French Drain vs. Swale

French Drain vs Swale: Which Is the Right Option?

Part of properly caring for your home and property entails a proper drainage system. Otherwise, water can collect in specific spots, causing the soil to become oversaturated. This can have serious consequences if the water puddles around the foundation. Drainage systems come in several types. The question of whether to choose a French drain vs swale comes up a lot because these are two of the more common systems employed in residential and commercial properties.

What Is a French Drain?

Contrary to popular belief, the French drain did not originate in France. It was invented by an American man by the name of Henry Flagg French and is a mainstay in modern day drainage systems.

How does it work? Water naturally flows in the direction of least resistance. This usually means flowing downhill even if a slope is minimal. At its most basic level, a French drain is a slightly sloped trench consisting of gravel and a pipe designed to shuttle water away from the foundation. The gravel provides a porous surface for water to seep through, and a pipe installed below provides an outlet for water to travel through and exit at a safe distance from the home. Typically, the water exits into a drainage ditch, a dry well, street, or low-lying area in your property.

What Is a Swale?

A Swale is essentially a ditch concealed with turfgrass or other vegetation. It is very similar to a trench drain, which is also a trench intended for the purpose of collecting surface water over a long expanse of land. The main difference is that a swale is a lot more subtle in appearance and blends with the surrounding landscape.

How French Drains and Swales Compare

The primary difference between the two systems comes down to their primary purpose. Yes, they’re both designed to drain water, but for different reasons. French drains have a more functional purpose, as they are intended to keep water away from the foundation. Swales, on the other hand, are often recommended by landscapers as a general-purpose drain. Swales are sometimes not an option in urban areas because they require large lots to shape properly.

We Install French Drains

A drainage system is vital in a region like the Dallas Fort Worth area, due to its highly porous soil conditions. French drain vs land drain? Leave it to Align Foundation Repair to install a new French drain, or repair an existing one, to keep water from collecting around the foundation.

Benefits of Mudjacking

Mudjacking is a time-tested and cost-effective solution for leveling residential and commercial concrete. While it’s not the only option, it’s often the go-to-choice for returning a settling concrete back to its original position. Learn of the benefits of mudjacking and why the method is still in use since its development in the early 1900s.

What Is Mudjacking?

Mudjacking goes by other names, such as slabjacking and concrete lifting. The names all describe the process of raising a settling concrete slab. Over time, concrete may begin to sink due to soil erosion and settling. With mudjacking, a small hole is drilled into the concrete, and a slurry filler is pumped in to fill in the gaps beneath the concrete. This pushes the concrete up until it’s flush with the ground surface.

Mudjacking is a Cost-Effective and Speedy Solution

Mudjacking costs about 60% less than a concrete replacement. The process is also quick and can be completed in one day, usually within one to two hours. Keep in mind, though, that if the concrete slab has existing damage, such as extensive cracks, then an inspector may suggest a replacement. Mudjacking is only applicable if the settling concrete is still in relatively good condition.

Mudjacking Is Non-Invasive

The process does not require any digging or the use of large and noisy machinery. As mentioned, all it requires is the drilling of a small hole, which is about one and a half inch in diameter. The hole is patched after project completion. The job can be completed without disturbing your household or those of surrounding neighbors.

MudJacking Is an Eco-Friendly Option

The filler pumped below the concrete to lift the slab is some form of natural material, such as a slurry mixture of sand, clay, and Portland cement. This reduces materials needed, hence why the procedure is a cost-effective solution. This also means minimal environmental waste especially since the concrete slab itself is not disposed of and replaced.

Reduces On-Premise Injury

Sloping and uneven concrete increases the probability of injury from a trip and fall. As the property owner, you could be liable for bodily injury occurring on your premise. Mudjacking raises the concrete back in place and eliminates the trip hazard.

Let Us Restore Your Concrete

Settling concrete is common in the Dallas and Fort Worth area due to highly clay soil conditions, which leads to shifting of the concrete above. Call Align Foundation Repair if concrete on your property is settling to the bottom and creating an uneven flooring. The advantages of mudjacking are many and is a common concrete restoration procedure.

