How Can I Maintain My Foundation?

Homeowners can take proactive steps to help maintain the stability of their home foundation:

• Monitor splits in the walls and ceilings
• Inspect home exterior for cracks
• Check crawlspaces for moisture, mildew, and rot
• Schedule routine inspections for plumbing leaks and sprinkler leaks
• Keep soil around the home from becoming too dry or wet

Follow these foundation maintenance tips to offset preventable damage.

Inspect, Inspect, and Inspect Some More

The foundation is out of sight, so you cannot perform a direct visual inspection. However, other signs alert you to possible damage. This includes cracks and splits in the walls and ceilings. When the foundation is compromised, the concrete slabs begin shifting, which in turn causes the walls and ceilings to do the same and come apart. Perform a visual inspection by walking around the home exterior to spot for cracks. If you have a crawlspace, inspect the area for excessive moisture, mildew, and rotting wood. If any of these signs are present, call Align Foundation Repair right away.

Schedule Routine Plumbing Inspections

It may not occur to homeowners to think about the connection between the foundation and plumbing. The foundation, though, is at risk if there is a plumbing leak. If an underground pipe bursts, the leaking water can damage the concrete. Aside from a plumbing checkup, also check for leaks in the sprinkler system and even the septic system if the home is not connected to a municipal sewer line.

Regulate Outdoor Moisture Levels

Most areas in the North Texas region contain heavy sand and loam-based soil. These sediments are prone to water retention. When soil consistently fluctuates between high and low moisture content, it expands and contracts, causing the foundation to shift.

A key for proper foundation maintenance is to keep the perimeter of your home from becoming too wet or dry. Water the soil around the foundation during the warmer months using an automatic lawn sprinkler or soaker hose. In conjunction, you can also install rock beds about two feet away from the foundation to allow moisture to penetrate the soil and prevent it from drying out.

We Maintain Texas Home Foundations

While there are many effective preventative measures that homeowners can take to protect their foundation, a professional evaluation is required to know the true state of your home’s foundation. For exemplary North Texas foundation repair and maintenance service, give Align Foundation Repair a call today.

Tree root and green grass

Can Trees Cause Uneven Floors in My House?

Tree roots can extend to the soil beneath the home and cause shifting that leads to uneven flooring. A tree is far larger than what you can see. There is an entire extensive root system below the soil that can extend for meters. Though the root is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind.

How Roots Can Damage the Flooring

Roots naturally grow in the direction of water and nutrients in the soil. A cracked plumbing pipe near the home can cause water to seep into the soil. This causes the roots to gravitate in that direction.

Contrary to popular belief, the roots themselves don’t cause direct damage. The roots typically don’t have the strength to split the concrete unless the concrete has pre-existing damage. Instead, the root disrupts the soil condition. The root can consume the soil’s moisture and nutrients. This leads to loose soil that is less able to support the weight of the foundation and floor. Soil requires moisture to retain solidity. Without it, soil becomes less compact.

Soil Type Plays a Role

The degree to which tree roots can inflict damage depends largely on the soil conditions. Soil containing heavy concentrations of clay compacts more easily, making it harder for roots to push through it. Soil consisting primarily of gravel and loose dirt, on the other hand, is less compact, making it easy for roots to navigate through. Soil with heavy sand composition is also really vulnerable since sand is moisture-dependent for retaining its solidity.

Some parts of the North Texas region contain soil of the loose dirt and sand variety. This makes uneven flooring from root intrusion commonplace.

What to Do if You Have an Intruding Tree

If you notice uneven or sloped flooring, a North Texas foundation repair expert will need to perform an evaluation to determine the cause. If a tree rests on your property, then it may very well be the culprit. If so, then the tree may need to be removed. When we say removed, we mean uprooted. It is not enough to just cut the tree and leave the stump behind; that means the roots also remain. If the root remains, the tree may be able to resprout.

Should You Remove Your Tree?

Even if the floor is fine, should you be concerned if you have a tree? Multiple factors are in play, such as the soil condition which we mentioned. The tree species matters as well. Some species grow longer root systems than others. Examples of trees with non-invasive roots include:

  • Sugar, silver, and Norway maples
  • Willow trees
  • Oak trees
  • Ash trees

These trees have shallow roots, usually extending only four to eight-inches below ground. Don’t forget, though, that distance matters as well. Trees should be planted no closer than 20 feet within your home, though even this rule isn’t ironclad. Once again, it depends on the tree species.

