Foundation Repair Company

Do Cracks in Drywall Mean My Foundation Needs Fixing?

The signs of foundation problems are subtle at first. They begin with small cracks in drywall, which many homeowners try to patch before calling a Dallas, TX foundation repair specialist. Waiting too long leads to limited options for repair and much higher costs. If you notice a crack in the wall that wasn’t there before, take a good look at how it’s positioned, how big it is, and whether it seems to be expanding. Even if it looks minor, calling an expert for a free estimate lets you know for sure, without costing you anything.

When drywall cracks, foundation problems could be the cause

Houses naturally shift and settle, causing cracks to appear. When the soil fails to support the weight of your home, the foundation may settle unevenly. It is more common for houses to shift in dramatic ways when they’re built upon loose clay soil, as in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Homes that are experiencing significant settling have gaps affecting window function, walls that are not of equal height, and large, widespread cracking. Foundation damage cracks in drywall will only worsen with time if not addressed, putting the structural integrity of your home in jeopardy.

Do cracks in drywall mean foundation problems every time?

Before you panic, realize that narrow drywall cracks don’t necessarily indicate foundation problems. Without calling a professional, you won’t know for sure, but your own observations can be helpful. Here’s what to look for:

  • Is the drywall crack big? If the crack is wider than 1/8th of an inch, that’s cause for concern.
  • Is the drywall crack horizontal or angled? Minor house shifting causes vertical cracks. A shifting foundation can be powerful enough to cause horizontal or diagonal cracks that are harder to fill and putty over.
  • Is the drywall crack widening? Call us right away if a crack is wide enough to fit a dime inside or if one end of the crack is noticeably wider than the other.
  • Are the cracks near windows and doors? When the cracks you notice in your drywall and sheetrock are near the windows and doors, that’s another cause for concern. Shifting foundations cause window frames and door frames to change shape, cracking the walls nearby. Try opening and closing the windows and doors. When the windows stick in their frames, or when the doors don’t close all the way, that’s another indicator of foundation damage.
  • Do you see stair-stepping? Brick veneers with cracks that appear in a stair-step formation are cause for concern. Vertical cracks along a straight mortar joint could indicate seasonal movement, which is less concerning. A professional opinion would be helpful in either case.

Any one of these problems could indicate that you have foundation damage and need to call a professional to have your foundation examined.

What causes cracks in dry wall besides damaged foundation?

One of the first questions people ask foundation experts is: “What causes cracks in drywall?” Obviously, homeowners want to know how the situation occurred and what they can do to prevent further damage. There are many causes of foundation wall cracks – each with their own unique solution. We are equipped to assist with drywall cracks caused by:

  • Seasonal changes: As the seasons change, the wood in your walls and foundation (pier and beam) expands and contracts, which also causes minor drywall cracks. Expansive soils contract when dry, and expand when moist, potentially putting thousands of pounds of pressure on your walls. Some walls will buckle, fall, or end up beyond repair if not corrected.
  • Post-construction shrinkage: Wood frames may dry and shrink within the first year, producing vertical and horizontal cracking on walls. Occasionally we see this when the builder has used a poor or rushed finishing technique. One repair is usually enough to fix the problem permanently.
  • Curing Concrete: Concrete walls often develop small cracks during the curing process. These fissures are perfectly normal and no cause for alarm unless they begin to elongate, widen, or are greater than 1/16th of an inch.

How to address drywall cracks that keep coming back

Foundation repair is the best solution for drywall cracks that keep coming back. We offer many different solutions for drywall cracks and damaged foundations, depending on your unique situation. Pier and beam solutions are designed to prop your home up further away from shifting soils. A drainage solution moves excess moisture away from your home and foundation.

Call Align Foundation Repair, a family-run Dallas-Fort Worth company

Though vertical cracks in your drywall are less concerning, don’t assume that any cracks in your walls are safe. Not all cracks in your drywall or sheetrock indicate foundation damage, but calling a Fort Worth, TX foundation repair expert for a free assessment is the best way to ensure your foundation is healthy. We offer many affordable solutions, as well as zero-interest loan programs to help you protect your home sooner rather than later.

