What Causes Concrete Pool Decks to Sink?

Surrounding your inground pool with a concrete deck is a great way to enhance its beauty and functionality. But even a well-made pool deck can sink into the ground over time, causing it to crack, crumble, or break apart entirely.

As local concrete pool deck repair contractors, we see this problem occur on a regular basis here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Usually, it can be traced back to one or more of the following causes:

Causes of a sinking concrete pool deck

  1. Loosely compacted soil: A concrete deck can weigh up to 100,000 pounds, a tremendous load for the ground beneath to bear. Swimming pool installers try to compensate for this fact by compacting the soil beneath the deck. But sometimes they get in a hurry and fail to do a thorough job.
  2. Changing weather patterns: We all know that it gets really hot in North Texas during the summertime. But cold winters are also fairly common in our region of the country. This yearly shift in temperatures can cause your deck to swell and contract, creating stress fractures that contribute to sinking.
  3. Erosion: Rainwater can also cause a sinking concrete pool deck, especially if it finds its way into the underlying soil. The risk is especially high after a heavy downpour, but even occasional rainfall can have an erosive effect on your deck.
  4. Sinkholes: Not all sinkholes are large or easy to see. Smaller ones can form beneath your pool deck, causing it to slope or crack.

A problem you cannot ignore

A sunken pool deck is more than a cosmetic issue. It also poses serious risks to your family’s safety by creating trip or fall hazards. That’s not to mention the impact it can have on your home’s resale value.

The longer you wait to address this hazard, the more you put yourself and your loved ones at risk. The time to act is now.

Concrete pool deck raising

As concrete raising professionals, we’ve restored sunken decks all across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We begin by injecting an expandable compound into the soil beneath the deck that raises and levels it.

After that, we correct any remaining aesthetic problems such as cracks or fractures. When the job is done, we’ll leave you with a restored pool deck that looks and functions as good as new.

Here at Align Foundation Repair, we’re known and respected throughout North Texas as a leading pool deck repair contractor. Call us today to schedule your free, no-obligation quote. When your deck has you feeling down, we can give it a lift!

What Are the Types of Surface Drainage Systems?

Flat, even terrain is ideal for both residential and commercial construction. Unfortunately, tracts of level land are also vulnerable to heavy rainfall, which can saturate the soil or create stagnant pools of water that take months to evaporate.

Saturated soil and standing water can promote mold growth in your home or commercial building or even cause catastrophic damage to your foundation.

One of the best ways to deal with groundwater problems is to install surface drainage systems on your property. These solutions can provide excellent results when used in conjunction with your existing gutters and downspouts.

Two of the most effective options for managing groundwater are surface drains and French drains. Let’s look at how they work.

Surface drains

A surface drain is a ground-level grate placed over an underground catch basin. It’s installed at locations on your property where rainwater tends to pool.

Typically the basin is connected to buried pipes that direct the water to a central collection point such as a lake, stream, city sewage system, or street.

Surface drains do require occasional cleaning to prevent clogs. The grates are visible to onlookers, which may present an aesthetic concern for some property owners. Still, they’re an efficient way to prevent standing water from damaging your home, commercial building, or landscaping.

French drains

A French drain is a channel cut into the soil and lined with landscaping fabric. Corrugated pipe is placed in the drain and covered over with gravel or loose stone. The drain is sloped so that it flows away from the building.

Properly installed French drains resemble naturally formed stone paths, making them a great way to complement shrubs, flowerbeds, and other landscaping features. They’re more effective than surface drains at managing saturated soil. However, they’re also more expensive.

Which solution is right for you?

Which surface water drainage system is right for you? The answer to this question depends on many factors, such as the types of structures you have on your land and the contours of your property.

Determining the best way to go takes a professional on-site evaluation, which is where Align Foundation Repair comes into the picture. Our track record of success gives you the confidence that we’ll do the job right the first time.

Already have a groundwater management system in place that needs servicing? We also provide comprehensive surface drainage system repair services.