What Is Concrete Raising?

Concrete slabs of various kinds may eventually begin to sink. This is especially the case in areas like Garland, Texas, where soil conditions are prone to back-and-forth expansion and contraction. One form of remediation is concrete raising, which is more or less exactly what its name suggests.

Concrete Raising Explained

So, what is concrete raising and how does it work? The process is also known as concrete leveling or slabjacking.

With concrete raising, you are doing just that, raising a concrete foundation that is sinking or sloping. There are two ways in which this can be done: via mudjacking or polyurethane foam concrete raising. Both methods are actually identical, differing only in the material used to raise the concrete.

During the process, holes are drilled into the slab to create an opening in which the technician can pump mud or polyurethane into the space and gaps under the concrete. Once filled, the holes are patched up with fresh concrete, and the process is complete.

Concrete leveling is especially effective for residential areas like patios, driveways, walkways, and the concrete bordering a swimming pool. These areas all consist of a concrete surface that may begin to sink or slope in one direction.

Why Concrete Raising?

The procedure is minimally invasive and works for both residential and commercial applications. This is also a more affordable option over concrete replacement. On average, concrete raising costs about half the price of replacing the entire sinking slab. Unlike replacement, raising concrete does not require demolition of the existing slab, hauling it off, and curing new cement. This translates to far less manual labor and hours on the job site.

The non-invasive procedure also means less disturbance to your property and neighbors. Your home or workplace does not become an excavation site during repairs. For you, it’s business as usual as the crew raises your concrete to its original placement. The process is quick and usually takes no more than a single working day.

We Raise Concrete Slabs

If you begin noticing the signs of sinking concrete, call Align Foundation Repair. We offer concrete raising services throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We will assess the damage and help you determine the best course of action to fix the damage and stay within your budget.

Foundation Repair Inspection Free Estimate

Reasons to Be Proactive with Home Foundation Repair

Homeowners have a pivotal responsibility when it comes to taking preventative measures to combat foundation damage. Take a proactive role by keeping your eyes and ears open for signs of a compromised foundation. Reasons to stay proactive when it comes to foundation repair include:

  • Problems with your foundation will only get worse
  • Foundation issues can lead to more severe structural issues if left unattended
  • Some foundation types will experience irreversible damage if not addressed early
  • Cost of repair can sometimes be reduced with early detection
  • Technicians provide honest and free evaluations, so there is no downside. If there is no issue, we will tell you.

Why Being Proactive Is Important

The classic signs of a damaged foundation may include visible cracks in the walls and the door and/or windows not properly opening and shutting. Since this does not inhibit day-to-day living, most homeowners fail to take action and go about their business. However, if left unaddressed, the problem can spread and eventually lead to far more serious and costly repairs.

Consider the adage “the longer you wait the more you pay.” This is very true with respects to foundations. Once the foundation begins moving, the damage won’t reverse on its own. Plus, soil conditions in and around Plano, Garland, and the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area, are prone to major shifts, causing an already compromised foundation to shift, crack, and split even more.

With early detection, you may only require a minor remediation. Prolonging for a few extra months or even years may mean more intrusive excavation and pier installation. This is a far more lengthy and expensive procedure.

How to Be Proactive

When we say proactive, we mean being cognizant of the signs that may indicate foundation damage. This may include the aforementioned doors and window that won’t shut properly. You should also be mindful of uneven or sloping floors and counters and cabinets that separate from the wall.

The next step is to arrange for an inspection. Most foundation repair services actually provide free evaluations. Even if the report suggests repairs are required, it will likely be a lot more affordable now than if you were to hold it off for several more years.

Be a Proactive Homeowner

Proactive home repair from us begins with proactive homeowners. Take the initial step by calling Align Foundation Repair for a routine inspection. That first step can end up saving you thousands of dollars and headaches down the road. Foundation repairs require construction-grade equipment, but also knowledge and expertise from a professional repair service.

