Foundation Repair Inspection Free Estimate

Reasons to Be Proactive with Home Foundation Repair

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

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

Why Being Proactive Is Important

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

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

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

How to Be Proactive

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

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

Be a Proactive Homeowner

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

French Drain Vs. Surface Drain

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

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

French Drain

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

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

Surface Drains

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

Which Is Better?

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

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

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

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

We Install Both Drain Types

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

Signs of a Drainage Problem

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

1. Overflowing Gutter

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

2. Musty Odors

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

3. Foundation Cracks

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

4. Bowing Floors

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

We Provide Drainage Solutions

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

French Drain Align Foundation Repair Garland

What Is a French Drain?

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

How Does a French Drain Work?

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

How are French Drains Installed?

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

Benefits of a French Drain

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

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

ceilings and Floors,fungus mold weathered wall

Unseen Effects of Water Damage on Your Foundation

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

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

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

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

Concrete Damage

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

Electrical Damage

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

Floorboards

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

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

Insulation

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

We Stop the Effects of Water Damage on Foundation

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

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

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

What Are Piles?

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

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

What Are Drill Piers?

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

Drilled Piers vs Piles: Comparison at a Glance

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

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

We Install Piers and Piles

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

Common Uses for Steel Piling

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

What Are Steel Pilings?

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

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

Other Special Considerations for Steel Pile Use

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

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

Steel piling is commonly used in:

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

Steel Piles Are Durable, Expedient, and Long-Lasting

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

 

Facts About Steel Pilings

Concrete is the most common type of pile we drive because it’s strong enough for most residential and commercial applications and also affordable. Yet, steel pilings have long been used to support foundations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area too. Here are a few steel piling facts you may not know.

Steel Pile Driving Equipment Has Been Around Since 1740.

Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem developed the first pile driving system, used in the creation of a harbor in Stockholm. The industrial revolution brought even more advances to the system, as steam and diesel-driven machines appeared. Today, the increase in heavy, multi-story buildings drives the need for steel piles.

Steel Pile Foundations Make The Impossible Possible.

As civilizations grew, so did the demand for housing and construction. Steel piles make it possible to build on expansive clay soils, create offshore structures, and produce everything from piers to bridge abutments over moving water. The steel piles reach down to stronger, sturdier soil and bedrock beneath the ground.

Piles Can Be Made of Multiple Materials.

In olden times, we relied on thick, straight tree trunks to use as piles where the ground was too weak to support our building structures. We still use wood today — in the construction of jetties. More often, we use steel or concrete piles. Concrete is particularly advantageous where there is abrasive soil. Steel is ideal for saving time and construction involving exceptionally heavy loads. Sometimes we use hollow steel piles filled with concrete to reinforce the strength of the structure.

Installing Steel-Pressed Piles Is Quick and Easy.

Though it sounds like a big production to press steel piles down into the ground using a large hydraulic ram, a professional can successfully complete a steel pile foundation job in as little as 1-2 days.

Contact Align Foundation Repair for your free estimate.

If you’re located in Texas, contact the family-owned-and-operated Align Foundation Repair for a free consultation. Our service area includes Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort-Worth, Frisco, Garland, Plano, and Richardson. We’re A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau, with nearly a decade of five-star service in the area. We offer a wide range of foundation materials and types of installations to keep you in budget. We get the job right the first time – and, as added peace of mind, we offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty on our workmanship as well.

 

The Benefits of Using Steel Piling

Whether you’re holding up a house, a high rise building, a bridge, or a water tank, long cylindrical pile supports can lend enough strength to support the weight of the building. In Texas, our soil tends to be clay-based and weak, which is why steel piling is so helpful. By connecting to the stronger soil or bedrock below, you won’t have to worry about heavier loads sinking into the ground. Piles can be made out of timber, composite, concrete, or steel, but steel piling is among our favorite materials to work with.

Benefits of Steel Piling

For most Dallas Fort Worth homes, the virtual indestructibility of steel makes it an attractive option.

