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.

Why Soil Pulls Away From a Foundation During Summer

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

What Causes Soil to Pull Away?

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

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

Is Soil Pulling Away in Your Home?

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

What Do You Do?

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

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

Call Align Foundation Repair for a Foundation Inspection

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

Do New Construction Homes Need Foundation Maintenance?

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

Why New Foundations Still Require Maintenance

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

How to Maintain a Foundation

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

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

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

Don’t Forget the Professional Inspection

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

Why is an Area Drain Typically Used?

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

What is an Area Drain?

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

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

When is an Area Drain Necessary?

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

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

Area Drains Are Made to Specific Residential Requirements

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

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

We Install Area Drains

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

How Can I Tell If I Need Drainage Work?

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

1. Puddling Water

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

2. Gushing Gutters

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

3. Ground Mildew

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

4. Shifting Mulch

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

5. Bowing Floors

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

Correct Drainage Problems ASAP

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