Foundation FAQ

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Homeowners often call us when they suspect foundation problems and here are some of the more Frequently Asked Questions with answers (FAQ). These answers are suitable for homes in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland Hills, Plano, Flower Mound, The Colony, Lewisville, Garland and surrounding areas that suffer from expansive soil problems.

 


What is the best foundation repair method?


How much does it cost to fix a foundation?


What is the average price to repair a concrete slab foundation problem?


What is discount foundation repair?


What is included in a free concrete slab foundation inspection?


What is needed for a foundation inspection of a pier and beam house?


I am confused about concrete piers or pilings versus steel piers or pilings for house leveling.


What is the correct foundation repair plan?


What causes foundation upheaval?


Does the State of Texas license foundation repair or house leveling companies?


Why does Granite offer several types of foundation repair methods?


What is the best foundation repair system?


The house inspector’s report says “some evidence of settling” or “foundation is in reasonable condition for its age” What do these statements mean?


What is the difference between a Level A and a Level B foundation inspection report?


Why is drainage so important?


What about French Drains?


Can I postpone foundation repairs and house leveling?


Is a surface drain as good as a French Drain?


How does a plumbing leak affect a foundation?


Do I have to call all the utilities before Granite begins work?


How long does it take for typical foundation repairs? 


What will happen to my plants during the repairs?


Can I dig near a foundation? 


I am having a new home built. What should I do about the foundation? 

 



What is the best foundation repair method?

Straight Steel or Helical Steel Piers often provide the best long-term solution to fix a foundation problem. Pressed pilings or drilled concrete piers may also be a good choice depending upon the condition of the house and the type of sub-surface strata. Granite Foundation Repair’s certified foundation repair inspectors look at: soil type, age and weight of the structure, drainage, foundation strength, and cost to arrive at the best foundation repair method to fix the problem.

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How much does it cost to fix a foundation?

Before arriving at an exact cost to repair a foundation problem, the concrete slab or pier and beam home will require an inspection by a professional foundation consultant. Repairs may cost as little as $1500.00.

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What is the average price to repair a concrete slab foundation problem?

A recent report cited the average Dallas Fort Worth concrete foundation repair cost in the range of $5000-$7000.

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What is discount foundation repair?

Discount foundation repair provides short-term house leveling results that may not last through the next rainy season. In most cases foundation contractors will cut corners to save money, but this only causes more money in the future. We commonly see previous contractors only put pilings one-third to half of the way down…resulting in future foundation problems, usually within a few years.

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What is included in a free concrete slab foundation inspection?

A reputable foundation contractor will look for visible signs of foundation problems such as cracks in sheetrock, cracked bricks, sloping or heaving floors, breaks in the concrete slab, stuck windows, stuck doors and wall to ceiling separation. The foundation inspector will also use an electronic elevation instrument to develop a contour analysis of sloping floors.

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What is needed for a foundation inspection of a pier and beam house?

A certified foundation repair specialist performs all the inspections needed for a concrete slab foundation plus crawling under the pier and beam house (where space allows) to inspect for signs of foundation problems. These may include: 1) rotten or termite damaged beams and joists, 2) evidence of standing water, and 3) tilted support posts which are no longer providing adequate beam support. Pier and beam house leveling may be as simple as adding steel shims. In some cases, excess dirt under the structure may need to be removed in order to facilitate repairs.

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I am confused about concrete piers or pilings versus steel piers or pilings for house leveling.

In the Dallas Fort Worth area, the ground is predominantly clay over shale. The problem with a concrete pier/piling is that it is seldom driven or drilled to hard load bearing strata or shale. The concrete pier supports the foundation on a bed of water sensitive clay. A steel pier typically supports the foundation on a bed of rock or shale. Granite Foundation Repair recommends steel piers for most repairs in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

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What is the correct foundation repair plan?

Pier placement is not an exact science, so it is not uncommon for reputable house leveling contractors to differ somewhat in their repair plans. For a concrete slab foundation, the Foundation Performance Organization has established guidelines for underpinning support. Some foundation repair companies will understate the extent of the foundation problem in order to win your business. Except in cases of upheaval, a house has never been damaged by installing too many piers. Many Texas houses have lost market value because of inadequate underpinning.