Drainage System Process

French Drain Vs. Surface Drain

A strong functioning drain is essential for all residential and commercial properties that have problems with rainwater. This prevents water from collecting around the base that can lead to gradual foundation damage. Not all drains, though, are created the same; various forms exist. Two of the common styles are French and surface drains. One may be more suitable than the other depending on the location and type of building. Here is a quick rundown:

  • Use a Surface Drain when you can focus all water to one location. A Surface Drain (area drain) only collects surface water.
  • Use a French Drain when unable to focus water (broad collection). A French Drain collects subterranean as well as surface water.

French Drain

French drains are located underground and designed to remove water that seeps below ground surface. There is an open pipe that is out of sight where water can drain before reaching deeper into the soil or collecting around the foundation.

A French drain usually consists of a perforated pipe installed inside a hollow trench that’s covered with gravel and other porous material.

Surface Drains

Surface drains, by contrast, are installed with the drain opening flush or below with the ground level. These drains rely on surface slope to encourage water into the basins.

Which Is Better?

The more suitable option for your home depends on several factors. Most properties in the Garland, TX, area can actually benefit from a French drain since soil conditions in the region are highly porous.

Surface drains are effective for quickly draining surface water in a short amount of time. They are best for homes located on a flat surface where insufficient sloping exists to draw the water away.

Often, we recommend a combo drainage system consisting of both drain styles. This removes the majority of surface water while also addressing any runoff that manages to seep into the soil.

In any case, both require careful installation to ensure the drains perform to standards. With French drains, for example, installers must take the slope of the soil into consideration as well as be mindful of possible root intrusions. Both French and surface drains must be made from high-quality materials. Ultimately, the French drain vs surface drain debate is a non-issue because both types of drains are effective for different home foundations.

We Install Both Drain Types

We provide drainage solutions as part of a foundation reinforcement process. Give Align Foundation Repair a call if you suspect your drain may not be performing to standards.

Align Foundation Repair Home Drainage Solutions

Signs of a Drainage Problem

Drainage problems are a serious issue that can have serious ramifications on the foundation if ignored. Of course, some signs of a drainage problem, such as pooling water, are obvious. However, other signs are less subtle and goes by unnoticed unless you actively look for them. Learn how to recognize these less-than-obvious signs of a compromised drainage on your property.

1. Overflowing Gutter

Gutters are designed to expel water, not hold onto it. If water remains on the gutter for prolonged periods, then there is an obstruction, likely inside the downspout. Make a habit to clear the gutters of leaves and debris after every heavy wind and rainfall. You should also conduct gutter inspections. Common damages include the joints coming apart or the gutter pulling away from the exterior wall.

2. Musty Odors

Don’t just use your eyes; use your nose as well. Even if you don’t detect visible traces of standing water, unpleasant odors may give away signs of water intrusion. If you smell a musty odor, then you likely have mildew or mold growth somewhere on the property. This means water is condensing in hard-to-reach areas, such as the crawlspace, inside the wall, or underneath the carpet. Aside from the smell, you may also spot condensation in areas like the window or roof.

3. Foundation Cracks

Cracks occur naturally as a house settles in place. A small crack is no cause for alarm. However, be on the lookout for larger fractures. Measure and keep track of cracks larger than the width of a standard pencil. If the cracks get bigger, then you have a problem. This is a sign that water is saturating the soil and causing shifts in the earth.

4. Bowing Floors

Examine the floor in your home. This includes the basement, garage, and first floor in the main living quarters. Does any part of the floor feel or appear uneven? You may notice one section has a “lump” or protrusion. If a tile or hardwood floor, some of the tiles or panels may separate from the floor.

We Provide Drainage Solutions

Water and all its incarnations (e.g. condensation, humidity) can be detrimental to a residential foundation. This is especially true in the Garland, TX area with its temperature and humidity fluctuations. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, give Align Foundation Repair a call. Early detection can prevent cost-prohibitive repairs.

French Drain Align Foundation Repair Garland

What Is a French Drain?