Every moment you wait puts your home or commercial building at risk of groundwater damage. To learn more about our drainage solutions, call us today.

Home Foundation Repair Financing

How to Pay for Foundation Repair with No Home Equity

A damaged foundation is one of the worst problems a homeowner can face. Left uncorrected, it can ruin your home’s value while exposing you and your family to serious safety risks.

Despite this fact, many homeowners put off having their foundation repaired, often due to fears of high costs.

If this sounds like you, then we have good news. Not only is the work more affordable than you may think, but there are many possible ways to pay for it. This is true even if you have no equity in your home.

Align Foundation Repair offers financing arrangements with low monthly payments, no prepayment penalties, and interest rates as low as 8.9%.

We’ll look more at these financing opportunities in just a bit. For now, let’s consider the high cost of ignoring foundation repair.

What Happens When Good Foundations Go Bad

Here’s what happens when your home’s foundation starts to fail:

  • Creaking doors and cracked windows: One of the first signs of a damaged foundation is a door that no longer fits its frame. As the problem worsens, you may notice your windows cracking or falling out altogether.
  • Unlevel floors and out-of-square walls: In a properly built home, corners are an even 90° and floors run straight across with no sagging. A damaged or sinking foundation can destroy these important symmetries, damaging your home’s framework and ruining its aesthetics.
  • Cracked Drywall: Telltale signs of a settling foundation are cracks in the drywall. Cracks may appear horizontally, vertically, or in “stepped” formation. The larger the cracks, the more likely they are due to foundation issues.
  • Collapsing chimneys: A sagging foundation can cause a brick chimney to lean sideways until it falls down altogether, creating a potential fire hazard and exposing you to legal liabilities.

Foundation Repair Payment Options

As you can see, foundation problems are too serious to ignore. Now let’s look at ways to pay for the necessary repairs:

  • Savings: Putting aside a little money for a rainy day is a time-honored way of guarding against future calamities. What better way to use these funds than to fix a damaged foundation?
  • Personal loans/credit cards: If you’ve suffered financial problems in the past, then a friend or family member may be able to cosign on your behalf.
  • Financing arrangements through our affiliated lenders: These programs offer several advantages, including 12-month same-as-cash, long terms to keep the monthly payments low, no prepayment penalties, and interest rates as low as 8.9%.

Contact us here at Align Foundation Repair today to learn more. We’ll provide you with a no-obligation quote, explain your options for financing foundation repair, and leave you with the facts you need to make an informed decision.

Uneven Concrete Sidewalk

Cost-Effective Sidewalk Repair

Over the years, sidewalks can sink, crack, or shift out of place. This can occur so slowly that the damage escapes notice, getting worse and worse until it becomes an ugly eyesore.

When this happens, you may find yourself dealing with serious risks to your home’s value and your family’s wellbeing, including:

  • Foundation damage: Sunken sidewalks can channel rainwater towards your foundation, causing your basement or crawlspace to flood. Over time, this may cause the foundation itself to fail, a catastrophic safety hazard that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Serious personal injuries: A sunken or uneven sidewalk is a 24/7 trip hazard. Even if you rarely use the walkway yourself, you may find yourself legally liable for accidents that occur on your property.
  • Mold and mildew in your home: Mold spores love a wet, cool, dark environment in which to fester. Anything that compromises your home’s foundation can promote the spread of mold and mildew throughout your residence.
  • Trouble selling your home: A sunken or damaged sidewalk can make your home less appealing to potential buyers, forcing you to reduce your asking price or lose the sale altogether.

The solution: professional sidewalk raising

Does your sidewalk need fixing? Concrete sidewalk raising is an effective, affordable way to repair damaged or sunken sidewalks. Here’s how it works:

  1. Our technicians conduct an on-site inspection to learn the cause of the problem: In most cases, they find that erosion has washed away the soil under the sidewalk, causing it to sink.
  2. A technician injects an expandable compound into the gap: This is an eco-friendly material that fills the void left by the eroded soil, raising the sidewalk and making it level once more.
  3. We repair any remaining cosmetic problems: You’re left with a safe, attractive sidewalk that’s a beautiful complement to your home and an eye-catching feature to potential buyers.