Have Uneven Flooring? Give Us a Call

Trees on your property may be causing unseen damage. If you suspect problems with your foundation, take action immediately. Call Align Foundation Repair for a free evaluation and estimate. An uneven floor foundation problem only exacerbates over time if ignored.

Can Flooding Cause Foundation Damage?

Prolonged water exposure can be detrimental to a residential foundation. This is especially a pressing issue after a flood-inducing storm, which is not that uncommon in the North Texas region. The aftermath of a flood can deal immense damage to a foundation if the problem isn’t addressed and the water is left to linger.

How Does Flooding Damage a Foundation?

The foundation issues from flooding can be numerous and should not be shrugged off by homeowners. The heavy rainwater and gusts from a storm can wash and erode the soil the foundation rests on. This leaves gaps and spaces where rainwater can collect and remain long after the storm settles. The water can seep into existing cracks in the concrete and compromise the foundation’s structural integrity.

Excess water can also cause the soil around your home to expand, which in turn puts pressure on your foundation and can ultimately cause it to shift dangerously to the point where it requires repair intervention.

There is yet a third factor that can damage your foundation, and that’s the moving force of the water itself. Water traveling at 10 mph has the equivalent force of winds traveling at 270 mph. The water pressing against the foundation is powerful enough to separate a foundation from the walls. The moving water can also push against and damage the concrete piling underneath the foundation.

Signs of Foundation Damage from a Flood

Perform a home checkup in the aftermath of a flood. Be proactive and look for the following:

  • Cracks in the floor, walls, and ceilings that were not there before
  • Doors and windows may not open or shut properly
  • Tears in the wallpaper
  • The soil appears lower or not level with the lawn
  • Noticeable gaps between the wall and ceiling or floor
  • The garage door may appear slanted in the open or shut position

Flood Damage Prevention

The key is to prevent water from pooling anywhere near your property. You can take these precautions:

  • Inspect your downspouts and ensure they point away from the home. If your home lacks a gutter system altogether, install one before the next incoming storm.
  • Install a sump pump or foundation vent. This enables water to flow through the home rather than pool around it.
  • Apply sealants and coatings on your walls, windows, and doorways. This prevents floodwater from entering the home through cracks in these components.
  • Grade your lawn so that the ground slopes away from your home. If the slope is toward the home or the ground is completely flat, water can pool around the house.
  • Keep mulch away from the home. Mulch can absorb water and cause the foundation, walls, and siding to rot.

What to Do Next

Contact Align Foundation Repair if you notice signs of damage. We provide comprehensive flooded foundation repair services in North Texas. We can inspect the foundation and determine whether immediate fixes are necessary. The first and most important step is to make the call; never assume that your foundation is fine after a flood!

Will Foundation Repair Destroy My Landscaping?

Many North Texas homeowners recognize the signs of a settling foundation. However, some hesitate to take action, fearing the process will destroy their landscape. This will hurt the curb appeal they have invested so much in to make their property an eye-turner. The truth is that foundation repair will have some impact on your landscape. There is simply no way around this especially if the work requires excavation. The question is the degree of impact.

Foundation Repairs Don’t Always Disturb the Landscape

There are some instances where your landscape will be mostly unaffected. If you detect damage early on, the foundation may simply have settled or sloped by an inch or two. If you need only minor work, affect is minimal.

What Factors Will Affect Changes to the Landscape?

If damage is severe enough, it may require concrete or steel piers and beams. These need to be installed below the foundation. Naturally, this requires digging. The extent to which this will affect the landscape depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • The degree of concrete damage
  • The size of your property
  • Physical obstructions like tree roots

As a general rule, the excavation work will require a minimum working space of 4-feet beyond the foundation’s perimeter. Anything inside the boundary can get disturbed. Beyond the digging, an area will need to be allotted for displacing the soil from the excavation. Existing foliage may have to be removed to create room for the work to be done.

How to Restore the Landscape

After determining the appropriate remediation steps, the technician will assess ways to keep landscape disruption to a minimum.
Keep in mind that if you have trees or shrubs that fall within the working space, they may have to be uprooted and moved. We must stress though, that this is actually beneficial. A tree that close to your home poses a risk to your foundation. The roots can extend and shift the soil below the foundation, causing shifting that can crack or split the concrete.

