If you are planning to purchase a home in Dallas Fort Worth or you are a homeowner in the region, then you have probably wondered what foundation problems are common in the area.
Well, you have come to the right place! In this Regional Foundation Repair guide, we will cover this and other commonly asked questions like:
- What Are the Causes of Foundation Problems in Ft. Worth?
- How Can You Prevent Foundation Problems in Ft. Worth?
- How Can You Fix Foundation Problems in Fort Worth?
Foundation-related issues are a headache for homeowners. Apart from reducing the comfort of the home and the overall quality of life, they are also hectic and quite expensive to repair.
In the United States, Texas ranks high in the list of areas most prone to foundation issues. A combination of factors including the climate, soil and geographical location makes the region susceptible to these problems.
Therefore, Texas residents, including those in Fort Worth and Dallas, should be extra vigilant for warning signs of these issues since their homes are predisposed to foundation damages. Fortunately, spotting the early signs of foundation damage and taking the necessary measures in time goes a long way in reducing the costs involved.
If you are experiencing issues in your home and suspect problems within your foundation, do not hesitate. Tell us more about your project in the form below, and our specialists will reach out to you with our assessment and a no-obligation price quote.
What Are the Common Foundation Problems in Fort Worth?
Foundation issues come in many forms, some more subtle and hard to notice, while others are more difficult to ignore. If you notice any of these signs, have a professional look at them as they could be indicative of serious underlying issues.
The following are some common foundation-related problems that you are likely to experience in Fort Worth:
Cracks on the Foundation and Surfaces
Small cracks are normal and sometimes expected during the first couple of years after construction as the structure settles in the soil because of the weight. Sometimes, plaster and concrete dry unevenly and cause small fissures on walls and surfaces.
Nonetheless, you should be on the lookout for horizontal and zig-zag patterned fissures larger than 0.8 inches wide, which are usually a sign of severe foundation damage. The cracks can widen and get worse over time if not quickly handled. This can consequently compromise the structural integrity of the building.
The wider cracks also allow water intrusion and unwanted guests such as pests and rodents, weakening the already compromised foundation. These are unsettling discoveries for homeowners and can significantly dent the value of your home.
If you notice cracks on the interior or exterior of your home, you should mark them and occasionally monitor them for any changes. Contact Regional Foundation Repair experts to have a look and quickly handle any repairs to avoid worsening and excessive expenditure in the future.
In the Fort Worth metroplex and other neighboring cities – including Irving, Frisco, Plano, Mansfield, Arlington, and Grand Prairie – property owners deal with multiple foundation-related issues as a result of the shifting soils. Foundation settlement is common and even expected in the Fort Worth area.
Even though foundation settling is a normal and sometimes expected occurrence, foundations rarely settle evenly. This is termed as differential settling – meaning that one part of the foundation settles more than the other. Differential settling puts excessive pressure on one side of the foundation from holding excess weight on one side, leading to foundation damage.
Foundation settling causes uneven floors and leaning chimneys, which are not only unsightly but are also a safety hazard to the occupants. Foundation settling usually reduces the comfort of your home and compromises the structural integrity of the building.
Our experts understand the conditions of the Dallas, Fort Worth region and with thousands of successful foundation repairs in the area, we will fix your sinking foundation and restore the structure to its correct position. We also ensure that the repairs done are permanent so that the same problems do not arise in the future.
This is the opposite of foundation settling and is usually experienced when the foundation moves in an upward direction. The effects of foundation heaving are often seen in your home’s interior and on most occasions stick out like a sore thumb.
Heaving pushes your concrete slab foundation up by as much as 2 inches, which can cause significant damage to the foundation. You will notice bulges in the floors, sticking doors, and gaps around the joints of counters, cabinets, or walls.
If left for an extended duration, upheaval can cause significant damage to the structure. Contact a qualified foundation repair company to assess the damage and handle any problems resulting from heaving.
Bowing Basement Walls
Because your home’s foundation and basement are often subjected to similar conditions, whatever happens to your basement is most likely happening to your foundation. While bowing basement walls do not always signify foundation damage, but they can be an indication of your foundation’s condition.
When it comes to bowing walls, the perpetrator is usually hydrostatic pressure from excess moisture in the surrounding expansive soils. The basement walls curve inwardly (bow) from the continuous pressure exerted on them from the exterior. If left unattended for an extended duration, bowing basement walls can worsen, leading to expensive repair costs.