Not a job for DIYers

We salute DIYers for their can-do spirit. But leveling a sidewalk is best left to professional concrete raising services with the proper equipment and training. Trying to save a few pennies on your concrete sidewalk repair cost can put you at risk for all sorts of expensive consequences, from broken concrete to broken bones.

Align Foundation Repair is a veteran-owned company that believes in old-fashioned values like honesty, integrity, and hard work. We’re proud members of the local business community.

Contact us today for your no-obligation quote. When you do, ask about our concrete sidewalk repair financing options.

What is a Surface Drain?

A surface drain protects your home or commercial property from the effects of standing water. It works in conjunction with safeguards such as grading, contouring, and sloping while also providing a multi-layered defense against the impact of rain and other forms of precipitation.

Why is a surface drain so important?

To understand the importance of having good drainage solutions, take a few minutes to look around your property after the next downpour. You’ll probably see pools of standing water against your home’s foundation or scattered across the landscape.

Left uncorrected, these miniature swamps can wreak havoc with your lawn, your property values, or even your health. Here’s why:

  • Stagnant water creates dips and depressions: The kind that can erode valuable topsoil or even cause trip and fall hazards.
  • Water pooled against your foundation will eventually cause a leaking basement or crawl space: It’s like a ticking time bomb beneath your feet. Sooner or later, the unwanted moisture will find its way into your home or commercial building, causing wood to rot and concrete to crumble.
  • Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and pests: Keep mosquitoes, rats, and disease-causing organisms off your property. Long-term standing water is also a prime cause of mold, which in certain forms can trigger allergies and interfere with breathing.
  • Standing water causes excessive soil movement that leads to foundation issues: Clay-based soils expand when exposed to water, and can shift your foundation unevenly. Some soils collapse in the presence of water and can no longer support the load of the house.

Architects and construction workers are well-acquainted with the problems caused by rainwater. That’s why they include gutters and drainage spouts in their designs.

But these measures, while helpful, may not protect your property from the dangers associated with standing water. This is especially true if your land is poorly graded or improperly percolated.

The best way to address these problems is with surface drain installation. Here’s how it works:

  1. A contractor installs underground pipes and a catch basin: Gravel is placed beneath these components to allow excess water to flow into the ground.
  2. The pipes are topped off with either a flat or atrium grate: This is done to prevent people or animals from falling into the drain. It also helps to control soil seepage and plant growth inside the pipes.
  3. The pipes flow to a carefully chosen location: Most often, this location is a city sewer facility in urban areas or a river or stream in rural areas.

Surface drains vs. French drains: what’s the difference?

The primary purpose of a surface drain is to catch water that would otherwise remain above ground. On the other hand, a French drain is primarily used for water that would otherwise saturate the underlying soil and cause root rot or other problems.

A French drain is visible above ground as a channel filled with gravel or stone. A surface drain is usually covered by earth and invisible except for the entrance grate and exit points.

Want to know more? Give us a call

Here at Align Foundation Repair, our technicians are experts in all aspects of surface drain installation. Get in touch with us today to learn more or to obtain a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Repair Uneven Concrete Sidewalk

An uneven concrete sidewalk is an aggravating issue for both realtors and homeowners. Not only does it mar a property’s appearance, but it can also be dangerous. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1 million Americans suffer a slip or trip injury each year; many due to uneven, cracked, or otherwise damaged sidewalks. Residents and visitors to Dallas-Fort Worth are as likely as anyone else to fall victim themselves.

Let’s take a look at what causes uneven sidewalks in the first place. Then we will discuss three ways to fix this common eyesore and safety hazard.

