth.

 

Cracked Ceiling Repair

Ceiling Cracks Offer Important Clues about Your Foundation

Ceiling cracks plague many homes in Plano, Texas, and the surrounding Dallas area. At best, they look unsightly. But at worst, they could flag an issue with your home’s foundation. So what’s really causing those cracks in your ceiling? And perhaps most importantly, what should you do about them?

Types of Ceiling Cracks

It’s important to educate yourself about the different types of cracks and their causes to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Knowing the difference between the types of ceiling cracks can save your home. First, it’s important to realize that all homes will move over time. This movement results from several factors, which we discuss later in this blog. However, cracks usually occur as the byproduct of one of two things:  natural aging or structural damage. Here are some of the most common cracks and what they can reveal.

“Spider Web” Cracks

These cracks have a center point and then spread out in different directions. The good news: these cracks are a regular part of settling and can occur in ceilings, walls, even floors. However, when it comes to spider web cracks, size matters. If the cracks are small, there isn’t much to get anxious about. On the other hand, if they are more than 1/16 inch wide, there could be a more significant structural problem.

Matching Vertical Cracks

Those cracks which run across the length of a ceiling and then continue down a wall along the same line point to structural damage, likely connected to a weak wall stud or something that was knocked loose in the settling of the home over time. Once again, size is relevant here.

Cracks along the Edges

Cracks along the edges of walls are usually the result of normal settling. You don’t have to be hyper-vigilant about these, but as a precaution, it’s a smart idea to mark where they start and finish so that you can monitor any growth. It’s those cracks that run across the entire length of the ceiling that can signal trouble. In these extreme cases, one or more foundation repair services may be necessary to avoid further damage and dangerous instability.

Causes of Ceiling Cracks

What causes cracks in ceilings? Now that you’re informed about the primary kinds of ceiling cracks, let’s take a look at some of the causes and how they impact your ceilings.

Moisture

One of the most common reasons is massive moisture damage from above the ceiling. Depending on which floor of your home you’re talking about, this could mean moisture has seeped into the floor above the ceiling. If it’s the upper level of your home, this may point to damage to the roof. Other sources may include plumbing leaks from the floor above. Significant changes in temperature can lead to cracks. As the air warms, building materials in your home will expand because they are exposed to excess moisture. Conversely, as the temperature drops, they will contract. Switching between hot and cold can put stress on the ceiling materials and joints, and lead to cracking.

Too Much Weight

A cracked ceiling either has another floor or attic space directly above it. So it’s entirely possible that the area above the ceiling is carrying too much weight. Prime examples are upper-level bathrooms; they need specific ceiling supports to bear the heavy weight of fixtures. Shortcuts taken during construction could lead to sagging or cracking.

Inferior Foundation

What do cracks in the ceiling mean for the future of your home’s foundation? A substandard foundation can cause a variety of structural problems, including damage to the ceiling. Remember this: the integrity of the foundation affects every component of your house. The minutest movement or settling in the foundation can alter load-bearing beams and cause small or large cracks.

Contact Align Foundation Today

Cracks in the ceiling aren’t just ugly to look at. They might also mean your home’s foundation is at risk. When in doubt, call the foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair. We know when a crack is a minor aesthetic problem and when it could be something more serious! If you would like a free professional evaluation of your foundation in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, contact us today and ensure a solid foundation for the future of your home.

Foundation Crack repair

How Different Soil Types Might Affect Your Dallas Home’s Foundation

No matter how solidly your home’s foundation is built, the soil variations in the Dallas area may have a lasting impact on the health of your home’s foundation. When the soil is filled with too much sand or clay, foundation issues have a habit of cropping up. Compromised soil affects the foundation, in turn affecting the home. If you suspect soil foundation trouble in your home, contact our Dallas foundation repair experts for a free evaluation and estimate. See below to learn about Texas soil types and how they may affect the future stability of your home.

Dallas: The Blackland Prairie

The Dallas region is part of Texas’s Blackland Prairie. Most of this region has relatively deep soil, which means the bedrock is far below the soil. In the western part of the Blackland Prairie, a chalk bedrock helps to support foundations. Throughout the rest of the region, that deep soil doesn’t provide any extra sturdiness to the foundations of Dallas homes. The soil in many areas of Dallas County slopes, which affects how the water runs through it and whether water will collect near your foundation.

Clay

In the Blackland Prairie, you’ll find different kinds of clay that mostly compose the soil. Clay has the ability to hold much water, which is why its consistency changes so drastically when it’s wet versus when it’s dry. Unfortunately, clay expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s dry, which makes it an unstable soil for home foundations.

When clay starts to crack on the surface, that means it’s extremely dry and is no longer supporting your foundation. In the worst case situation, your foundation will start to shift as it seeks out the support it lacks from the clay. Because Dallas summers are dry and hot, summer is the season during which you have to worry about the clay soil damaging your foundation the most.

Loam

Some parts of Dallas County have soil with more loam in it, which is great news for your foundation. Loam is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt, and these three combine to create a stable soil that doesn’t experience much expansion or shrinkage due to water levels. As long as you don’t end up with a layer of clay on top of your loam soil, it will support your foundation beautifully. Keep in mind, though, that in the Dallas area, most loam soil mixes with clay, which reduces some of its sturdiest properties.