Other advantages of steel piling include:

  • Resistance: Coated steel is resistant to moisture, rust corrosion, and deterioration. We find that steel piling succeeds where past foundations and repair efforts have failed.
  • Deeper point of refusal: Concrete can be built 12-40 feet down into the soil, while steel can be used at 22-75 feet into the soil. Because the steel piles are driven so deep, they shift around less with soil movement.
  • Time-tested solution: Because steel piles connect with the underlying bedrock or more compacted soils further below ground, they are not as influenced by the soil movement as other foundation piers.
  • Environmentally friendly: The process of hydraulically driving steel piers into the ground requires minimal excavation, so there is less disturbance to the surrounding landscape.
  • Can overcome site inadequacies: Sites with heavier-than-normal loads, excess moisture, or horizontal underground forces can still be built upon with a steel pile foundation.
  • Speed: New advances in steel piling get the job done 4x faster. Even large-scale commercial steel piling projects can be done with a crew of three people in just five days. Most jobs are completed even quicker.
  • Easy to warranty: Steel piling comes with some of the best industry warranties, like 150+ years of rust warranty coverage. Often, you will receive a transferable lifetime warranty, which increases the value of your structure.

Are there any drawbacks to steel piling?

The only potential downside of steel piling is that the cost is higher. The manufacturing and installation equipment cost more, which trickles down the food chain to the consumer. For large commercial projects, that can be a real deal-breaker. If your soil isn’t very deep or you’re not staying in your house much longer, you may not want to invest in steel piling. Concrete supports can still provide a good deal of strength for more shallow repairs.

Align Foundation Repair offers steel piling and more.

Here at Align Foundation Repair, we understand that foundation repair can cost a sizable chunk of money that everyone doesn’t have just laying around. With our financing program, you can enjoy 0% / same-as-cash for up to a year, with no down-payment and monthly bills as low as $125/month. Contact us for a free assessment of your residential or commercial structure. We do both concrete and steel piling, pier and beam and drilled pier, so we can offer a custom solution that best meets your needs. Our expert installation team can have a steel pile foundation installed on your job site in days.

 

When Is the Best Time of Year to Fix Your Foundation?

Is there an ideal season for scheduling a foundation repair? It comes down to the type and degree of damage. If severe, then the house may require repairs ASAP regardless of the time of year. However, if the repairs can wait, then it may be to your advantage to hold it off until a certain season or month arrives.

Why Time of Year Matters

Foundational damage is often the cause of shifting and expanding soil. Soil shifting is heavily influenced by weather and humidity. This means foundation damage is more likely to occur during certain times of the year, though homeowners may not notice signs of damage until months or years down the line. The accumulative effects of the damage may also occur over a span of multiple seasons.

Winter

Winter encompasses the months of December through February. In many cases, winter is the best time for repairs due to the colder temperatures and minimal rainfall. The relatively dry weather creates stable soil conditions. However, this is also when homeowners are less likely to schedule a repair. The reason is twofold.

First, stable soil conditions mean less foundation settling. Signs of damage are less apparent, meaning homeowners are less likely to sense urgency. Second, homeowners prefer not to have work done on their home during the hectic holiday season, especially in December.

Spring

Spring is when repair work is often done. This is because homeowners recognize signs of damage as they are scheduling renovations. Cracks may also manifest in spring as clay soils begin to expand.

Summer

This is when soil contraction reaches its peak due to the humidity and summer rainfall. Foundation settling becomes highly apparent. Like winter, however, homeowners may hesitate to schedule summer repairs due to vacation plans.

Fall

Summers in the Garland, TX, area tend to bleed into fall, so you get a lot of the same hot weather, especially in early autumn. This means much of the same noticeable foundation settling. Some homeowners also prefer fall for repairs since they have no immediate vacation plans.

When Is the Best Time for Foundation Repair in Garland, TX?

Ultimately, regardless of season, the best time for foundation structural repairs is whatever timeframe is dictated by the damage to your foundation. That may be ASAP, when weather permits, or until next season. In any case, it comes down to the extent of the repair work necessary and whether it can wait or requires immediate attention. Contact Align Foundation Repair to learn more about our foundation repair services in Garland, Texas.