FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if the scope of work is accurate?

Adding a few extra piers can be costly while omitting a few piers can make problems worse. For instance, if a fireplace needs to be leveled, all four corners must be balanced at the same time; omitting any of the four piers could cause more damage. This is where years of experience are critical. Our owner, David Kerzee, estimates all our jobs. We are not commission based, so the only thing we have to gain is the referrals of our satisfied customers.

 

Don’t all companies that do foundation repair carry insurance?

No, the concrete and foundation industries are not regulated in Texas. However, those of us that do carry liability insurances pay high premiums due to the many companies that do not carry insurance. It is important for us to give you the peace of mind that you are protected and working with a reputable company that is audited annually.

 

How long does the average job normally take to be completed?

Every home is uniquely different. However, on average a job may take 5-7 days to complete.

 

What is the average cost of foundation repair?

There are many types of foundation problems, so we cannot give an exact price without analyzing the foundation in person. It is important to know that there and over 20 types of foundation repair systems currently on the market today. Since Texas does not regulate concrete, these systems are not regulated either. If they can get you to buy it, they will sell it to you! Paying less money for a temporary repair doesn’t mean it is cheaper. Perma-Jack is the only permanent solution and best value on the market today.

 

Will your method of foundation repair cause major excavation or damage to my landscape?

Compared to other current foundation repair methods, our method requires the smallest amount of excavation. In addition to the Perma-Jack System being minimally invasive, our steel piers support a larger about of weight, which means less piers to drill overall.

 

How are you and the employees of your company trained?

David Kerzee is certified through the ACI (American Concrete Institute) #01016279 and has over 30 years of verifiable background in commercial concrete and structural steel.

 

Do you work closely with engineering firms?

Absolutely, not only do we have a good reputation with structural engineers, we have fixed many of their personal homes and are on our list of references, which are available upon request.

 

How many types of foundation piers do you have available?

Foundation Repair Options:

One, because it is the only permanent solution and we only want the best for our customers. To date, there are at least 20 standard types of foundation systems available. None of these can compete with our high-grade steel that is manufactured in the USA specifically for The Perma-Jack System. Since 1974, we have proven that The Perma- Jack System does not have alignment problems that are present like with concrete piling and other systems that use low-grade or secondhand drill stem steel taken from oil and gas drilling sites. These systems use cheaper materials that rely on soil or shale to support the load. Buried obstacles also may impair these systems because there are no connectors between pilings, or because the connectors present are flexible; there can be lateral shifting or deflection of the piling during driving and after work is completed.

 

What is the failure rate for Perma-Jack piers installed and how often do you have to re-adjust a pier?

A good contractor should rarely have to repair or replace materials (less than 1%). Of the hundreds of thousands of piers installed nation-wide since 1974, Perma-Jack has had 26 piers that needed to be covered under our lifetime transferrable warranty due to workmanship. There is also a $2,500 reward for a Perma-Jack pier that has failed due to materials that has never been claimed.

 

Does The Perma-Jack System hold any patents?

Yes, The Perma-Jack System has been patented since 1974 with no changes needed in the pier design. Many companies have tried to copy our system and have even tried to incorporate parts of our reputable name to attempt imitating our product, but there is only one Perma-Jack.

 

Do you employ sub-contractors?

No, we do not employ sub-contractors. All work is performed by our experienced employees and are directly supervised by the owner, David Kerzee.

 

How long have you been in business?

The Perma Jack system has not changed since it was patented in 1974, however David Kerzee has owned CDS since 1994, which holds the franchise rights for Perma-Jack Texas.

 

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the cost of foundation repair on my home?

Since builders and concrete foundation companies are unregulated and unlicensed in Texas, few insurance companies will cover the cost of foundation repair. If you have had either a slab leak or a plumbing leak underneath the house, we advise you to contact your insurance provider to ask if your foundation repair can be covered for these reasons.

 

Why is it important for the piers to go all the way to bedrock?

Every year in the United States, billions of dollars in damage is caused by the constant expansion and contraction of clay soils due to changes in moisture content. Most people don’t realize that in the United States, the annual cost of damages due to soil movement is greater than all of the damage caused by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes combined. These other disasters are fairly sudden, dramatic events; however, slab foundations in homes are damaged by the slow but ever present movement of soil. Soil movement does not stop, especially clay soils that swell in volume during wet weather and shrink during dry, hot weather. Even small movements of several inches are sufficient to cause considerable building and infrastructure damages in homes because the foundation was not designed to sustain the movement of the soil on which it sits. Pushing past soil, shale, and shelf rock all the way to bedrock (or equal loadbearing strata) is the only way to ensure your foundation is secure. Foundation repair in doesn’t work unless the pier goals all the way to the bedrock.

