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.

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.

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.

How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?

Questions about home foundation repair costs in North Texas? In some ways, it is like asking how much a car cost. So many factors are in play regarding the extent of the damage, the cause of the damage, and the methods needed to repair the foundation. The best we can do is give you a ballpark range, which can be as low as $500 or upwards of $10,000. Most repairs fall somewhere in between. Let’s examine some of the variables that affect the cost.

Pier Count

One repair method includes concrete or steel pier installation that repositions the foundation. The number of piers needed depends on how much of the slab is imported. Most foundation repair services go by the guidelines set forth by the Foundation Performance Association (FPA) for determining the number of piers needed. Pier installation costs around $300 to $800 per pier. For most residential repairs, concrete piers suffice. Concrete is cheaper than steel and usually falls within the lower end of the price range.

Some companies may ignore the FPA guidelines and save money by placing fewer piers set further apart. While this may reduce cost in the short-term, in the long-term it can lead to the foundation gradually settling.

Additional Variables

Factors aren’t just limited to the method required. The foundation size matters as well. Bigger homes have a larger foundation encompassing a greater area that needs to be treated. In addition, foundation damage may also damage the floor, walls, and ceiling in the process. These areas must be restored as well.

Homes that sit above a crawl space may also incur additional costs. As a safety precaution, contractors may need to replace the existing wooden beams to ensure a secure operation. Also, if the crawl space is too small for a crew to work out of, additional space may need to be created, which adds to the overall labor and cost.

Contact Align Foundation Repair

We suggest calling Align Foundation Repair the minute you notice irregularities in the floor, walls, or ceiling, all of which may point to a compromised foundation. We provide a free foundation repair cost estimate for services requiring concrete lifting or pier installation. Routine inspections will prevent repairs that run in the higher end of the average price range.

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.

Foundation Repair Industries Served

Whether residential or commercial, all buildings require periodic inspection to determine the condition of the foundation. We serve multiple industries across the Dallas, TX, area regardless of foundation type.

Industries we service:

Single Family Rental and Rehab 

  • We work with investors who own anywhere from one house to 1000
  • Special pricing available
  • We understand how investment properties work and have ongoing relationships with well over 200 investors in the DFW area

Multifamily Investing 

  • We have experience working with owners of one complex, as well as owners that have large portfolios
  • We provide a very in-depth inspection, so the ownership can feel comfortable they are covering their concerns properly
  • Concrete raising at apartments – save thousands as opposed to concrete grinding and replacement

Realtors 

  • We have built strong, long-lasting relationships with many realtors in DFW
  • Fast inspections times
  • Members of North Texas Association of Realtors (have Supra Access)

Homeowners 

  • Very in-depth inspection
  • Professional on time inspectors
  • Clean crews in company trucks

Homeowners

Our primary clients make up of residential homeowners in the Dallas and greater area. This includes owners of single to multi-floor homes, condos, town houses, properties part of a homeowner’s association, etc. We conduct a comprehensive inspection and report our findings to the homeowner without using complex industry jargon. Inspections are noninvasive with minimal disruption to the homeowner and adjacent neighbors. Proactive home repair ensures dwellings are on par with local ordinance.

Government-Owned Property

This includes state-level buildings, such as schools, hospitals, city halls, etc. Foundation inspections are vital to ensure these facilities are safe to occupy for the public and employees. We regularly inspect facilities owned and operated by state government. As they are the entity that establishes building code protocol, they have to ensure their own facilities are up to standards.

Realtors

We regularly work with real estate agents. Some are regular clients of ours, and they have come to trust us for our timely and trustworthy inspections. Several of the agents we serve include members of the North Texas Association of Realtors. Inspections ensure homes are in sellable condition and that homeowners sell their property at the maximum possible value. We perform DFW foundation repairs at the behest of realtors, brokers, and valuators to ensure the property is ready for the market.

Investors

We serve numerous investors, house flippers, etc. We cover multiple foundation repair service areas. We have established relationships with Dallas-based investors that invest in upwards of 1,000+ homes. This category also includes landlords who operate multiple apartment complexes and multi-housing communities. We perform concrete raising on apartments and provide a safe living environment for the hundreds of tenants that reside in renting accommodations. At present, we have established working relationships with over 200 property investors and their staff.