Get in touch with Regional Foundation Repair if you notice any signs of bowing basement walls. We will get a structural engineer to assess the damage and then get to work with the best-suited repairs. You can trust us to make permanent and exceptional quality repairs, ensuring value for your money.
What Are the Causes of Foundation Problems in Ft. Worth?
As mentioned previously, Texas property owners experience foundation problems quite often. Several factors contribute to the foundation problems experienced in the region which we will discuss below.
The weather in DFW changes rapidly, from extremely wet and cold to extremely hot and dry within a short duration. These constantly changing weather patterns cause fluctuation of the ground’s moisture content and create a high risk of damaging soil movements. This is mainly because of the shrinking and swelling of the soil with the weather changes.
During the extended drought periods, the soil gets plenty of time to lose moisture. The expansive clay soil in the region shrinks and cracks, reducing its load-bearing capabilities during these periods. When clay soil shrinks, it pulls away from the home’s foundation, leaving it without any support. The consequence is foundation settling (usually differential settling).
On the flip side, during the periods of concentrated seasonal rainfall, resulting from tropical cyclones near the southern coast, the soil absorbs the moisture from precipitation and swells. Your basement foundation might experience excessive hydrostatic pressure from the swollen soil, causing bowing.
The constant cycle of shrinking and expansion makes the soil move, often moving the foundation with it. This cycle causes significant structural damage to the foundation and the building.
The predominant soil in Fort Worth is expansive clay soil. Expansive soils expand when wet, sometimes increasing up to 10% in volume. This extreme swelling causes high hydrostatic pressure in the soil which exerts stress on the structure. The swelling of the soil can also cause foundation heave which is detrimental to the foundation.
Because of the excess pressure from the expanding surrounding soils, you might notice some cracks and even bowing of basement walls. These usually signify the loss of structural stability, and can only get worse if left without repair.
Notwithstanding the extreme swelling and increase in volume by clay soil in wet conditions, when subjected to dry conditions – common in the Dallas region – clay soil shrinks and cracks. When this happens, the soil pulls away, creating voids and reducing its support of the foundation.
When the soil loses its load-bearing capabilities during the dry season, the structure suffers foundation settling. The expansive soils in the region cause endless problems for property owners.
As a result, before starting any building project in the Fort Worth region, you should have the soil inspected by a structural engineer so that they can suggest the best ways to avoid future foundation problems.
Floods and Drainage Issues
Fort Worth is blessed with multiple streams and creeks, and the Trinity River makes it an exceedingly beautiful and scenic area to live in. The region also experiences spring and fall storms with heavy rainfall. The runoff from the rain drains to the surrounding water bodies, which often subjects the region to flooding.
In addition to this, the hilly terrain often causes flash floods during heavy rainfall. And as if adding insult to injury, the clay soil that is characteristic of the area has slow water permeability, especially in the wet season. This offers an opportunity for water to pool around the structure and can cause intrusion and significant damage.
You can also experience foundation damage as a result of drainage problems such as plumbing leaks or clogged gutters and downspouts. When your drainage system is not working efficiently, foundation-related issues are inevitable.
Occasionally get a plumber to check your plumbing fixtures, sewer lines, and drainage fixtures to ensure that there are no leaks that can be detrimental to the foundation.
Invasive Trees and Shrubs
Even though trees and shrubs can improve the landscape aesthetics of your property, some species with deep roots can be a problem for your foundation. Some trees that have creeping roots can crack your foundation by exerting extreme pressure on the structure and sometimes can even heave the building.
Apart from the trees and shrubs damaging your foundation physically, they can also suck out all the moisture from the soil leaving it constantly dry. As mentioned earlier, dry clay soil shrinks and pulls away from the structure, leaving it without support. Consider planting trees and shrubs that do not have invasive and deep roots.
How Can You Prevent Foundation Problems in Ft. Worth?
Your home is your biggest investment, and you probably want to ensure that it stands for years to come. As such, you want to keep it in the best condition possible, and this involves maintaining a strong and healthy foundation. The best way to achieve this is to foresee and prevent foundation issues before they occur.
Here are some ways you can go about this:
Water the Foundation
It sounds weird, right? But watering your foundation is a real thing! Especially during the hot summers and times of extended dry spells, the clay soil cracks because of a lack of moisture.
Ensure that you frequently water your foundation during these times. Watering your foundation is not pouring water onto the foundation, but the surrounding soils to ensure constant moisture content even during the drought season. This prevents the soil from shrinking.