Concrete Damage is Usually Due to Natural Causes

A properly laid concrete sidewalk can remain in place for many years before it starts to shift. When it does begin to move, the problem is usually due to one of three natural causes:

  1. Erosion: Rain seeps beneath the sidewalk, washing away the supporting soil and causing the concrete to sink. This happens regularly here in the Southwest, where gully washers are a common occurrence.
  2. Expansive Clay Soils: The clay-based soil in our region expands in the presence of moisture and contracts when dry. This “heaving” process can damage concrete sidewalks and shift them out of place.
  3. Frost: Our part of the country enjoys mild winters most of the time. Yet sometimes, the mercury drops low enough to freeze the ground, causing sidewalks to crack or heave.

When you understand the causes, you are now ready to find some concrete sidewalk repair solutions.

DIY sidewalk repair

The sheer weight and size of a sidewalk make DIY repair an arduous task indeed. Still, there are a couple of options available:

  1. Scarifying: This method uses a machine to grind the sidewalk down to a uniform level. Unfortunately, it does nothing to address the eroded soil underneath. Also, scarifying can leave ugly blemishes (“scars”) on the sidewalk’s surface.
  2. Ripping up and redoing the sidewalk: This labor-intensive approach is best reserved for those with extensive concrete pouring experience. When performed poorly or in haste, it can actually make the problem worse.

The best approach: professional concrete lifting and leveling

Known as “slab jacking,” “mud jacking,” or simply “concrete leveling,” this option attacks the problem by correcting its underlying cause. Here’s how it works:

  1. A skilled technician drills holes in the sidewalk surface: This is done with care to avoid causing cracks or fractures in the concrete.
  2. A compound is injected into the underlying earth: As the product cures, it raises the depressed sections of the sidewalk to a smooth, even level.
  3. The technician fills the drill holes and corrects any aesthetic concerns: The customer is left with a renewed sidewalk that’s both beautiful and safe to walk on, giving it a “good as new” appearance.

Here at Align Foundation Repair, our people are experts in all aspects of sidewalk repair. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our concrete raising services. We can put your crooked path back on the straight and level where it belongs.

 

How to Finance Your Foundation Repair

Home improvement projects fall into two classes: those that can wait and those that can’t. Knowing the difference between the two is all-important, not just for your home’s resale value but your personal safety as well.

When it comes to foundation repair, the dangers of putting it off are too great to risk. After all, any house is only as sound as the structure that supports it.

That might make a lot of sense to you – but what if your household is on a pretty strict budget? Where’s the money coming from to pay for the work?

Here at Align Foundation Repair, we understand completely. After all, extra funds are tight for millions of homeowners across the country right now.

That’s why we’re excited to tell you about the many foundation repair financing options we offer to our customers, with monthly payments as low as $125. Don’t delay this crucial work when help is readily available.

A problem too serious to ignore

Nothing poses a greater risk to your home than a damaged foundation. Here’s why:

  • A failing foundation can cause problems throughout your house: Such as unlevel floors, windows that won’t open or shut, and doors that stick or won’t stay closed.
  • Cracks in your foundation create the perfect entry point for moisture: Water can flood your basement or crawl space, promote mold or mildew growth, or cause your home’s wooden supports to rot away, putting the entire structure in danger of collapse.
  • A bad foundation can devastate your home’s resale value: A house with foundation problems is almost impossible to sell in most markets.
  • Time will only make the issue worse: Sometimes, a foundation becomes so weak that the property is condemned, forcing the family to abandon it altogether.
  • Disregarding the problem now can cost you a lot more later on: Eventually, it may get to the point where a brand-new foundation is needed, a job that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

For all these reasons and more, we urge you to call us today to discuss foundation repair finance. Tomorrow may be too late.

How to Pay for Foundation Repair

Besides our programs, there are a number of other ways to pay for the job. They include:

  • A home equity loan: Which can put cash in your pocket just when you need it the most.
  • A personal loan: Either from your bank or a private financing company.
  • Credit cards: Which are handy to have when an unexpected expense arises, such as the need for foundation repair.

