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.

Foundation Repair Tips

Pier and Beam Foundation Tips

One of the benefits of a beam foundation is that it’s easier to maintain than the common slab concrete foundation. Homeowners in the Garland, TX, area should take care to maintain their foundation for maximum longevity. Soil conditions in the area make foundation damage quite likely if you don’t take good care of this all-important structure.

Pier and Beam Foundation Maintenance Guidelines

The most critical step is maintaining a robust drainage system. When water is allowed to pool around the home, moisture seeps under the foundation, which leads to concrete warping and contraction. Too much moisture accumulation also leads to decay in wooden beams and joists.

The Texas region has heavy clay soils, which is prone to swelling when wet and shrinking when dry. This results in constant contraction that causes the foundation to heave up and down in rhythm with the seasons.

During dry seasons, water the soil. Aside from keeping the grass green, this will also keep the soil from drying out and shrinking. Be careful, though, not to water too close to the perimeter of the house. Water the soil starting from 18-inches from the base of the home.

Additionally, check your gutters and be sure the downspout directs the water at least five-feet away from the foundation perimeter.

Conduct Periodic Foundation Checks

Perform a visual inspection every six months. Examine for cracks in the walls and ceiling in every room. Check that all doors and windows open and close properly. By the time these defects are apparent, you already have significant foundation damage. It’s best to bring in an inspector to catch early signs of damage that is undetectable by non-trained professionals. This is especially important after a flood or heavy storm with a lot of water runoff.

We Inspect and Restore Pier and Beam Foundations

We hope you find these pier and beam foundation tips practical and easy to implement. For professional inspections, contact Align Foundation Repair. Pier and beam foundations are not uncommon in the Garland region, and we inspect, repair, and restore them on a regular basis.

Spread Footing Vs. Grade Beam

There are multiple foundation types. Those outside the industry hear the different terms and treat them interchangeably for the sake of simplicity. However, foundation types have different names because they support structures in different ways. Two of the more commonplace foundations are grade beam and spread footing. Learn how they differ in application.

What Is a Spread Footing?

As the name implies, spread footing evenly spreads the weight of a structure across the soil using a combination of walls, columns, and lateral loads. In contrast to a more standard load-bearing foundation, a spread footing has a wider base for providing greater weight distribution and stability.

Whereas a spot footing only has a single point of contact with the foundation, spread footings spread the support across the entire structure’s layout. Think of the footing as an inverted table, where the table surface is the “spreader” that distributes the support. You can also imagine the footing as an inverted T; some also refer to it as a T footing.

Spread footings are constructed from concrete and/or reinforced steel with minimal risk of failure.

What Is a Grade Beam?

Grade beams serve two purposes: it acts as a beam that carries the foundation load while simultaneously bracing the foundation. Unlike a spread footing, which primarily supports the foundation via latitudinal reinforcement, grade beams utilize longitudinal reinforcement for the bulk of its weight-supporting bearing. The beams essentially act as connectors between footings and pile caps. The footings, meanwhile, transfer the building’s load to deeper parts of the soil or to the bearing points.

Spread Footing Vs Grade Beams: Which Is Better?

The better of the two depends on ground conditions. Spread footings are usually recommended for shallow foundations where the bulk of the footing rests directly on or near the soil surface. The footing also surpasses the building’s perimeter by several inches.

An installer may recommend a grade beam when the building requires a post or pier foundation that extends deep into the soil. The beams usually rest on its own pilings for support though it may also rest on the soil.

We Install Both Foundation Support Types

Spread footing vs grade beam? It all depends on the conditions. Each has their place; both are also commonplace for residential and commercial buildings in the Garland, Texas, area. Contact Align Foundation Repair for an inspection. An initial assessment will determine which is best for your location.

Drilled Pier for Home Foundation

Pier and Beam Vs. Slab Foundation

Among homeowners, there appears to be a lot of uncertainty regarding pier and beam vs slab foundation. Since they’re all forms of foundations, people tend to treat the terms as interchangeable. The two actually have very little in common aside from both being building foundations. Learn how they differ structure-wise.

What Is a Pier and Beam Foundation?

Many Northern Texas homes built in the 1960s and prior have pier and beam foundations. Visualize a stilt house, or google it to see an image. This is essentially a pier and beam foundation. Of course, most homes are not built that high off the floor, but the stilts, or piers, are located under the soil. The beams are installed from pier to pier for stability.

The average house with pier and beam foundation is about 18-inches off the floor. This is evident by the crawlspace underneath. The space is usually reserved for the plumbing and piping.

What Is a Slab Foundation?

Slab foundations are just that, a concrete slab for homes and other structures constructed on a flat lot. The process, though, isn’t as simple as merely pouring concrete over the floor. It’s actually a complex process that includes placing gravel in the slab interior, using plastic sheeting to prevent moisture buildup, and much more. Reinforcement cables are also used to support the slab.When damage to the slab is detected, repairs are done by reinforcing the slab with concrete or steel pilings.