Our Client Profile Is Diverse

As you can see, the DFW foundation repair industries we serve are far-reaching and go well beyond homeowners and business owners. Regardless of which industry or category you fall under, call Align Foundation Repair if you require a foundation inspection. Periodic surveying ensures the foundation is up to building code.

Pro Tips to Take Care of Your Home Foundation in the Summer

Though out of sight, the foundation is what maintains your home’s structural integrity. However, it is not immune to the passage of time. Over the years, many hot summers contribute to the gradual wear and tear. This makes foundation protection all the more critical for ensuring longevity.

The Implications of Summer Heat on Residential Foundations

The North Texas regions are known for blistering hot and dry summers. This is often accompanied by extended periods of drought. This dries the soil, causing the foundation to settle and ultimately develop cracks and splits. Once the summer ends and rainfall begin in the ensuing seasons, the water makes its way inside the cracks and finds its way in your home.
We suggest Texas homeowners follow these summer foundation maintenance tips outlined below to offset preventable damage.

Water the Foundation

The first care tip is to water the soil around the foundation during periods of dry weather. This sounds unusual, especially since puddling water around the foundation can cause long-term damage. However, during hot summers, watering the soil helps it maintain moisture. Use an automatic sprinkler or soaker hose. Begin doing this at the onset of dry conditions without regular rain. This prevents the soil from drying and cracking but doesn’t cause it to become too damp or muddy.

Drainage

Balance is the key; the soil should be neither too wet or too dry. Prevent water from pooling around the home’s perimeter. Be sure gutter spouts point at least five feet away from the perimeter. The property grounds should also be slightly sloped, so water drips away from the home. Consult with Align Foundation Repair for the installation of a French drain.

Mulch the soil

Provide ample mulch over the soil. Mulch shields the soil from heat and helps it retain its moisture. We suggest using natural mulch, such as pine and wood or bark chips. The mulch should be two to four inches thick and not touch the home directly.

Landscaping

Trees and shrubs have extensive roots that suck water from the soil. If you plan on planting additional trees or shrubs, plant them several feet from the home. Also, consider drought resistant shrubs.

We Care for Your Home Foundation Year-Round

Beyond basic care on your end, be sure to contact Align Foundation Repair for a more robust inspection and repair services if need be. Knowing how to care for your home foundation is essential for the long-term stability and resale value of your house. Call us today for a free evaluation of your foundation’s integrity and repair estimate.

Spot Foundation Problems

Foundation Problems vs. Foundation Settling: What Is the Difference?

Many customers ask us about the difference between foundation problems vs. settling. Foundations can be constructed in many different ways using piers, spread footings, and pilings, but most homes in Texas are made of concrete poured on steel. Sometimes the foundation settles and remains sturdy for years to come. Other times, foundation problems develop that require immediate attention. A good foundation does more than just hold your house above the ground. It also insulates against the cold, keeps moisture out, and holds fast against the movement of the earth around it.

Our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas cover Plano, Garland, Arlington and more. Call us today for a free estimate!

What Is Settling?

“House settling” is a term used to describe natural wear-and-tear of a foundation over time. It’s normal for homes to sink a bit further down into the ground, no matter how well a foundation has been constructed – especially given the climate and soil type of Texas.

Over-excavating and inadequate back-filling can result in some settling, but the biggest contributor is the natural expansion and contraction of the soil. As the clay in our soil gets exposed to cycles of moisture and dryness, some shifting and compacting will inevitably occur.

Roughly one-quarter of all homes in America are affected by this type of settling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of these homes will be okay, but an estimated 10 percent of these homes will experience severe foundation issues as a result. The rates of occurrence are much higher in the DFW area.

House Settling vs. Foundation Problems

Signs of house settling that do NOT necessarily indicate foundation problems include the following.  If you see any of these, do not hesitate to call as it could also be a foundation issue.

  • You observe thin, hairline cracks, less than 1/4 inch wide.
  • Tiny cracks appear in an L-shaped section of foundation or in the mortar between blocks.
  • The cracks in your home do not appear to be growing longer or wider.
  • There are no other warning signs besides a few cracks here and there.