 

Concrete Crack Repair

Buying a House? Check the Foundation First

The foundation of a home is something you probably don’t think a lot about until there are problems with it. However, a home’s foundation is an especially important thing to inspect before you make such a large purchase. Skipping a foundation inspection could mean you’ll deal with costly and inconvenient repairs down the line.

Although it’s not possible to safeguard against trouble in every circumstance, there are several things you can do to give the foundation a thorough evaluation before forking over your hard-earned cash. Want the opinion of an experienced professionals? Homebuyers and real estate brokers in the Fort Worth, TX area rely on Align Foundation Repair to uncover hidden structural problems in homes for sale.

Checking for Cracks

Walk around the perimeter of any house you’re thinking of buying, and closely inspect the foundation wall. Although you can’t diagnose foundation problems from cracks alone, they could warn that the conditions are ripe for more severe structural problems.

If the foundation has concrete walls, hairline cracks usually aren’t serious. However, if they are larger, it’s possible that the builders didn’t use metal reinforcement bars when laying the foundation.

If you notice any of the following foundation issues, call Align Foundation Repair to inspect the structural integrity of the home:

  • Cracks in the middle of the foundation
  • Vertical cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom
  • Cracks that are wider than a quarter inch
  • Drywall, window, and other problems

Inspecting the windows and doors

Don’t purchase a home before inspecting how every element functions. Open and close all of the windows and doors, and see whether any of them stick or otherwise fail to fit in the frames well. Doors and windows that don’t close properly might just be a flaw in installation, or they could indicate foundation damage.

Additionally, look for cracks in the interior walls near doors and windows. In most cases, these will be normal, hairline shrinkage cracks. Cracks that are wide, and those that look like they are growing, should be checked out before making a purchase.

Weighing the Risks

As should now be clear, certain kinds of foundation problems are riskier than others. When deciding whether the benefits are worth the risks, always find out how much it would cost to repair the present problems. Have a Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair professional assess the issues that you see.

Align Foundation Repair, LLC is built on a sturdy foundation of core values, including our unbeatable commitment to quality workmanship and our friendly customer service. Before you purchase a home in the DFW area that might have foundation problems, get in touch with us to request a free estimate. Call our Dallas office any time at 214.710.2555 or email us at info@AlignFoundation.com. Happy house hunting!

Cracked Concrete Align Foundation Repair

How Do Droughts Affect My Foundation?

Droughts have an obvious effect on the surface of your yard. Your lawn can turn brown, and your outdoor gardens can look starved for moisture. But what might be happening underground? Find out how droughts can affect your home’s foundation.

Drought Causing Foundation Problems

How does dry climate impact the physical structure of the home? During a drought, the soil becomes compact. This is especially true with clay-based soils.

As the soil compacts, it decreases in mass, causing the foundation to settle into the newly empty space. While foundation settling is natural, a drought causes this to occur at an accelerated rate. Even worse, the settling may not be evenly dispersed, leading to structural issues. If soil compaction is severe, this can result in a noticeable slope on one side of the structure.

Ramifications of Drought-Induced Damage

Uneven settling causes the foundation to shift. Slopes in the foundation can also cause visible cracks in the walls and siding. If you intend on selling your home, foundation repair may be required if an inspection verifies damage.

Signs of Foundation damage

It was as recently as 2011 that Texas experienced its worst-ever drought. If another drought hits the Dallas-Fort Worth area, homeowners should be on the lookout for these signs of damage:

  • Visible cracks in the wall, siding, crown molding, or plaster
  • Doors and windows may no longer shut properly
  • Cracks or noticeable separation in any existing brickwork. Cracks may appear right on the bricks or along the mortar joints.
  • A noticeable slope in the first level of the home
  • Water in the crawl space or around the home perimeter

Since home sinking and settling occurs gradually, you should take notes, photograph the foundation, and document specific signs.

Cracks in the drywall upstairs and gaps in the trim are also signs of problems. If you discover your home is sinking or settling unevenly, you may find windows and doors difficult to open, because the frames are no longer square.