We Keep Landscape Damage to a Minimum

We will do our very best to minimize any damage to your landscape. If portions of your landscaping are affected, we will provide you with foundation landscaping options to restore the curb appeal. Call Align Foundation Repair for an evaluation and free estimate.

How Long Does It Take to Repair a Foundation?

Repairing a foundation doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process, but it generally will take more than a single day to finish. For a quick answer, foundation repair usually takes about two to three days. However, due to a number of factors and variables, it may be shorter or longer in duration. After an initial evaluation, an inspector can give you an accurate timeline.

Degree of Damage

How badly is the foundation damaged, sinking, or sloping? If the damage is limited to a small crack or settlement of a few inches, then the repair process can be completed in as little as a day.

We recommend that homeowners be pro-active and schedule an inspection if you notice signs of movement. An evaluation can spot early signs of troubles before they evolve and require costlier and more time-consuming repairs.

When Do Projects Take Longer?

Multiple factors can prolong a project. Another scenario is a home with heavy foliage. The dense landscape may present obstacles and require a special workaround to ensure disturbance to the area is minimal. The scope (amount of piers needed) is the main determining factor to length of repair.

Additional Factors

Other unexpected complications can arise. If it suddenly rains, for instance, that can delay repairs until the weather clears. There have also been instances where we detect signs of a plumbing leak, which was a major contributor to the damage. In this scenario, the plumbing may have to be addressed before we can proceed further.

The same goes if a tree is present. The roots can grow beneath the foundation and may even be a cause of the damage. The roots may force technicians to work around it. If that’s not possible, then root removal may be required, which is a separate process and can add to the timeframe.

These factors can come into play and prolong the foundation repair timeline. However, more often than not, repairs go according to schedule and within the evaluator’s initial estimated duration. We do advise homeowners, though, to prepare for an additional day or two just in case an unexpected scenario comes up.

We Repair Foundations in North Texas

We will make every effort to complete the job in as short a time possible and keep home disruption to a minimum. However, we will absolutely be sure we do the job right. If you reside in the Dallas Fort Worth area, call Align Foundation Repair to schedule an evaluation. Remember, the sooner a problem is detected the better the chance of restoring your foundation quickly and with few if any complications. We can advise you as to the expected foundation repair length when we provide a free evaluation of your home. Call today to schedule an appoint with one of our qualified foundation experts.

How Can You Tell if You Have a Healthy Home Foundation?

The foundation is the base your home rests upon. It goes without saying that it’s hugely important, yet, it’s often overlooked because the structure itself is out of sight. There are signs that will let you know that you have a healthy home foundation and that the structure remains capable of supporting your house. If the concrete is in good condition, there should NOT be any:

  • Puddling water adjacent to the home perimeter
  • Doors and windows that do not open and close properly
  • New cracks or existing cracks getting larger on the wall, floor, or ceiling

Even if there are no obvious signs of foundation problems, there may still be lurking damage. You will have to explore deeper to detect the early warning signs.

Check for Pooling Water

We suggest an evaluation of the home exterior for pooling water around the border of the home. Water presence is not a sign of a healthy foundation; ponding water is absorbed by the soil, causing a continuous cycle of expansion and contraction. The soil essentially “heaves”. In turn, this causes the foundation to shift in its place; over time, this leads to the concrete fracturing and even completely splitting apart. This is especially an issue in the North Texas area because the soil in the region is heavily clay and loam-based. These elements are highly porous.

A healthy home foundation should have a functioning drainage system that prevents water from puddling too close to the home. If you see puddles lingering for extended periods following rain, then there may be a backup or other issue with your drain.

Evaluate the Landscape

A landscape rich in foliage substantially adds to the curb appeal. However, think twice before planting trees or shrubs too close to the home. The roots can expand meters in length and steal vital moisture which causes foundation settling. It can also burst an underground pipe, causing a leak that causes the aforementioned soil heaving.

If you want to add trees to your property, then consider this guide:

  • Trees 30-feet tall or less, keep at least 10-feet from home
  • Trees 70-feet tall or more: at least 30-feet from home
  • Trees between 30 and 70-feet, at least 20-feet from home

Cracks in the Home

We mentioned cracks earlier. Seeing a hairline fracture is no immediate cause for alarm, as this may simply be due to the home settling. However, if you see new fissures or existing ones expanding, then that may be signs of the foundation shifting.

We Inspect and Repair Home Foundations

We cannot overemphasize the importance of a healthy home foundation. If it begins shifting or breaking apart, the home itself will incur serious consequences. If you spot any of the signs of a compromised foundation, please give Align Foundation Repair a call and schedule your free evaluation and estimate.