Managing water on your property is key to preserving your foundation, and keeping your grounds looking great. Whether you’re buying a new property, building a home for your family, or work professionally as a realtor, you may have heard the term “French drain” used to describe a certain type of drainage system. You may be wondering, what is a French drain and how does it work? Here’s the inside info on all things French drain-related from the experts at Align Foundation Repair.

How Does a French Drain Work?

A French drain uses a buried pipe to collect water and divert it to a place where it can be better absorbed into the ground. It is a specific style of yard drain that allows for broad collection of water. Relying on nothing but smart design and gravity, these drains feature a pipe with holes facing upwards. As the ground becomes saturated, water seeps in through the holes and collects in the pipe. At this point it can flow freely to lower ground. Align uses only PVC pipes for French drains, since they provide the best in both performance and durability. A smart, simple, and highly functional design that’s been in use for centuries all around the globe, it’s no wonder French drains are a popular water management solution throughout the American South.

How are French Drains Installed?

Installing a French drain is a fairly straightforward procedure. First a trench is dug from where unwanted water collects to where the property owner wants it diverted. This usually means digging a small trench from around foundation, driveway or lawn, to lower ground. Then a drainage pipe with openings cut along the top is installed. This pipe is often wrapped in a fiber cloth to prevent small debris from clogging the holes. Then the trench is lined with a combination of filler fabric and heavy mill plastic, and back-filled with gravel. In most cases, the gravel remains exposed to allow for both subterranean and surface collection.

Benefits of a French Drain

Installation of French drains not only provides relief from water building in the yard, but protects the house against the harmful effects water can have on foundations.

Water can damage foundations, cause mold problems in a crawlspace, or make outdoor areas muddy and unusable. A French drain is a great, low maintenance solution to this problem. Once installed, they need minimal upkeep. However, should your drain become even partially clogged, it’s effectiveness could be majorly diminished. Align Foundation Repair offers extensive drainage repair services that can help your French drain function like new. Speak with a professional today, and make sure your property stays dry and mold-free.

ceilings and Floors,fungus mold weathered wall

Unseen Effects of Water Damage on Your Foundation

Whether from a leaky pipe or heavy rainfall, the after-effects of water damage are obvious. This includes the soaked carpet, rotted wood frames, etc. However, the unseen effects of water damage on foundations are just as detrimental to the property’s structure. In fact, it’s even worse because damage is not readily apparent and easily glossed over by homeowners. Know what to look for to determine the totality of damages.

Everyone sees wet carpet, warped wood floors and sheet rock/base board damage. What they do not see can be more detrimental.

Water that seeps into the house during rainfall can cause the following: 

  • Wood rot in your framing
  • Deterioration of the concrete your foundation is made of
  • Premature brick deterioration
  • Soil swelling causing a rise in your foundation
  • Excessive foundation movement resulting in home damage

Concrete Damage

Homeowners often don’t think about the consequences water has on concrete. They forget that, like wood, concrete is also porous. Water can seep into the cracks. Once H2O finds these openings, they can eventually reach other foundational structures underneath, such as the steel reinforcements. In addition, the moisture inside the concrete can also rise back up and reach the area above, such as the carpet and tiles. This can lead to the floors peeling and warping.

Electrical Damage

Your appliances and everything else running on electricity are also at risk. This also presents a safety risk especially if pooling water is present. Do not get near areas where standing water surrounds an appliance or electrical outlet. Leave inspections to a professional; this is a serious electrical hazard.

Floorboards

Carpet damage is more obvious; floorboard damage is less so. However, underlying damage is very possible, though not immediately noticeable. Accumulating moisture underneath the boards can lead to warping. Any present sealant or grout may incur damage as well.

Most floorboard types are susceptible to water damage. This includes those many homeowners may believe to be waterproof, such as stone and laminate floor panels.

Insulation

The insulation is another overlooked component since it’s not upfront and readily visible. Water can drastically reduce an insulation’s R-value, especially if it’s made from foam and other fibrous material. Due to insulation’s tendency to hold and store water, damage is highly likely. You can’t merely restore the insulation by turning on the fan and letting it dry out. Replacement is highly likely.