You can use a regular garden hose to water the soil surrounding your foundation or you can utilize automatic sprinklers to do this. Alternatively, you can have a soaker hose installed into the soil to water the soil from underneath.
When using sprinklers or garden hoses, ensure that you water the foundation either early in the morning or in the evening, to minimize evaporation. Soaker hoses are efficient and can be used at any time of the day because the hose is buried in the soil and cannot be exposed to evaporation.
Perform Regular Inspections and Maintenance
Every couple of months, take some time and inspect the exterior and interior of the structure. During these checks, you might come across a potential problem and avoid costly repairs by quickly handling the issue.
You can mark anything worth noting and check them again during your next inspection. For example, if you notice some small cracks probably as a result of plaster drying, you can mark them and if you notice that the cracks have worsened during your next checks, you can have a repair contractor handle them.
By now, you have probably noticed that water is one of the chief causes of foundation-related issues. You should have regular maintenance of your drainage system to ensure that everything is working correctly. Any faulty components should be immediately replaced to avoid drainage issues in the future.
Hire Competent Contractors
Naturally, a homeowner will want to minimize costs during the initial construction stage or even during repairs. Some companies offer lower bids to try and undercut other contractors and secure the job, but they may not have the client’s best interests at heart.
It is wise to have licensed, experienced professionals do any necessary foundation work. You will end up saving money in the long run by avoiding constant repairs. When you go for incompetent contractors, you might actually end up spending more money because of constantly paying for repairs.
At Regional Foundation Repair, we have a deep understanding of the region and the specific requirements for foundation works in the area. We are licensed and insured professionals and hold an A+ rating with BBB.
How Can You Fix Foundation Problems in Fort Worth?
When it comes to foundation issues, the sooner you identify potential problems, the easier and less expensive it is to repair them. Depending on the root cause, the extent of the damage, and the type of foundation, several repair methods can be used to remedy the damage.
This repair method is a fix for drainage and moisture problems in a foundation. After foundation repair experts assess the structure and determine the predominant conditions, they seal the foundation to prevent water intrusion in the future.
We recommend that you have your foundation waterproofed during the initial construction. By doing this, the total cost of construction might significantly rise, but then it will save you money in the long run by avoiding moisture problems.
You can contact Regional Foundation Repair, and we will send a specialist to have your foundation waterproofed using state-of-the-art techniques.
Also commonly known as mudjacking, this is a non-invasive and affordable repair method for settling. It involves drilling holes in the foundation and pumping a grout mixture through them into the space underneath the concrete slab foundation. The combination floats the foundation into the correct position and levels the home.
Experts do not recommend mudjacking in areas where the soil continues to settle, since in this case, it is rarely a permanent fix.
If executed correctly this repair method is usually permanent and is best suited for areas that experience constantly shifting soils. The process involves raising the structure and installing either push, concrete, steel, or helical piers underneath the foundation until they get to a load-bearing soil level where there is minimal soil movement.
The foundation piers offer additional support to the structure and minimize foundation movement, holding it in place even when the soils around it continue to shift. Piering is a relatively expensive repair method compared to others because of the amount of work and it even requires specialized equipment in some cases. The type of piers used can also influence the cost of the repairs.
When Should You Call a Foundation Repair Expert?
Sometimes, foundation problems are minor and can be fixed using DIY. Small cracks can be easily filled and painted over without having to contact repair experts. However, there are more serious issues that must only be handled by qualified contractors.
Contact Regional Foundation Repair if you notice visible pools of water or dampness in your foundation. These are clear signs of water intrusion and significant foundation damage. The wet conditions offer perfect habitats for mold and mildew growth. These can cause serious health problems to the occupants if left unchecked.
Make sure that all foundation repairs are done by an accredited foundation repair company to get value for your money. These repairs can even improve the resale value of your home. With the hot real estate market in North Texas, you definitely want to ensure that your Fort Worth foundation is in excellent condition.
For foundation repairs in Fort Worth and surrounding cities, contact us and relax with the confidence that your home is in the hands of professionals. We stand by all our repairs and offer a lifetime transferable warranty for all our works.
For an accurate foundation repair estimate, fill in the form provided with the details of your project and we will send you a free no-obligation price quote. If need be, we will send one of our structural engineers to inspect and determine the condition of your foundation, before suggesting the most appropriate solution.