Benefits of Steel Piling

Why Use Steel Piers for Your Foundation?

It goes without saying that a foundation needs to be exceptionally sturdy. After all, it needs to bear the entire weight of a building and do so for decades and amidst everchanging outdoor elements. Over time, the concrete will slowly but surely show signs of damage. Steel foundation piers are one form of repair recommended by Align Foundation Repair and for good reason. Steel piers have become a mainstay for both residences and commercial structures due to their proven reliability and ease of installation.

Why Steel Piers?

Steel piers provide a stable base for a foundation and re-elevate the concrete that has settled or sloped at an uneven angle. Steel piers also support extremely heavy structures, such as public bridges and multi-floor apartment complexes.

Steel piers mainly fall into one of two categories: push steel piers and helical steel piers.

  • Push Steel Piers – Consists of a set of hollow steel pipes driven into the soil using a hydraulic ram. The piers are driven way below to the depth of the load-bearing soil. Commonly used for supporting heavier loads.
  • Helical Steel Piers – This variant involves steel pipes with plates attached at the end. You can think of them as giant screws; unlike push piers, they are screwed in as opposed to being hydraulically driven into the soil.

The Steel Pier Advantage

Align Foundation Repair often recommends steel piers as a long-term solution for existing foundations. The reason becomes clear when you learn of its many advantages.

For one, steel piers are able to remain stable over time. The stability and sturdiness also make the piers suitable for most soil types. The soil conditions in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth region are heavily clay-based. Clay soil is often a problem for foundations because of their susceptibility to contraction and expansion from moisture absorption.

Long-Term Solution That Doesn’t Cost an Arm and a Leg

Despite the insertion of heavy steel piers, modern technology allows the process to be done without heavy digging or exhumation around your property. Costs are also affordable. Steel piers are the most recommended solution in the construction industry. The long-term results also minimize the odds of future foundation repair costs.

Entrust Foundation Repairs to Align Foundation Repair

Foundation damage is often gradual. You can and should take action before the damage gets worse. Action on your end should include a call to Align Foundation Repair. We will send a technician to assess the degree of damage and outline a solution. Contact us today to learn more about the many uses of steel piers and to reverse the impacts of a settling or sloping foundation.

Should I Remodel My Home or Do Foundation Repairs First?

Whether you just bought a fixer-upper or have lived in your existing home for years and want to refresh the space, we recommend a foundation inspection before beginning any remodeling work. If foundation repair is required, it should always take precedence over home renovations. Find out why.

Can Renovations Come Before Foundation Repairs?

As a general rule, you should always address structural issues before partaking in any remodeling work.

Foundation problems usually include concrete settling or sloping. As the problem gets worse over time, it can cause serious damage to parts of the home, such as the exterior’s brick masonry or the interior’s tile flooring.

There is also the chance that the faulty foundation can cause plumbing damage, such as pipe ruptures. With a remodeling first approach, you risk serious damage to a newly refurbished home.

Can you imagine watching in horror as that new marble countertop or maple hardwood floor is cracked just weeks within installation? Some homeowners have indeed experienced this and it’s disheartening. On top of that, they also incur additional costs from having to repair those recent remodeling components.

How to Prevent Damage to a Newly Renovated Home

A foundation inspection should be a part of your renovation plan. A North Texas foundation repair may be necessary if you detect any of the following:

  • Cracks in the walls or floors either in the exterior or interior
  • Cracks in glass, such as the windows and sliding doors
  • Windows and doors won’t fully open or shut, or require extra force to do so
  • A noticeable tilt in the floor
  • A split in the area where the wall and ceiling meet

Some of these symptoms can simply be due to an aging home and are actually what prompts homeowners to begin renovation in the first place. However, a foundation inspection is an assurance and prevents needless hassle, heartache, and additional repairs when everything should be complete.

We Evaluate and Inspect Foundations

Remember foundation repair for remodeling is not a strict requirement. However, it’s highly recommended because the consequences are far more disheartening and financially costly if repairs are done post renovation. If you have a remodeling planned, call Align Foundation Repair for an evaluation. We provide a free estimate should repairs be needed.

PVC Vs Corrugated Drain Pipe for French Drains

More homeowners in the North Texas region are investing in French drain installation to protect their foundation from the effects of ponding water. While an effective solution, not all French drains are created equal. Depending on the material and craftsmanship, some drains are prone to backups and accelerated wear. This is why pipe quality matters.

