Avoid These 4 Common Home Foundation Mistakes

As a busy homeowner, keeping tabs on the state of your foundation may not always rank highest on your list of priorities. When it comes to the structural integrity of your home, however, knowing which common oversights to avoid can help protect you from big – and expensive – problems down the road. Based on our decades of experience as a top-rated contractor for foundation repair services in the Plano area, Align Foundation Repair presents four of the most common home foundation mistakes that can put your house at risk.

Mistake #1: Failing to properly water your landscaping

What does landscaping have to do with your foundation?

Quite a bit, actually, especially if you have trees or shrubs growing close to your home. That’s because plants get their water by drawing it out of the nearby soil, making it drier in the process.

Yet your foundation relies on a balance of moisture to remain stable and strong. Dirt that’s bone-dry provides less of this essential support.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem. Simply water your outdoor plants and shrubs on a regular basis. This will help them to stay healthy and beautiful while protecting your foundation as well.

Mistake #2: Renovating your home without checking the foundation first

The average American household spends almost $8000 a year on home improvements of one kind or another. This is great for the economy, of course. But certain types of residential projects can damage your foundation. This is especially true with renovations that add more weight to your home.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a local foundation repair services company check things out before you start a major home improvement project. Otherwise, the renovation may end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for.

Mistake #3: Leaving erosion problems uncorrected

Gutters and grading are two of the most essential, yet most overlooked, ways to protect your foundation here in North Texas.

This goes back to the point we mentioned earlier about the soil around your home. The less of it there is, the more stress is put on your foundation. And nothing erodes soil faster than swiftly flowing water.

Stagnant water left after a downpour can weaken your foundation as well. For these reasons, we urge all homeowners to keep their property graded and have their gutters cleaned at least twice a year. The money you invest will more than pay for itself in the years to come.

Mistake #4: Ignoring existing foundation problems

When home foundations are in trouble, there are usually many indicators. Some of the most common things to look for are cracks along your home’s perimeter, doors that are hard to open or close, and floors that sag or buckle. If you notice any of these problems, call a qualified DFW foundation repair contractor right away.

Get peace of mind about your home’s foundation

Here at Align Foundation Repair, we help homeowners all across the Dallas-Fort Worth area by providing quality service at a price they can afford. We offer references, and our work is guaranteed. Check our DFW foundation repair locations and call us today for your free, no-obligation quote.

Five Things You Should Know About Foundation Repair

For homeowners in need of foundation repair advice from trusted experts in the field, Align Foundation Repair has prepared answers to five of the most common questions about this important topic. We hope this information helps you to make an informed decision about your own foundation repair needs.

How can I know when my home needs foundation repair?

Here are five warning signs to look for:

  1. Cracks or gaps in the foundation itself.
  2. Interior doors scraping the floor or being hard to close.
  3. A leaning chimney.
  4. Windows sticking or cracking.
  5. Floors that are no longer level.

Contact a local foundation repair company right away if you notice any of these problems. The sooner you act, the sooner your home will be back to its old self.

What does the foundation repair process involve?

The first step is to verify that a problem actually exists. This calls for a thorough inspection performed by a structural engineer or reputable contractor.

Assuming the foundation is in trouble, most repair techniques use either concrete piers or steel pilings to achieve a long term solution.

This process typically takes no more than a day or two. When it’s all over, you can go about your life as normal, knowing that the problem has been corrected.

How much does foundation repair cost?

Only after evaluating the state of your foundation can a qualified expert at Align Foundation Repair give you an estimate for repair costs. But here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Our foundation repair services will cost much less than leaving the problem unaddressed: Over time, the damage to your home will grow steadily worse, eventually requiring extensive – and expensive – work throughout your residence.
  2. Financing is available: Through a variety of sources, including home equity loans and credit cards.
  3. Our quotes are always free: There’s absolutely no cost or obligation to find out what’s wrong with your foundation. At the very least, you’ll know exactly what’s going on and what needs to be done.

Should I make any special preparations prior to the repair work?

Before foundation repair work on the home begins, we recommend that our clients take a few simple, basic steps:

  • Remove books and other items from your shelves: You can replace these items as soon as the repair work is over.
  • Take down any pictures or artwork from your walls: Otherwise, they may fall to the floor and suffer damage.
  • Cover your furnishings with blankets or tarps: As a precautionary measure, since sometimes the foundation repair process may stir up a small amount of dust inside the home.

Repairing a bad foundation occasionally requires work inside the residence itself. In such cases we may ask you to temporarily move items such as throw rugs or other objects. This will allow our technicians to complete their tasks without damaging your belongings.

How do I find a foundation repair company I can trust?

How do you find the right foundation repair company serving the Plano area or other communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth region? Here are some key things to look for:

  • A strong track record: For example, our company has been providing quality foundation repair services for over 10 years, a fact that speaks for itself.
  • An ironclad commitment to customer satisfaction: We happily provide references from past and current clients. Their feedback will tell you right away if we’re worthy of your business.
  • A contractor that services your community: We have a wide range of DFW foundation repair service areas across North Texas.

