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Perma Jack Blog
Normal Settling or Foundation Problems?
February 12, 2015
By Perma Jack
There is a difference between foundation settling and other types of foundation problems. Since your home is your largest investment, we thought it would be worthwhile to take a moment to clarify the difference between basic foundation problems and what it means when your home has issues with settling.
Your home is likely constructed of concrete poured over steel. There are only two thinks that a piece of concrete is guaranteed to do – harden and crack. The hardening part is a good thing, the cracking part is just a natural occurrence. Really no matter how your foundation is poured or how well your house is built, the foundation will probably start to crack at some point. This may mean that it’s time for you get your foundation repaired, or it may just mean that a simple fix is needed. Sometimes the damage is purely cosmetic after all (which we actually fix as well).
Settling is literally the sinking of your home’s foundation further into the ground. It is, again, a natural process that eventually happens to everyone’s homes. The problem is that settling can go too far, and this when you really start to experience structural damage.
Usually unplanned settling is caused by either very extreme, non-climate-like precipitation and temperatures, or because the contractor that poured the foundation did a poor job of adequately preparing the soil before undertaking the poor.
The important thing for the homeowner to know is that the true signs of foundation problems offer more signs that just visible cracks in walls. Sure, it’s definitely a sign, but don’t forget to look in more unexpected places to find the symptoms you seek. For instance, one place that can show significant damage from a heavily settling foundation is the roof area and ceilings!
Don’t let your home settling questions turn into the need for very expensive repairs. Call us now to get an inspection and know for sure what kinds, if any, services you need!
How Foundations Affect Home Values in Dallas
February 03, 2015
By Perma Jack
One year ago, in January of 2014, the median home value for a single family Dallas home was $280,000. As of this January, the median list price for the same home was $385,000 according to Movoto. This is an increase in home value of more than 38 percent in just about a year.
This increase is, of course, due to the improving market conditions in both residential and commercial real estate. But one fact remains, if you’re looking to purchase a house in the DFW area, the foundation should be thoroughly inspected before completing any major transaction. A ‘good deal’ could actually spell big foundation problems and big expenses down the road.
Naturally, this is a hazard of owning any home in the Dallas area. Because of the clay soils, you are more likely to have foundation problems than those who don’t live in north-central Texas. That said, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate any potential damages and signs to look for before you purchase a home, and sometimes before you even complete the structural inspection.
Keep It Watered
What you want to be looking for is even watering of the premises. If the home has a sprinkler system, and especially if it’s on an automatic timer, it may mean that the foundation is more likely to be stable because it will maintain a consistent moisture. Some sprinkler systems in the Dallas area are designed specifically with this application in mind, including underground watering hoses for both plants and foundation stabilization needs. Of course, for best results this system should be run daily for a period of time, and it should be run year-round since the foundation shifts as much in winter as it does in summer.
Keep the Plants Away
Another key thing to watch out for around the Dallas area when purchasing a home is plants growing near the foundation. Trees and shrubs are an important part of any landscape design. But remember, the larger they get, the more water and nutrients the plants need. The roots will eventually start extending outward to any place it might find more nutrients and water in the ground. Often, these roots will wander under the concrete pad foundations of many Dallas homes. They will then proceed to sap all of the moisture, changing the density of the soil and thus causing a shift in the foundation. If you notice a home for sale with plants growing closely to the foundation, you know that it is at risk for this to happen!
Foundation Repair Methods that Actually Work in Dallas
January 28, 2015
By Perma Jack
There are a bunch of ways that foundation companies approach fixing Dallas foundations. Perma Jack’s crews are certified in concrete repairs of all sorts, so we thought a short run-through of all the different foundation repair options we can offer was a good place to start sharing how we do what we do!
The best method for foundation repair was and probably will always be a steel pier driven to bedrock. It doesn’t get stronger than that, and that will most likely permanently fix most foundation problems.
One system that is used for foundation repairs is driving small, round, short cylinder sections of concrete straight into the ground. The issue with this kind of repair is that lining up the different sections can be quite difficult, and driving it into the ground can actually cause damage to the pier itself. Helical anchors offer benefits in certain situations, but most of the time, the fact that they don’t reach down to load bearing strata mean that they’re not a real, permanent solution.
Helical piers were really designed to hold things down. The large slabs of concrete are all too often placed in overactive soils. They are useful for small structures like porches, or serving as anchor points for buildings with bowing basement walls. The conclusion is really that these kinds of systems have their uses, but the Perma Jack system offers a genuine permanent repair for your home or Dallas commercial building.