Do You Have A Faulty Foundation?

It can be hard to believe, but brand-new homes sometimes end up with foundation failures within the first five years. We see this a lot of times when a home was built during a particularly rainy season when the soil is as swollen as it can get, followed by a period of extreme drought, where clay can retract, causing the house to plummet up to five inches within a few months.

Sometimes a home has undiagnosed issues caused by plumbing problems, over-watering plants, or improper sloping and drainage away from the foundation. Contractors can contribute to foundation failure when they rush the curing of the concrete, interrupt the concrete pouring process, or have not firmly tamped down the soil before adding the concrete.

You can tell it is foundation problems vs. settling when:

  • There are wide cracks, greater than ¼ inch in width, or bulging walls.
  • You note jagged cracks running from the foundation at a 45-degree angle.
  • The doors and windows of your home are sticking for no apparent reason.
  • The top story of your home exhibits cracks above door and window frames.
  • There are stair-stepping cracks in the brick veneer of your home.

Worried About Foundation Problems or Settling in Dallas, Tx?

Contact Align Foundation Repair to discuss your concerns about possible Dallas foundation problems. A foundation specialist from our family-run business would be happy to come out and take a look, free of charge. We are an A+ Better Business Bureau rated service offering a full range of foundation improvement services to suit your needs and budget.

 

Foundation Repair Tips

Do Your Homework: Know a Home’s Foundation Before Buying

The Big D is home to beautiful multi-million dollar mansions, quaint little bungalows, and everything in between. Just as styles of homes in Dallas vary widely, so can their foundations. It’s critical to distinguish between different types of home foundations so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next house.

If you’re looking to buy a new home in Dallas, or you’ve ever just been super interested in home construction in the area, here’s a quick guide to understanding the various home foundation types found throughout Texas.

Poured Concrete Slab Foundations

Simple and cost-effective, this is a top choice of many builders because it’s quick. This method became popular as a result of the housing boom in America post-World War II and builders sought an efficient means to accommodate the demand.  Poured concrete slab foundations are still commonly used today because of their overall versatility.

The process goes like this: before pouring the cement, topsoil is removed, and if well-drained conditions are not present, a layer of gravel is added to the lot. Also, to create a durable, lasting foundation, builders will reinforce the area with steel bars (also called “rebar’) and a welded wire mesh. Despite their best efforts, over time, slabs can buckle, shift, and crack, due to the ground conditions, extreme weather, or geological events.

Finally, before pouring the cement, electrical and plumbing systems are installed and encased in the concrete. If you’re planning on doing any renovations, this can create a problem, so when buying a home make sure the foundation type matches your future plans.

Pier and Beam Foundations

Before the 1960s, most homes possessed another type of foundation, pier and beam foundations (also called “post and beam foundations”). In this case, a home’s treated floor is raised about a foot-and-a-half off the ground, resting on a several concrete “piers” or blocks connected with pressure-treated wooden beams and wooden joists, creating a subfloor for the dwelling.

Similar to a poured concrete foundation, plumbing and electrical systems are underneath the home. However, due to the crawl space that results from this type of construction, if one of these systems should require attention, they are much more accessible to plumbers and electricians.

Deterioration is one of the most prevalent problems with pier and beam construction. Wood decomposition occurs over time, even with pressure-treated lumber. Replacements can be costly. The threat of vermin infestation is ever-present: termites, insects, rodents, and small animals frequently make their nests in crawl spaces. While rare in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, freezing temperatures can affect exposed pipes, causing them to burst, leading to flooding.

Frame Foundations

This very old technique is very rarely used today. The foundation consists of framed lumber that is supported by many different types of piers at varying intervals. Most frame homes were built during times when building codes did not exist. Hence, homes right next to each other could be built in very different ways, with different underlying structures. You will find these homes mostly in historic areas and areas built before 1940.

Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Whichever type of foundation supports your new home, problems can arise and must be addressed immediately to protect your investment. For a comprehensive, no-cost foundation evaluation, contact Align Foundation Repair and ensure your peace of mind. We specialize in pier and beam foundation repair, as well as all other foundation repair services in Dallas-Fort Worth.