Get in touch with us here at Align Foundation Repair today to learn more. We’re happy to help you in any way we can.

How to Level a Concrete Pool Deck

Your swimming pool is more than a place to take a refreshing dip in the water. It’s also the perfect centerpiece for all sorts of outdoor gatherings, from casual family get-togethers to gala events with food, music, and lots of friends.

But time has a way of disturbing even the best-laid concrete deck. When that happens, the results can include disfiguring cracks, serious safety issues, and damage to the pool itself. If left unaddressed, the problem can even take a chunk out of your home’s resale value.

Fortunately, there is a time-tested solution to this dilemma. Concrete pool deck leveling can erase cosmetic blemishes, correct unsafe dips and slopes, and restore your pool’s deck to its original beauty.

How concrete pool deck lifting works

One of the most effective and affordable way to repair an uneven pool deck is by pressure-injecting an expandable compound underneath the deck’s surface. This method is known as “slab jacking.” Here’s how it works:

  1. The contractor drills holes at selected spots in your pool deck: This relieves pressure on the deck’s structure while providing entry points for the compound.
  2. The contractor feeds either liquid polyurethane or a cement slurry into the holes: As the material expands, it raises the depressed sections of the pool deck back to their original level.
  3. The contractor fills the drill holes: This leaves the homeowner with a beautifully restored pool deck that looks as good as new.

Definitely not a DIY job

On its surface, concrete pool deck lifting may sound fairly simple. But in reality, it’s a task best left to the pros. Here’s why:

  1. Raising a concrete pool deck requires special tools: Such as industrial-grade drills, proprietary polyurethane or cement-based fillers, and vehicles capable of transporting the necessary materials to the site.
  2. Raising a concrete pool deck is potentially dangerous: Due to the enormous weight of the deck and the powerful tools needed to correct the problem.
  3. The consequences of getting the job wrong are too great to risk: Imagine how much it would cost to rip out your existing pool deck and replace it from scratch. That’s what could happen if homeowners try this project on their own. Why take that chance?

Call us today at Align Foundation Repair to learn more. We’ll schedule a time for one of our concrete raising professionals to drop by and give you a friendly, no-obligation estimate.

Why Does the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Have So Many Foundation Problems?

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, differs from other parts of the country with its combination of clay soils and seasonal variations. Changes to the soil’s moisture content cause expansion and contraction, which can lead to road damage and foundation issues.

North Texas has some of the highest soil plasticity in the world. Within any given season, it’s not unusual to experience long stretches of drought followed by torrential rains and flooding.

Align Foundation Repair offers free inspections and estimates for property owners and real estate agents concerned about foundation issues. We are skilled at a full range of DFW foundation repair services, including drainage solutions, concrete lifting, and more.

Common Signs of DFW Foundation Problems

Signs of structural damage to a house can build over time or occur overnight. Warning signs to look for include:

  • Bowing walls
  • Cabinets that swing open by themselves
  • Divides widening between the floor and door
  • Drywall cracks
  • Exterior brick cracks and crumbles
  • Nails protruding from the walls
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Sidewalk and patio concrete cracks
  • Sticky doors and windows

Root Causes of Foundation Issues in Dallas Fort Worth 

The three primary underlying causes of foundation issues in Dallas/Fort Worth include:

Poor soil preparation

Disturbed, graded soil becomes loose and porous. Without compacting the soil before pouring the concrete, the foundation will slip and slide — or even sink — as the ground fluctuates between wet and dry.

Many newer areas that have been heavily filled could take seven years for the ground to fully settle, so it is not uncommon for a new neighborhood to have foundation trouble.

Pouring concrete over soggy wet trenches is yet another way a foundation can be poorly prepared.

Soil type and climate

To some degree, foundation problems are unavoidable in most of Texas. The entire DFW area is built upon deep clay. When subjected to swings of temperature and rainwater volume, clay soil expands and contracts. Our region is characterized by a wide annual temperature range, and precipitation can vary from less than 20 inches to more than 50 inches.

