Condo rooftops and chimneys

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

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

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

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

Check for Pooling Water

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

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

Evaluate the Landscape

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

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

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

Cracks in the Home

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

We Inspect and Repair Home Foundations

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

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.

Crack in a cinder block building foundation

Why Waiting on Fixing Your Foundation Can Cause More Problems

Who isn’t guilty of procrastination? People by nature have an out of sight out of mind mentality. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental when it comes to the health of your home and especially the foundation. Holding off seemingly minor repairs can lead to much more severe issues down the line.

• Some foundation problems progress slowly and others progress rapidly.
• There is no way to know simply by eyeballing the damage whether it is progressing slowly or rapidly
• Foundation changes can mean added damage when lifting is required, or a need to work on the interior of the house
• Waiting until the damage progresses can add to the cost of the repair
• Sometimes waiting until the problem is bad leads to reduction in repairability

Do Foundation Problems Always Get Worse?

Foundations tend to sink over time due to the contraction of the soil, caused by back-and-forth moisture retention and dry spells. Early indicators of a compromised foundation include visible cracks in the walls or jammed windows and doors. If you ignore these signs, the symptoms can exacerbate to larger cracks or even complete separation in the walls. Does it always get worse? Not always, but it does more often than not due to the soil conditions in the North Texas area.

The Consequences of Neglecting Repairs

Ignoring repairs can cause spreading structural damage. A weakened foundation has a domino effect where the damage can spread to areas like the floors, walls, ceiling, and window frames. Other damages include:

  • Plumbing – As the cracks begin to form, the damage can spread to the pipes. Leaky water leeches into the soil, creating the aforementioned contraction.
  • Lost Property Value – Continued foundation damage leads to a decline in the home’s value. A real estate agent will not agree to put the property up for sale until costly repairs are made.
  • Further Brick and Sheetrock Issues – Sinking foundations can cause horizontal or “stair-step” cracks in brick exteriors that in extreme cases can grow to 1″ wide. These cracks may allow water to seep into the basement, exacerbating damage to the foundation. Similarly, foundation damage can cause serious cracking in sheetrock, which may have to be replaced at a steep cost adding on to the expense of repairing the foundation issues that caused the cracking in the first place.
  • Framing Issues – Sinking foundations can cause serious framing damage that can be very costly to repair. Cracked foundations can sink into the ground (especially at the corners of the building) causing damage to wall studs, roof rafters, door frames, ceiling joists, and more. If pressure from deformed framing is strong enough, doors and windows may not open. Framing lumber may need to be entirely replaced after the foundation is repaired.
  • Roof Damage – Shifts in the foundation can also cause roof damage, telltale signs of which include sagging or bowing in the roofline, or sections with bulges or dips. If the damage is severe enough, sections of the roof may need to be replaced.

 

Don’t Let Foundation Damage Linger

The faster you act the more foundation repair options you have at your disposal, and the more affordable they are likely to be. Contact Align Foundation Repair at the first signs of a damaged foundation. Swift remediation from our Garland foundation repair service ensures you don’t end up with more serious and costly issues months or years down the road.

 

Cracked Ceiling Repair

Ceiling Cracks Offer Important Clues about Your Foundation

Ceiling cracks plague many homes in Plano, Texas, and the surrounding Dallas area. At best, they look unsightly. But at worst, they could flag an issue with your home’s foundation. So what’s really causing those cracks in your ceiling? And perhaps most importantly, what should you do about them?

Types of Ceiling Cracks

It’s important to educate yourself about the different types of cracks and their causes to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Knowing the difference between the types of ceiling cracks can save your home. First, it’s important to realize that all homes will move over time. This movement results from several factors, which we discuss later in this blog. However, cracks usually occur as the byproduct of one of two things:  natural aging or structural damage. Here are some of the most common cracks and what they can reveal.

“Spider Web” Cracks

These cracks have a center point and then spread out in different directions. The good news: these cracks are a regular part of settling and can occur in ceilings, walls, even floors. However, when it comes to spider web cracks, size matters. If the cracks are small, there isn’t much to get anxious about. On the other hand, if they are more than 1/16 inch wide, there could be a more significant structural problem.

Matching Vertical Cracks

Those cracks which run across the length of a ceiling and then continue down a wall along the same line point to structural damage, likely connected to a weak wall stud or something that was knocked loose in the settling of the home over time. Once again, size is relevant here.

Cracks along the Edges

Cracks along the edges of walls are usually the result of normal settling. You don’t have to be hyper-vigilant about these, but as a precaution, it’s a smart idea to mark where they start and finish so that you can monitor any growth. It’s those cracks that run across the entire length of the ceiling that can signal trouble. In these extreme cases, one or more foundation adjustment services may be necessary to avoid further damage and dangerous instability.