While landscapers use “non-rigid corrugated NDS pipes,” we use drainage grade PVC pipe because it is more durable and longer-lasting, especially when buried under heavy materials like soil. The corrugated pipe is cheaper but not nearly as strong. At your free drainage evaluation, a technician from Align Foundation Repair can demonstration how easily the corrugated pipe bends under pressure when compared with PVC pipe.

PVC and Corrugated Pipes at a Glance

French, channel, and surface drains typically consist of one of two materials: polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or corrugated pipes. Know which material is being used when having a drain installed on your property. We will state unequivocally right now that PVC is the far more durable material. We highly recommend it over corrugated pipes. Our stance is based on years of industry expertise. We have seen how these two materials hold up under prolonged exposure to the ever-shifting North Texas weather.

The Downside of Corrugated Pipes

Many contractors still use corrugated pipes. The material is cheaper, so homeowners save money in the initial installation. The issue with corrugated pipes is that it’s made of plastic. This is beneficial in one sense because the softer material makes it easier for producing joints, bends, and crests.

The problem is that these pipes are notoriously difficult to clean if a backup occurs. You cannot simply use an auger or plumbing snake to clear the debris because the rotating brush can easily tear through the thin plastic pipe.

PVC Pipes Provide Long-Lasting Durability

A PVC drainage pipe solves the main issue associated with corrugated pipes. PVC is a rigid structure made from synthetic plastic polymer. It will not rupture if exposed to a commercial-strength roto-rooter-type snake. This makes regular maintenance far simpler and more importantly, doable.

Furthermore, the pipe’s smooth interior surface reduces fluid friction and resistance to flow. This offsets sludge and slime build-up and reduces encrustation and tuberculation.

Contractors also prefer to work with a PVC French drain pipe. Despite its tough surface, it can easily be cut with a conventional handsaw. It’s also easier to set the pipes at the proper slope and keep it in place.

We Install High-Quality French Drains

The weather and soil conditions in the Northern Texas region make water too much of a risk factor for residential foundations. This is why French drains are an integral element for foundation longevity. While corrugated pipes have their place in some applications, PVC is the sound solution for a French pipe installation. At Align Foundation Repair, this is our go-to material for underground drainage systems.

Give us a call today for French drain PVC pipe repair and other services.

Pier and Beam Foundation Pros and Cons

In most of the South, including the Dallas metro area, there are two popular styles of foundations. Slab foundations are simply a solid concrete surface on which the house sits. Pier and beam foundations are a bit more complex. They feature piers of rebar and concrete that are anchored deep in the ground. Beams then connect the various piers and distribute the weight of the house. Whether you’re planning on building a house, in the market for a home, or make a living selling homes, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of pier and beam foundation design. Here’s a breakdown from the experts at Align Foundation Repair:

Pier and Beam Foundation Advantages

  • Stability Over Time: One of the main pier and beam foundation benefits is stability over time on loose soil. If you’re building on soft ground, or on soil that expands and contracts due to moisture, a slab foundation may shift. Since pier and beam designs are similar to building on stilts, they allow for a crawl space between the ground and your home. This means there will be little shift in your foundation as the years go by.
  • Easy Access to Utilities: Another perk of the crawl space between your home and the earth is easier access to utilities. If you want to add a bathroom, or rewire cable or electricity it will be a breeze with a pier and beam foundation.
  • Less Likely to Flood: Since pier and beam foundations are usually elevated approximately 2’ off the ground, they are less prone to minor or moderate flooding. If you live in a flood prone area, you may want to choose to build your home with a pier and beam foundation for this reason alone.

Pier and Beam Foundation Disadvantages

  • Vermin: Unwanted guests may try to make their home in the crawl space created by a pier and beam foundation. A lattice around your foundation can be an attractive way to keep larger animals out. Should you have an insect infestation, it’s best to call a professional exterminator.
  • Mold and Mildew: Moisture underneath a pier and beam foundation house can lead to mold and mildew buildups. This can cause an unpleasant odor in your home.
  • Creaky Floors: Floors built on pier and beam foundations are more likely to creak as you move around your home. While some noise is normal, it can be a sign of a larger problem.

If something seems off with your foundation, don’t hesitate to call a pro. Contact the pier and beam specialists at Align Foundation Repair today, and make sure your foundation stays strong for many years to come.