Don’t let foundation problems rob you of your comfort and peace of mind. Call Align Foundation Repair today to schedule your free quote.

Tips for Preparing Your Household for Foundation Repair

Repairing a damaged home foundation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area requires a little prep work ahead of time. But the benefits you’ll enjoy will make the effort more than worthwhile.

Read on for time-tested foundation repair preparations that will effectively prevent any damage to your home or possessions while work is carried out.

Preparing your home for foundation repair

Steps to prepare your home for foundation repair include:

  • Moving objects away from the perimeter of your home: Such as trash cans, ladders, lawn equipment, outdoor ornaments, potted plants, etc.
  • Removing fragile items from indoor shelves, walls, and tables: Including picture frames, statuettes, and vases.
  • Covering furniture with blankets, drop cloths, or tarps: Otherwise, the repair process may cause a small amount of airborne dust to settle on your furnishings.
  • Securing book or knickknack shelves to the surrounding wall: To prevent them from possibly falling over.

Circumstances that might merit special attention

In some cases, the foundation repair process may require a bit more prep work. Examples include:

  • When interior underpinnings are needed: In such cases, it might be a good idea to remove rugs or carpeting from the affected rooms.
  • When the property contains a hot tub or large deck: It may be necessary to cover or reinforce these items prior to beginning foundation work.
  • When plumbing or electric lines run through a concrete slab foundation: We may need to temporarily disconnect or reconfigure these connections.

We’ll perform a thorough inspection of your home to determine if any of these added steps are needed.

Crossing other items off your to-do list

A visit from our foundation repair services technicians is a perfect opportunity to accomplish some of your other home improvement goals, including:

  • Redoing your landscaping: Been wanting to give your outdoor flowers or shrubs a dazzling new look? This might be the chance you’ve been waiting for.
  • Grading your property: Ensuring a gentle grade away from your home will protect your newly repaired foundation from future damage.
  • Renovating a shed or other outbuilding: Thinking of transforming your storage shed into a home office or studio? A visit from our foundation repair company may be the ideal time to turn this dream into a reality.

Call for Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair

A home foundation is only as good as the ground that supports it. Shifting soil or changes in weather can damage the concrete slab or set of piers that your house rests upon.

When your residence is at risk from a settling foundation, it’s good to know that the North Texas technicians at Align Foundation Repair are here to help. As a top-rated foundation repair company serving Plano and the entire DFW region, we’ll diagnose the cause of the problem and apply the correct solutions.

Homeowners in our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas are invited to get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation and quote.

Some, all or none of these preparations may be needed. Contact Align for specific details for your home.

Why Soil Pulls Away From a Foundation During Summer

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

What Causes Soil to Pull Away?

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

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

Is Soil Pulling Away in Your Home?

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

What Do You Do?

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

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

Call Align Foundation Repair for a Foundation Inspection

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

Digging for Drainage Repair

What Foundation Repair Methods Does Align Foundation Repair Use?

No single repair method applies to all foundation situations. At Align Foundation Repair, we only utilize tried and proven procedures effective for dealing with the type of foundation damage that is commonplace in the North Texas region. This includes:

  • Concrete/steel piling
  • Drilled piers
  • Pier and beam repair
  • Drainage systems

Let’s examine each of these more in-depth and learn when each is needed.

Concrete and Steel Piling

Concrete piling is the most common method used for North Texas residences. The pile is hydraulically driven in place and may be reinforced with steel bars. The piling helps transfer and distribute the weight of the house.

Steel piling is typically reserved for commercial facilities with load requirements that far exceed that of a traditional residential structure. Nevertheless, steel piling can and has been used in a residential capacity. An inspector may also recommend steel piling in lieu of concrete if dealing with less-than-optimal ground/soil conditions.

Drilled Pier

Drilled piers are another one of our mainstay foundation repair solutions. There are fundamental differences between piling and piers. With a pier, a shaft is drilled deep into the soil. Concrete is poured around the shaft. As it cures, it becomes a solid pier that holds the foundation firmly in place. Piers are intended for smaller residential units and don’t possess the weight capacity of piles. Piers are also installed at a shallower depth.

Pier and Beam Repair

In lieu of a conventional slab foundation, some homes consist of a wooden beam that rests on a cement block or pier that lays several feet below the soil. Homes with a crawl space typically have this type of foundation. Align Foundation Repair can perform repairs if either the beam or cement block/pier incurs damage. We employ a method known as spread footing. This is a poured concrete pad installed below the block/pier to provide additional balance and support.

Drainage Systems

This is more of a prevention measure rather than a direct foundation repair method. Puddling water is one of the primary causes of a foundation settling. The water accumulation is the result of an inadequate drainage system. Align Foundation Repair installs new drainage systems or repairs existing ones. We work with French and surface drains, gutter systems, and soil grading for effective irrigation and water flow that direct water away from the home.

We Provide Foundation Solutions for Texas Residences

There are many effective North Texas structure foundation solutions, but no one-size-fits-all approach. Only an in-person evaluation from a qualified technician can determine the optimal repair approach for your foundation type and incurred damage. Contact Align Foundation Repair today if you spot early warning signs of potential foundation issues.