Causes of Ceiling Cracks

What causes cracks in ceilings? Now that you’re informed about the primary kinds of ceiling cracks, let’s take a look at some of the causes and how they impact your ceilings.

Moisture

One of the most common reasons is massive moisture damage from above the ceiling. Depending on which floor of your home you’re talking about, this could mean moisture has seeped into the floor above the ceiling. If it’s the upper level of your home, this may point to damage to the roof. Other sources may include plumbing leaks from the floor above. Significant changes in temperature can lead to cracks. As the air warms, building materials in your home will expand because they are exposed to excess moisture. Conversely, as the temperature drops, they will contract. Switching between hot and cold can put stress on the ceiling materials and joints, and lead to cracking.

Too Much Weight

A cracked ceiling either has another floor or attic space directly above it. So it’s entirely possible that the area above the ceiling is carrying too much weight. Prime examples are upper-level bathrooms; they need specific ceiling supports to bear the heavy weight of fixtures. Shortcuts taken during construction could lead to sagging or cracking.

Inferior Foundation

What do cracks in the ceiling mean for the future of your home’s foundation? A substandard foundation can cause a variety of structural problems, including damage to the ceiling. Remember this: the integrity of the foundation affects every component of your house. The minutest movement or settling in the foundation can alter load-bearing beams and cause small or large cracks.

Contact Align Foundation Today

Cracks in the ceiling aren’t just ugly to look at. They might also mean your home’s foundation is at risk. When in doubt, contact the foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair. We know when a crack is a minor aesthetic problem and when it could be something more serious! If you would like a free professional evaluation and estimate of your foundation in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, contact us today and ensure a solid foundation for the future of your home.

 

Foundation Crack repair

How Different Soil Types Might Affect Your Dallas Home’s Foundation

No matter how solidly your home’s foundation is built, the soil variations in the Dallas area may have a lasting impact on the health of your home’s foundation. When the soil is filled with too much sand or clay, foundation issues have a habit of cropping up. Compromised soil affects the foundation, in turn affecting the home. If you suspect soil foundation trouble in your home, contact our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair expects for a free evaluation and estimate. See below to learn about Texas soil types and how they may affect the future stability of your home.

Dallas: The Blackland Prairie

The Dallas region is part of Texas’s Blackland Prairie. Most of this region has relatively deep soil, which means the bedrock is far below the soil. In the western part of the Blackland Prairie, a chalk bedrock helps to support foundations. Throughout the rest of the region, that deep soil doesn’t provide any extra sturdiness to the foundations of Dallas homes. The soil in many areas of Dallas County slopes, which affects how the water runs through it and whether water will collect near your foundation.

Clay

In the Blackland Prairie, you’ll find different kinds of clay that mostly compose the soil. Clay has the ability to hold much water, which is why its consistency changes so drastically when it’s wet versus when it’s dry. Unfortunately, clay expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s dry, which makes it an unstable soil for home foundations.

When clay starts to crack on the surface, that means it’s extremely dry and is no longer supporting your foundation. In the worst case situation, your foundation will start to shift as it seeks out the support it lacks from the clay. Because Dallas summers are dry and hot, summer is the season during which you have to worry about the clay soil damaging your foundation the most.

Loam

Some parts of Dallas County have soil with more loam in it, which is great news for your foundation. Loam is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt, and these three combine to create a stable soil that doesn’t experience much expansion or shrinkage due to water levels. As long as you don’t end up with a layer of clay on top of your loam soil, it will support your foundation beautifully. Keep in mind, though, that in the Dallas area, most loam soil mixes with clay, which reduces some of its sturdiest properties.

Sand

In a few Dallas County areas, you’ll find sandy soil, though even in these areas it’s still mixed with some clay. When sand is packed tightly, it creates a sturdy foundation that drains water away from your house quite well. Unfortunately, too much water can disturb even tightly packed sand, washing away key foundation support from beneath your home and causing foundation issues.

Be on the Lookout for Cracks

Due to the soil conditions of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, we advise homeowners to periodically inspect their home interior and exterior for any signs of cracking. A crack does not necessarily indicate the origin of the problem, as the weakest point in the soil may not be directly underneath the crack. This is why it’s essential to bring in a foundation repair expert to pinpoint the specific problem areas.

Aside from direct repair, potential remedies may include a customized drainage solution to prevent future runoff water from collecting near the foundation.

Schedule a Free Estimate in Dallas-Fort Worth

Some foundation issues show up through visible cracks in your foundations. Other times, the changes are subtler. Pay attention to whether your interior doors are sticking or refusing to latch. Look for cracks in the walls, and pay attention to how well your windows are opening.

With so much clay in your soil, you have to keep an eye out for foundation issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, so you can call a professional before the problem gets out of hand.

Even the sturdiest foundation is heavily dependent on the soil it rests on. Our foundation repair services are diverse in order to address specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about how soil and foundations affect each other, or for a free inspection and estimate.