Which Is Better?

The debate of slab vs pier and beam foundation comes down to circumstances. As with most forms of construction, each method has its respective pros and cons. An installer will choose one or the other depending on various factors, such as building size and shape, soil conditions, etc. Due to diverse environments in Dallas-Fort Worth, even buildings within the same vicinity may have completely different foundations.

We Install, Repair, and Restore Foundations

Give Align Foundation Repair a call for an assessment of your home or commercial foundation.We will formulate a remediation plan that restores the foundation so it’s on par with modern safety standards.

Should I Buy a House with Foundation Repair?

People often ask us, “Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair work?” The short answer is “yes.” However, the buyer should:

  • Know specifically what was done
  • Examine the warranty
  • Have the foundation inspected again before closing to make sure it is still in good shape

When buying a used car, it’s good to know about the vehicle’s history. Was it involved in a collision that required extensive frame repair? You should have the same attitude when buying a house. What repairs were done on it over the years? Remember, that just because recent repair work has been done on the foundation doesn’t mean that no problems currently exist.

What You Need to Know about the Repairs

If foundation repair was done, that means that there were significant foundation problems in the past. If the workmanship was less than stellar, or if the soil conditions around the house are extremely poor, the foundation may run into serious issues again in the future. As a buyer, you can make an informed decision by learning as much as you can about the history of the repair work. Here are some questions to ask:

Who Performed the Repairs?

Look at the home seller’s repair report; what company is listed? Is it even a company or a freelance contractor? If a company, look up the service online. What are some reviews from prior customers? Be wary if the company has zero online presence. Even if the company doesn’t have a website, it should at least have one or two social media pages and a small handful of Google reviews.

What Repairs Were Done?

What method was used? For a typical residence, this will include concrete or steel piling or drilled piers. How many piers or piling were used? Were they concrete or steel? This should all be listed in the report. Were piers/piling installed in just one section or all over the home? The latter indicates a more serious repair. You should proceed with caution.

Get a Second Opinion

Perhaps the repair company has no online presence, or the repair work indicates significant damage. Is this a deal-breaker? Not necessarily; however, you should get a second professional opinion to err on the side of caution. This doesn’t mean a general home inspector but an actual licensed Dallas home foundation repair company. An evaluator can assess the previous repair work and determine whether it meets industry standards.

Ask About the Warranty

If the repairs were done relatively recently, then the warranty should still be in effect. Find out what the warranty covers and how many more years it’s good for. Some last a lifetime, while others are good for several decades. Most warranties can be transferred to the new homeowner for a small one-time fee or even for free if transferred within a certain number of days of closing the property sale.

Foundation damage is commonplace in the North Texas region, so foundation repair shouldn’t be a disqualifying factor. However, it does warrant additional research if you’re the buyer. Align Foundation Repair can be a part of that research. Our Dallas foundation repair solutions include pre-home sale inspections. We frequently work with home buyers, sellers, and their respective real estate agents.

Should I Buy a House with Foundation Problems?

Unless you’re moving into a recently constructed home, buying a house is like buying a used car. You have to actively check for existing issues. Foundation problems in the Dallas area are especially commonplace, so getting a thorough inspection of the house foundation is a must for buyers before they commit to an offer. Generally, you shouldn’t buy a house if it has existing structural issues. Nevertheless, various factors are at play, and buying a house with foundation problems isn’t completely out of the question.

Inspect the Home

First, if any foundation problems are present, the seller is obligated to list them in a disclosure form. You should also perform a visual inspection yourself. Walk around the home interior and exterior and look for cracks along the walls and ceilings. Also, open and shut the doors and windows. Foundation problems may lurk if you can’t do this without muscling it into place.

Get a Professional Assessment

Ask to see the report if the owner already had the foundation professionally inspected. If not, don’t proceed further until the owner agrees to a professional who specializes in foundation problems and not just a general home inspector. As part of our Dallas foundation repair services, Align Foundation Repair provides a free inspection and estimate.

What to Do Next

It’s not an instant dealbreaker if the inspection turns up problems; it’s up to you. This is where negotiations really come into play. This is actually a good bargaining chip for getting the seller to lower the asking price. Homes with foundation problems can sell for up to 20% to 25% below the original price. On the other hand, foundation repair costs rarely exceed more than 10% of the property’s value. In other words, this can work out in your favor if you play your cards right. However, if you go this route, don’t just purchase the home and move right in as is. Arranging for repairs should be one of the first steps as the new homeowner.

Leaving Repairs to the Seller

Alternatively, you can agree to purchase the house at the asking price on the written stipulation that the owner has the foundation repaired out of their own pocket and have it done before the closing date. Get this agreement in writing or stipulated in the contract. If you proceed this way, make sure you and the seller agree on the repair company. The seller may choose the cheapest contractor. Unrealistically low prices often translate to shoddy workmanship.

Also, repair agreements should include damages incurred as a result of the foundation damage. This might include any ruptured pipes, cracks/separations along the wall and ceiling, etc. The costs of these also need to be factored in should you decide to buy the home as is.