 

How can I tell if my home has foundation problems?

The first exterior signs to look for are stress cracks appearing in the mortar in the brick veneer. The swelling and shrinking of the clay soils underneath your home exert great pressures on the structure and foundation. This movement of the soil is not uniform, which results in some parts of the home experiencing “upheaval” (positive elevation or uplift) and other parts experiencing “settlement” (negative elevation or collapse). Sometimes the roof and window frames of a home are warped from the twisting of the slab. Patching the cracks with mortar does not fix the problem. The home will need foundation repair.

 

What caused my foundation to have problems?

Most foundation companies will say that the clay soils in Texas are the cause of foundation problems. Although water does consequently swell soil in volume during rainy seasons and shrink soil during dry seasons, this continual swelling and shrinking is not the main cause of the majority of foundation problems. Texas does not regulate builders or residential foundations. This means that most of the homes in Texas are simply just not engineered to endure these soil conditions. Commercial foundations must meet ACI standards, and therefore, are built to endure the moving soils.

Other causes:
  • Poor Compaction of the Soil by the Original Builder: This will usually create foundation problems during the few years after construction.
  • Poor Drainage: Damage can be caused by too much moisture as well as too little. Standing water around your home, large amounts of water dumped by gutter downspouts or a negative slope of the area around your home can cause saturated soil.
  • Seasonal Weather Changes: Dry and wet weather cycles produce a constantly changing soil bed under your home’s foundation. The expansion and contraction of the soil over time can weaken the support for your foundation and cause it to crack.
  • Expansive Clay Soils: Different soils have differing potential to shrink and swell. The more expansive the soil is around your home, the more your foundation may by subject to movement.
  • Trees and Tree Roots: Beware of trees and roots. A large tree may drink up many gallons of water per day through its roots. When these roots are under or near your foundation, the drying process may cause a portion of the soil to shrink. The differential in moisture content below the home may cause one part of the foundation to move more than others.
  • Under-Slab Plumbing Leak: An under slab water leak can create excessive moisture in one area under your foundation and may cause that area to heave upward or disturb the stability of your slab. Usually older homes are more likely to have under slab plumbing leaks because their cast iron or concrete pipes have reached the end of their useful lives.

 

What is the best way to maintain the soil’s moisture level around my home?

Keep the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level, neither too wet nor too dry. The soils present throughout Texas have a tremendous capacity to absorb and lose water. This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab, which rests on top of the soil. Uniform moisture content can be accomplished by evenly and gradually watering approximately 18” away from the foundation slab, especially during dry periods and in the hot summer. Using a battery-operated, programmable timer, can eliminate the human error factor of turning it off and on. It is important to note, however, that watering of the foundation will not cure existing foundation problems or prevent them from occurring in the long run. However, it is the best preventative maintenance method and will slow any rate of deterioration.
Provide positive drainage away from the slab perimeter. Any standing water near the foundation slab (current or future) should be eliminated. This will promote even moisture content underneath the slab and thus less movement of the soils beneath the foundation slab.
An ample amount of water should be provided to large trees surrounding and near the concrete foundation slab. High growth of dense vegetation near the concrete foundation slab should be avoided. Watering of the trees, especially in dry periods, will prevent a situation of differential moisture content in the soil beneath the foundation slab. Remember, differential moisture content, adjacent areas of soil with different moisture content, will magnify home foundation problems.
Ground elevations of the surrounding flowerbeds should be maintained so that the slab is at least three to four inches above the finished ground, and the flowerbed should be sloped away from the slab for proper drainage. This will also prevent the seepage of moisture into the wall system or inside the structure via weep holes in the brick veneer walls. This is the most common mistake of homeowners and landscapers!
The residence should not be allowed to go for a substantial period without being heated or cooled. This will eliminate major temperature variations and reduce the concrete slab’s potential for expansion and contraction. The plumbing system, potable water lines, and sewer lines should be checked periodically to insure that there is no leakage. Water leaks cause differential moisture content and any leaks should be repaired immediately.

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