Poor drainage

Many parts of DFW also happen to sit in a flood plain region. Excessive moisture causes a negative effect on all DFW home foundation types, whether you have pier and beam or slab style construction.

Sometimes a “flood” can be caused by a plumbing leak if the ground has shifted enough to cause a broken pipe somewhere along the line. Large tree roots, bushes too close to the house, and garden runoff can cause moisture to accumulate too close to the foundation.

What to Look For When Buying a DFW Home

When you’re buying a home in the DFW region, look for:

  • The aforementioned signs of DFW foundation problems, particularly cracks and sticky doors/windows.
  • Crispy, fried landscaping and shrubs that have not been properly maintained.
  • Trees too close to the house and untamed shrubs like Red Tips grown up to the eaves of the house.
  • Homes in more established neighborhoods that have been around at least 7-10 years.
  • A property that comes with a lifetime transferable warranty on foundation repair.

You can also call a foundation contractor at Align Foundation Repair for a free estimate to get a professional opinion on the stability of your property. We can provide you with a better understanding of the soil underneath the property, how likely it is to sustain damage, and what the cost of repairs might be.

Preventative Maintenance Steps for Homes in Dallas-Fort Worth

Ideally, a structural engineer will be involved in a building construction project from the ground up. The architect should oversee and verify that all instructions were followed before the concrete was poured.

After purchasing a home, property owners can mitigate future foundation settling by installing:

  • A proper drainage system like a French or surface drain.
  • Gutter downspouts (and keeping them cleaned!)
  • Soaker hoses and sprinklers around the foundation to keep moisture levels stable in dry spells.

Maintaining vegetation – like trimming trees and keeping shrubbery away from the house – is also important.

If you are worried about a foundation in Dallas / Fort Worth, call the family-owned and operated Align Foundation Repair. Since 2010, our A+ rated, BBB-accredited, fully insured business has provided expertise to local residents.

Call for a free inspection if you live in one of our DFW foundation repair service areas. All work comes with a fully transferrable warranty that gives you peace of mind and increased property value.

Drilled Pier for Home Foundation

Types of Drilled Piers Used in North Texas

When it comes to foundation repair, a variety of solutions are available in the DFW, Texas area. No one solution is better than another; it comes down to what is best for a particular building type and the soil condition it rests on. Usually, this includes some form of pier. We’ll go over the three main types of piers and how they work as a foundation reinforcement.

1. Concrete Piers

This is the most common pier type with a wide range of applications due to their durable reliability and affordability. This is also known as “pressed concrete piers” or simply “pressed piers.” Installers use a hydraulic press to drive the concrete cylinder into the ground. For additional stability and load-bearing capacity, the concrete caps are reinforced with steel plates.

2. Drilled Piers

Drilled concrete piers are quite versatile. This is because the piers do not rely on the weight of the structure to press them down and keep them stable. This makes it a popular solution for pier and beam and slab foundations.

With drilled piers, a hole is dug using an auger. A rebar is installed in the hole and is filled with heavy-duty concrete. Despite the durability of drilled piers, the use of an auger does create a more invasive installment process. This includes heavier noise traffic and possible foundation disruption in adjacent areas.

3. Steel Piers

Steel piers offer even more durability than concrete piers and are usually recommended as support for extremely heavy structures, such as public multi-story facilities. Some steel piers are installed outside the foundation perimeter using hydraulic rams and a bracket that transfers the weight of the structure to the piers. Other steel piers are installed right under the perimeter grade beam.

The piers consist of hollow steel pipes that can be filled with cement and grout to protect against rust and upheaval. Like concrete piers, steel piers may also be reinforced with steel cables.

We Install All Pier Types

The Northern Texas area contains diverse soil conditions. As such, there is no single pier type that is ideal for every situation. Contact Align Foundation Repair for an inspection to determine the best foundation remediation for your residential or commercial structure.