If you think your home is settling unevenly, use the marble test. Place a marble in the middle of a floor and watch how quickly it rolls away. If it moves rapidly toward a wall, call Align for a professional evaluation.

Prevent Soil Shrinkage

You can prevent drought-induced soil shrinkage by watering the ground around your foundation. First, dig down into the soil about six inches, at a distance of 6-12 inches from your foundation. If you feel the soil is completely dry, allow water from a soaker hose to moisten the soil. While you don’t want to flood the earth, a gentle soaking will prevent the supporting earth from shrinking away from your home’s foundation.

Drought Damage in Dallas? Call on Align Foundation Repair

Since 2000, up to 70% of U.S. lands have experienced abnormally dry conditions, according to the EPA. Furthermore, according to the Texas Water Resources Institute, the state experienced its driest period ever recorded in September 2011.

The consequences of a drought extend way beyond brown grass and poor crop yield. Extremely dry weather also leads to home foundation issues.

When rain becomes scarce and your area shows signs of drought stress, watch for problems with your home’s foundation. By staying vigilant, you can avoid major foundation cracks due to drought. If you’re not sure how bad the damage is, contact the Dallas foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair for a free inspection and estimate. We are a family-owned and operated drainage solution and foundation repair company serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We always put the customer first and stand behind our work with a Lifetime Warranty!

Landscaping and Foundation Repair

7 Landscaping Tips That Will Protect Your Foundation

Come spring, homeowners’ attention naturally turns to landscaping. While plants and trees can improve the appearance, value, and appeal of your home, if done properly with some foresight, landscaping around your house foundation can actually protect your investment.

The pros at Align Foundation Repair recommend that before you head to the nursery or home improvement store, you should consider the following tips first. This will ensure that your design will not lead to unwanted foundation damage, which could lead to costly repair.

Checklist for Landscaping Around House Foundations

Here are seven tips for proper landscaping around foundations:

  1. Plant trees away from the foundation. The root systems of trees can be as large as the branch systems above the ground and can grow under your foundation, causing damage and bringing unwanted moisture seeking roots.
  2. Make sure you leave some of the foundation exposed. It may be unsightly, but it’s important to leave a few inches visible so you can inspect it regularly and make sure that it’s not buried in moisture.
  3. Watch out for drains or outlets. If there is a drain in your yard, it’s there for a good reason. Covering it with plants can restrict drainage which contributes to foundation damage.
  4. Improve your gutter system. Use gutter extensions to push water at least five feet away from your foundation. Underground downspouts can be installed to carry water further out. Gutters should be cleared of dirt and leaves; clogged gutters lead to excess water, overflow, and pooling water. Also, check for any holes, gap, or leaks while cleaning your gutters.
  5. Mulch your flower beds. Mulch retains moisture and will be beneficial to your plants and your foundation in the summer months by preventing the soil around your property from becoming too dry. Exceedingly dry soil can harm your foundation by causing movement.
  6. Make sure flower beds slope away from your foundation. It is critical to check the grade on your Dallas, Fort Worth property and landscaping to make sure water can’t pool around your house. We recommend having a 9-10” drop for the first ten feet around your home to keep moisture from accumulating under your foundation (a slope about 3-5% away from your foundation). Without a proper slope, your foundation can experience erosion.
  7. Water evenly in non-landscape areas. If only one section of the yard is landscaped, the soil on that side will expand because it’s likely to be watered more often. Soil expansion can lead to foundation cracks so it’s best to water your property uniformly. The expansive clay soil in the Dallas, Fort Worth area affects landscaping and you should protect your foundation from issues like increases in moisture or too little water. Use deep-rooted plants; shallow-rooted plants could erode over a short period of time.

Talk to the Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Choose Dallas foundation repair experts you can trust. If you would like more tips for landscaping around house foundations in Dallas, or you’re concerned that your foundation may be damaged, call Align Foundation Repair today.  We can schedule a free inspection and give you even more advice on landscaping, maintenance, and foundation repair in Dallas-Fort Worth.