We Stop the Effects of Water Damage on Foundation

Unfortunately, flooding is not an uncommon occurrence in homes around the Garland, TX, area. Homeowners need to actively scan for visible signs of damage. In addition, they should also contact Align Foundation Repair. Our industry experts can scan for the unseen effects of water damage on a foundation. If the damage goes unnoticed, homeowners can expect costly repairs years down the line.

Drilled Pier for Home Foundation

Drilled Piers vs. Piles: Which Is Right For Your Foundation Repair?

For folks outside the construction industry, drilled piers and piles are more or less interchangeable terms. After all, they’re both processes for strengthening a foundation. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between a drilled pier vs. piles. While the two are similar in that they both resist or transfer heavy vertical and horizontal loads, they operate behind different mechanisms.

What Are Piles?

Piles are structural columns made from either steel or concrete. They’re used for underpinning foundations and transferring the weight of the load to deeper soil layers or bedrock. Piles get their load-bearing capacity by end-bearing the soil and from the friction generated between the surrounding soil and pile’s side surface.

The depth at which piles are driven is very important and determines their success rate. Piles are pushed into the soil until they reach “refusal.” This means they are pushed into the ground until they reach the point where they begin lifting the structure they’re supporting.

What Are Drill Piers?

With a drilled pier, a hole is drilled into the ground. A steel cage is inserted into the hole and concrete is poured over. The pier may reach the soil bedrock or even exceed it. It may also not reach the deeper bedrock at all. An evaluation determines the depth of the hole and diameter. In any case, piers are designed to support between 120% to 150% of the structure’s weight.

Drilled Piers vs Piles: Comparison at a Glance

Now let’s take a look at piers and piles when compared side to side for a better understanding of how they differ.

  •  Piles consist of vertical pillars made from concrete or steel. Piers are similar in size and shape.
  • Piles are often used when the soil lacks firm strata, such as bedrock.
  • Piles are usually meant for supporting greater loads, such as highway bridges. Piers are meant for smaller applications, such as sheds and small living units.

We Install Piers and Piles

There is no need to figure out on your own whether your home requires piles or a pier to stabilize your foundation. Call Align Foundation Repair, and we will send a crew member out for a free audit to make an assessment and determine which foundation reinforcement is best for your needs.

Common Uses for Steel Piling

Any building, from a residential home to a skyscraper, is only as durable as its foundation. A piling provides stability and is often the go-to remedy for structures showing early signs of foundation failure. For homes and smaller buildings, a foundation expert from Align Foundation Repair can evaluate your structural damage and recommend whether concrete piling or steel piling is the best solution. However, for larger structures, such as towers, bridges, and apartment complexes, steel piling solutions are common.

What Are Steel Pilings?

Pipe dimensions are a dual walled interlocking 2 7/8 and 2 5/8 inch pipes. The piles are inserted below the foundation for structural support. The piles are versatile and can support most foundation types regardless of the soil type. Most can also be inserted into rocky or swampy ground.

While piling installation may seem like a massive undertaking, modern equipment and technology enables quick and speedy installation with minimal invasive procedures to the surrounding property. In most instances, minimal digging is required. Installers implement an impact driving method using a hydraulic press to drive the piling into place.

Other Special Considerations for Steel Pile Use

What makes steel piles more applicable over other pile types? Installers may recommend steel piling over these construction scenarios:

  • Accommodating buildings with a heavy load (e.g. skyscraper, highway bridge)
  • Poor soil conditions or shallow depths, which is common in the Garland, TX, area due to the waxy, alkaline, and calciferous soil prone to shifting and expansion.
  • Other piles may not be possible due to property line restrictions.

Steel piling is commonly used in:

  • Bridge/dock construction
  • Marine/Offshore construction
  • Road and highway construction
  • Rail road construction
  • Oil field construction
  • Communication tower construction

Steel Piles Are Durable, Expedient, and Long-Lasting

With its ease of installation and quality, steel piles provide long-term solutions for a very integral part of any structure. We advise property owners to contact Align Foundation Repair if you notice any symptoms of a compromised foundation. Steel piling solutions are an investment that may last for the life of the structure.