Sand

In a few Dallas County areas, you’ll find sandy soil, though even in these areas it’s still mixed with some clay. When sand is packed tightly, it creates a sturdy foundation that drains water away from your house quite well. Unfortunately, too much water can disturb even tightly packed sand, washing away key foundation support from beneath your home and causing foundation issues.

Be on the Lookout for Cracks

Due to the soil conditions of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, we advise homeowners to periodically “eyeball” their home interior and exterior for any signs of cracking. A crack does not necessarily indicate the origin of the problem, as the weakest point in the soil may not be directly underneath the crack. This is why it’s essential to bring in a foundation repair expert to pinpoint the specific problem areas.

Aside from direct repair, potential remedies may include a customized drainage solution to prevent future runoff water from collecting near the foundation.

Schedule a Free Estimate in Dallas-Fort Worth

Some foundation issues show up through visible cracks in your foundations. Other times, the changes are subtler. Pay attention to whether your interior doors are sticking or refusing to latch. Look for cracks in the walls, and pay attention to how well your windows are opening.

With so much clay in your soil, you have to keep an eye out for foundation issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, so you can call a professional before the problem gets out of hand.

Even the sturdiest foundation is heavily dependent on the soil it rests on. Our foundation repair services are diverse in order to address specific needs. Give us a call today to learn more about how soil and foundations affect each other, or for a free inspection and estimate.

 

Foundation Repair Company

Do Cracks in Drywall Mean My Foundation Needs Fixing?

The signs of foundation problems are subtle at first. They begin with small cracks in drywall, which many homeowners try to patch before calling a Dallas, TX foundation repair specialist. Waiting too long leads to limited options for repair and much higher costs. If you notice a crack in the wall that wasn’t there before, take a good look at how it’s positioned, how big it is, and whether it seems to be expanding. Even if it looks minor, calling an expert for a free estimate lets you know for sure, without costing you anything.

When drywall cracks, foundation problems could be the cause

Houses naturally shift and settle, causing cracks to appear. When the soil fails to support the weight of your home, the foundation may settle unevenly. It is more common for houses to shift in dramatic ways when they’re built upon loose clay soil, as in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Homes that are experiencing significant settling have gaps affecting window function, walls that are not of equal height, and large, widespread cracking. Foundation damage cracks in drywall will only worsen with time if not addressed, putting the structural integrity of your home in jeopardy.

Do cracks in drywall mean foundation problems every time?

Before you panic, realize that narrow drywall cracks don’t necessarily indicate foundation problems. Without calling a professional, you won’t know for sure, but your own observations can be helpful. Here’s what to look for:

  • Is the drywall crack big? If the crack is wider than 1/8th of an inch, that’s cause for concern.
  • Is the drywall crack horizontal or angled? Minor house shifting causes vertical cracks. A shifting foundation can be powerful enough to cause horizontal or diagonal cracks that are harder to fill and putty over.
  • Is the drywall crack widening? Call us right away if a crack is wide enough to fit a dime inside or if one end of the crack is noticeably wider than the other.
  • Are the cracks near windows and doors? When the cracks you notice in your drywall and sheetrock are near the windows and doors, that’s another cause for concern. Shifting foundations cause window frames and door frames to change shape, cracking the walls nearby. Try opening and closing the windows and doors. When the windows stick in their frames, or when the doors don’t close all the way, that’s another indicator of foundation damage.
  • Do you see stair-stepping? Brick veneers with cracks that appear in a stair-step formation are cause for concern. Vertical cracks along a straight mortar joint could indicate seasonal movement, which is less concerning. A professional opinion would be helpful in either case.

Any one of these problems could indicate that you have foundation damage and need to call a professional to have your foundation examined.

What causes cracks in dry wall besides damaged foundation?

One of the first questions people ask foundation experts is: “What causes cracks in drywall?” Obviously, homeowners want to know how the situation occurred and what they can do to prevent further damage. There are many causes of foundation wall cracks – each with their own unique solution. We are equipped to assist with drywall cracks caused by:

  • Seasonal changes: As the seasons change, the wood in your walls and foundation (pier and beam) expands and contracts, which also causes minor drywall cracks. Expansive soils contract when dry, and expand when moist, potentially putting thousands of pounds of pressure on your walls. Some walls will buckle, fall, or end up beyond repair if not corrected.
  • Post-construction shrinkage: Wood frames may dry and shrink within the first year, producing vertical and horizontal cracking on walls. Occasionally we see this when the builder has used a poor or rushed finishing technique. One repair is usually enough to fix the problem permanently.
  • Curing Concrete: Concrete walls often develop small cracks during the curing process. These fissures are perfectly normal and no cause for alarm unless they begin to elongate, widen, or are greater than 1/16th of an inch.

How to address drywall cracks that keep coming back

Foundation repair is the best solution for drywall cracks that keep coming back. We offer many different solutions for drywall cracks and damaged foundations, depending on your unique situation. Pier and beam solutions are designed to prop your home up further away from shifting soils. A drainage solution moves excess moisture away from your home and foundation.

Call Align Foundation Repair, a family-run Dallas-Fort Worth company

Though vertical cracks in your drywall are less concerning, don’t assume that any cracks in your walls are safe. Not all cracks in your drywall or sheetrock indicate foundation damage, but calling a Fort Worth, TX foundation repair expert for a free assessment is the best way to ensure your foundation is healthy. We offer many affordable solutions, as well as zero-interest loan programs to help you protect your home sooner rather than later.