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.

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.

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 restoration 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

A 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.

Hot Weather Foundation Repair

Why Hot Weather Damages Your Home Foundation

Texas temperatures in summer easily break 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the temperature is in the high 90s, dry Texas weather wicks the moisture from the soil around your house and steals it from your foundation, which causes cracks. Dry weather day after day is a recipe for foundation disaster, and you may find yourself with lasting foundation damage that compromises the structural integrity of your home if you don’t address the problem.

Foundation repair experts believe that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in and around Plano should understand the facts behind this phenomenon, and why it’s more important than ever to be proactive in assessing damage to your home’s foundation.

Shrinking Soil

When the weather gets too hot and dry, especially in states like Texas where the daily summer temperature easily reaches above 100, that dehydrates the soil. Since the soil around your foundation is usually moist, it shrinks when it’s dehydrated, moves around, and stops supporting your foundation. The loss in support causes your foundation to settle.

Sinking Foundations

When settling occur in the foundation because of dryness and hot weather, the foundation will settle until it finds support again. However far away from your foundation the dry soil has moved, that’s how far the foundation will move until it has soil to rest against again. This causes parts of your foundation and house to tilt in whatever direction the foundation started to fall and sink.

Just Add Water

One of the ways homeowners can combat dry soil and cracking foundation is to water the area around the house. Spend 15 to 20 minutes each day adding water to the soil around the foundation. If your area is in a drought, do as much as you’re allowed, but be consistent. As permitted, increase your watering time until you hit 15 or 20 minutes each day. Just remember to keep the soaker hoses 6-18″ away from the foundation.  For those who worry about water costs during the summer, your water bill might be a bit higher, but that’s preferable to a foundation repair that costs thousands of dollars. Use watering as a method to maintain your foundation. If you believe you have a settling issue, continue to water normally and call Align.

Foundation Cracks in Dallas-Fort Worth? Call a Professional

How do you know this damage hasn’t occurred already? Sometimes it’s obvious, but sometimes those cracks are sitting in places you can’t see. Call a professional and ask for a foundation evaluation. When no problems exist, our foundation repair service professionals will recommend more measures you can take to make sure your foundation stays intact. When settling is present, we will let you know how extensive the damage is and whether repairs need to happen right away.

The Texas heat is brutal on your foundation, so foundation damage isn’t something to ignore. Call Align Foundation Repair right away for an inspection. Our Texas foundation repair service areas include Plano, Garland, Arlington and the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area. If your foundation is fine, start watering it every summer day to make sure it stays that way. If it isn’t, take care of it before the damage gets any worse.

 

Home inspection dallas garland foundation repair

Can You Trust a Home Inspection Report?

During the purchase of a home you will no doubt contract with a home inspector to look everything over at the house. There is a section for structural systems on the report. Rarely in north Texas does an inspection come back “clean” in this section. Do not panic! Inspectors are trained to point out any issue they can find. It does not necessarily mean you have a structural problem that requires repair. The bottom line is: the average inspector has limited training on foundation types and problems. If you get a report that is dinged in this section, simply call us for help! Our foundation repair experts can investigate the issues brought up by the home inspector and give you a true evaluation of the seriousness of the problem and whether or not it will adversely affect the home’s value.

An inspection report is an integral part of the home-buying process. After all, you want to be sure your future home sweet home is up to par with building codes. However, exactly how reliable are these home inspection reports?

What Does a Home Inspection Report Include?

When touring a prospective future home, it’s not enough to just admire the granite countertops or built-in redwood cabinetry. A report evaluates what isn’t visible to the untrained eye. A home inspection is thorough and detects defects that would entail costly repairs. This may include:

  • Pipe leaks and other plumbing issues, including furnaces and heaters
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Energy efficiency deficiencies
  • The condition of the roof
  • HVAC, heating and cooling systems
  • The condition of the foundation

Home sellers in Texas will usually need to acquire a home report for prospective buyers. Home buyers may also acquire their own report. Detected defects can be used as a bargaining chip for bringing down the cost. Aside from sellers and buyers, home builders may also need to acquire a report if they’re selling a new and recently constructed home. The same goes for extensively renovated homes that have yet to be occupied in their remodeled state.

How Reliable Is the Report?

Inspectors may not be trained in every single one of the above points. They may only have a baseline knowledge. As such, they may miss small details that may manifest as more severe problems a few years down the road. This is especially true with respect to the foundation. This component requires very specialized knowledge that an inspector trained to look at the whole home may not possess.

A home inspector’s report is not necessarily unreliable. It is indeed a very vital aspect of the home transaction process. However, it should not be the end of the story. Both home buyers and sellers should perform a crosscheck when evaluating qualified inspectors. They should also be willing to bring in another inspector for a second opinion if they have any reason to question the validity of the original inspector’s findings.

You Can Rely on Our Dallas-Fort Worth Foundation Repair Experts

Our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas encompass Plano and surrounding regions. Whether you’re a home buyer or seller, call Align Foundation Repair if a home inspector report lists foundational damage in its initial findings.