Know the True Condition of the Property

As the buyer, you should fully understand the foundation’s condition. You can buy a home if foundation problems exist, but proceed with repairs right away. Call Align Foundation Repair for a zero-cost inspection and estimate. The report will give you an idea of how to proceed and negotiate.

How Foundation Problems Can Impact Buying or Selling a Home

Are you putting your property in the Dallas-Ft Worth area up for sale? Perhaps you’re a homebuyer and searching for property in the region. In Texas, there is usually a quick closing period of 30 days. A lot has to be squeezed into that short window of time to ensure a smooth closing. This includes inspections of the house’s plumbing, electrical system, and foundation. Foundation problems in DFW are quite commonplace, and existing issues need to be resolved before the closing period.

Foundation Problems for the Seller

Begin with a DIY inspection for signs of damage. Examine your home for the following:

  • Cracks in the walls, ceilings, and house exterior
  • Opening and shutting problems with any of the doors or windows
  • Uneven flooring
  • Soil pulling away from the foundation

If any of the above is present, then you will need to schedule a professional foundation evaluation. If problems are present and require remediation, you can arrange for repairs before selling the home or put the property on the market as is. If you opt for the latter, you will need to make note of the foundation problems in a disclosure form. Keep in mind, you will likely also have to sell at a lower price. If foundation problems are only discovered during the closing process, the buyer may back out, or you will have to enter into last-minute fixing negotiations to decide you will pay to restore the foundation.

Your real estate agent can consult you on this manner and advise whether it’s more cost-effective to repair the foundation on your own dime or sell the property as is.

Foundation Problems for the Buyer

As the buyer, insist on seeing documents verifying the foundation was inspected by a qualified technician. If no inspection has been done, see if you can agree to an inspection with the seller, perhaps agreeing to split the cost. Align Foundation Repair provides a free and zero-obligation foundation repair estimate.

There is a prevailing belief that buyers should avoid homes with existing foundation issues. However, this is not necessarily the case. Due to an existing problem, you might be able to negotiate a lower price and use some of the saved money to cover the cost of the foundation repair.

Even if existing issues are present, you can still consider the property if it otherwise ticks all the boxes. You may also agree to buy the home at the seller’s asking price on the stipulation that the latter agrees to pay for the foundation repair before the closing date.

Additionally, some buyers will agree to fix the foundation because they already plan to do significant reconstruction or remodeling on the house.

We Work with Sellers, Buyers, and Realtors

Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or real estate agent, call Align Foundation Repair for a no-cost home foundation inspection or for DFW foundation repair services.

How to Inspect Your Foundation During COVID-19

Even if many Americans are staying home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they can still remain proactive and perform a DFW home foundation checkup. This is actually easier than it sounds. Below, we explain how it’s done.

1. Inspect the Home Exterior

Perform a 360-degree walkaround of your house. Look closely for cracks in the concrete. Make a note of any cracks greater than a fourth of an inch. Also, examine the brick veneer for cracks and separations.

2. Inspect the Home Interior

Foundation damage doesn’t just affect the home exterior; damage will be visible in the interior as well. Perform a close visual inspection of the walls and ceiling, especially at the intersections where they come together. Are there cracks, bulges, or separation at these intersections? Do the same for the intersections where the floor and walls meet. If the damage is severe in this area, you will notice the floor is not perfectly level. You will feel slightly uneven or off-balance when you stand completely straight even if the sloping is relatively minor.

3. Examine the Windows and Doors

Fully open and shut every window and door; this includes glass sliding doors and closet doors. Do any of them have trouble completely closing or opening? Do the windows or doors partially jam or require more muscle than normal to get it to move? If these problems are present and everything appears fine with the hinges and latches, then the problem may stem from the frame shifting due to movements in the foundation.

4. Examine the Pipes

One may think a leaky pipe is a separate and unrelated issue; this could very well be. However, a burst pipe may also be due to foundation movement. A plumber can examine the source and determine whether a leak is an isolated problem or tied to a bigger problem (i.e., a shifting foundation).

Now Is a Time for a Professional Inspection

The state has designated foundation services as an essential business. As such, Align Foundation Repair remains open while strict quarantine measures are in place. If a self-foundation inspection in the DFW area yields problems, then the next step is to give us a call. Your health is our priority, and we strictly enforce all safety measures during a residential inspection. This includes disinfecting all equipment and keeping a respectable distance from our customers. While we may not be able to greet you with a handshake, we will certainly welcome you with a smile!

Can You Live in a House During Foundation Repair?

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

The Repair Process

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

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

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

Choosing to Leave

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

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

We Repair Your Foundation Without Disruption

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

Tips to Prevent Soil Erosion Around Your Foundation

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

What Causes Soil Erosion?

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

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

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

Maintain the Gutter System

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

Install a Ground-Level Drainage System

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

Strategic Landscaping

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

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

Examine the Slope

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

We Provide Anti-Soil Erosion Measures

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