The reason people often choose concrete piers is because of their price point. Concrete piers are a temporary fix at best, but they tend to be more affordable than other systems. Still, though, if you’re a homeowner, you’re going to have to redo the work if you use a nonpermanent repair. There are a number of other concrete based repairs that also suffer from the same problems – this graphic shows some of the others you may have heard of but we haven’t mentioned.
Actually, price is one reason people will let the damage to their home get continuously worse – and that’s totally understandable. But the longer one waits, the worse the damage (and consequently, price) usually gets. Fortunately, there are actually many ways to pay for foundation repairs when you’re short on funds, this article does a nice job of outlining a number of them.
The bottom line is that we know how to use all of these repair systems, and we are actually qualified to work on any of them. But the only way to really permanently repair your foundation is to use a steel piering system like ours.
Austin’s Steel Pier Foundation Repair System
January 14, 2015
By Perma Jack
We spend a lot of time in and around Dallas repairing foundations, but we also serve most of the more populated areas across the state! Austin is our former headquarters, and we continue to offer repair services to homes in the area.
The unregulated industry of foundation building and maintenance has lead to many companies that make a great sales pitch, and deliver services very much below what was pitched. Take a look over at Yelp! and see for yourself, the most reviewed company for foundation repair in Dallas is the one with the worst overall rating! But this doesn’t just happen in Dallas, across the state people are finding themselves stuck with home foundation repair contractors that didn’t do what they promised.
You may think a “lifetime warranty” from these companies has your back. But, how much does a lifetime warranty mean when the company that gave it is no longer in business or no longer to be found? Not very much.
Many companies are offering so called “lifetime warranties” without any kind of guarantee that they will be able to make good on these. Of course, most who employ these disreputable, recently started companies don’t even have to wait until the company goes out of business to be disappointed. Instead, their foundation repairs fail in only a year or two.
Using a genuine permanent piering system from a company with years of experience and positive customer feedback means that your warranty will be honored, should it ever be needed at all. When many unlucky souls call their foundation repair company for warranty service (and actually get ahold of someone), they are told that the warranty doesn’t cover the service that’s required – usually because the company didn’t make all the necessary repairs in the first place.
Here’s a tip for spotting a bad foundation repair company: when you call to get a quote, ask how the warranty service works and if there are any fees. Some fees are standard practice, but if you’re told that there is a fee due before the inspection for warranty service even takes place, especially within 5 years following the service, then you probably don’t want to do any long term business with them.
Instead, get in touch with PermaJack Texas, the people who have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and offer lifetime warranties that mean something (just ask our customers). Don’t fall for a good sales pitch, go with the company your neighbors trust for home foundation repairs.
Picking Winners in Dallas
December 23, 2014
By Perma Jack
The Cowboys may have clinched the division last week, but picking winners isn’t always so easy. When it comes to foundation building companies, picking a loser can have serious consequences. Unlike football, a losing foundation doesn’t go away at the end of the season, it just keeps getting worse.
As a company that primarily focuses on repairing home foundations in Dallas, we know that a lot of problems can be stopped by getting the foundation built correctly in the first place. We’ve seen our share of companies building foundations in conditions that no knowledgeable person would think sane for such a venture.
Since the industry is not regulated in the state of Texas, the door is open to allow “discount” contractors to enter the market and give general contractors a better deal on building prices. As the consumer, it’s really up to you to protect yourself from these types of deals. Knowing the right questions to ask when your home is being built or before you purchase a previously owned home.
The first thing to do is to look for a contractor that comes highly recommended. Fortunately, there are a lot of online resources to do this nowadays. Angie’s List, for example, is a great place to start, Home Advisor or even Yelp. Since most problems won’t be apparent on the front end to the home buyer, make sure to look for reviews where people have come back to update them to describe their experience with a contractor. Remember that a negative review is not always reflective of what your experience will be, pay attention to see if the contractor responded to the negative reviews and how they handled the situation.
More important is that the contractor be willing to stand behind his work. Some warranty should be offered, and the longer it’s warrantied the better. People who stand behind their work for multiple years are usually more willing to be helpful if and when something does go wrong.
If you’re purchasing a home that’s already been built, make sure to look at the foundation as part of the inspection. Ask who the original contractor was and make sure find out if there is an active warranty on the home. If there is, see if it is transferrable. If there is not, make sure to have the contact information for that person or company anyway.
Pick the right building contractor in the first place and you’ll save yourself headaches and time later on!