HOW MUCH ARE ESTIMATES?
Estimates for homeowners are free. Trip charges may apply for remote locations extending 30 miles beyond the I35 corridor. Please note, if the subject property is involved in a real estate transaction, this is not considered a free estimate. A foundation inspection with a detailed report and profile of the foundation drawing start at $250.
WILL MY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF FOUNDATION REPAIR?
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.
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.
DO YOU WORK CLOSELY WITH ENGINEERING FIRMS?
Absolutely, we do 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?
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 variations 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 appear with concrete piling/piering and other systems that use low-grade or secondhand drill stem steel pipe taken from oil and gas drilling sites. These systems use cheaper materials that rely on soil or shale to support the load of the structure. Buried obstacles also may impair these systems because there are no connectors between their pilings (only gorilla welds which pop under pressure). The few systems that do have connectors are flexible, allowing lateral shifting of the piling during driving and/or after work is completed.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF THE 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 are over 20 types of foundation repair systems currently on the market today. Since Texas does not regulate residential concrete installation or leveling, the systems sold 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 in the long run. The Perma Jack System is the only permanent solution and best value on the market today.
WARNING SIGNS, CAUSES, AND MAINTENANCE
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.
- Cracks or separation in sheet rock and paneling
- Cracks or separation in brick
- Separation between wall & ceiling or wall & floor
- Uneven or sloping floors
- Visible cracks in foundation or flooring
- Doors and windows that resist opening/closing
- Doors that swing open or won’t stay shut
- Molding that cracks, is pushed outward, or appears warped
WHAT CAUSES FOUNDATION TO HAVE PROBLEMS?
Most foundation companies will say that the clay soils in Texas are the cause of foundation problems. Although water does swell soil in volume during rainy seasons and shrink soil during dry seasons, this continual swelling and shrinking is not the main cause 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 and installed to endure these soil conditions. Commercial foundations must meet ACI standards, and therefore, are built to endure the moving soils.
- Poor Compaction of the Soil by the Original Builder: This will usually create foundation problems, particularly 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. Moss growth near the building is one indicator there is too much moisture. Sides of the home exposed to more sun may cause the soil to become too dry or even dusty..
- 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 will be subject to movement..
- Trees and Tree 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. It is important to note 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 structure.
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 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 to allow water to drain. 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! Sprinkler systems should NOT saturate the exterior walls and should be checked frequently. French drains are not recommended.
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 ensure that there is no leakage. Water leaks cause differential moisture content and any leaks should be repaired immediately.