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What causes foundation upheaval?

Upheaval is caused by water induced clay soil expansion under a house. The repair plan for upheaval may include selective underpinning, and/or actions to dry the soil, such as drainage correction with surface drains or french drains.

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Does the State of Texas license foundation repair or house leveling companies?

There are no license requirements for foundation repair in the State of Texas. Texas cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Richardson and Plano require building permits and contractor registration for foundation repair. As a member of the Foundation Repair Association, Granite Foundation Repair employees receive continuing education in foundation analysis and repair.

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Why does Granite offer several types of foundation repair methods? 

We offer Steel Piers, Helical Piers, Pressed Pilings and Drilled Piers because different foundation problems and foundation types call for different repair methods.

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What is the best foundation repair system?

Granite Foundation Repair offers more repair methods than any other contractor in the Dallas Fort Worth area. We use the repair method best suited to the foundation. In a majority of the foundation repairs, straight steel or helical steel piers often provide the best long term solution. Pressed pilings or drilled concrete piers may also be a good choice depending upon the condition of the house and the type of sub-surface strata.

For pier and beam foundations the repair may be as simple as replacing crushed wooden shims with steel shims. Granite Foundation Repair exclusively uses steel shims for pier and beam foundations.

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The house inspector’s report says “some evidence of settling” or “foundation is in reasonable condition for its age” What do these statements mean?

These statements are too general to rely upon, especially when making a purchasing decision. Get specifics or seek a second opinion. Broad statements may be a warning sign that more serious problems exist.

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What is the difference between a Level A and a Level B foundation inspection report? 

The level B report provides hard numbers on foundation flatness along with contour analysis and recommendations. The Level A report tends to be a brief summary of the foundation condition, lacking solid factual measurements.

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Why is drainage so important?

Water accumulation along one area of a house can cause either destructive upheaval or foundation sinking. The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s Montmorillonite clay is geologically known to fail in high moisture conditions. Poor drainage drives the need for foundation repairs.

In the case of slab foundations, drainage correction may be the only way to solve the problem of upheaval caused by poor drainage.

For more information on drainage refer to the section of this web site on
causes of foundation problems.

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What about French Drains?

French Drains are sometimes needed as part of a drainage correction and foundation repair program to eliminate areas of sub-surface standing water or high water soil saturation.

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Can I postpone foundation repairs and house leveling?

Once a foundation begins to fail, it needs immediate attention to identify the problem and stop the damage from spreading.

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Is a surface drain as good as a French Drain?

The drain type is site dependent. Surface drains collect water on top of the ground. French Drains draw off water that has penetrated the ground. Usually the specification for a French Drain is to be at a depth lower than a concrete foundation beam. Sometimes a hybrid solution is employed, with a buried French Drain and surface water collection drains
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How does a plumbing leak affect a foundation?

In the early stages of a plumbing leak, the soil swells and may sometimes create a noticeable hump in the floor. Continued leaking leads to soil erosion and a drop in the slab. Typically, Texas insurance companies reimburse homeowners for loss only if plumbing leak damage is massive and sudden. Slow leaks are seldom covered and are unfortunately a frequent cause of foundation problems.

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Do I have to call all the utilities before Granite begins work?

Granite will handle contacting the utilities before foundation repair begins to ensure exterior underground lines are identified and marked. Homeowner is responsible for marking line from gas meter to the house, sprinklers and homeowner installed gas and water lines. Granite takes every effort to miss unmarked lines, and assumes full responsibility to repair any sprinkler lines cut by Granite Foundation Repair personnel.

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How long does it take for typical foundation repairs? 

Depending upon the number of piers, steel pier foundation repairs are completed in 1-3 days. Concrete foundation repair methods normally require 2-10 days.
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What will happen to my plants during the repairs?

Granite Foundation Repair carefully removes and replants all vegetation, but we cannot guarantee the longevity of plants that have been moved. Steel piers cause the least disturbance of landscaping of any of the foundation repair systems.

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Can I dig near a foundation? 

Because of soil movement which could undermine the support of a house, Granite recommends that the hole depth not exceed the distance to the foundation.
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