Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair

713-668-2110 (Houston)
214-234-8421 (Dallas)
1-800-368-7662
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Foundation Issue

Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 in New Construction | 0 comments

Cracks around windows are a foundation issue and indicate potential problems with the home's foundation.

Well, here we go again. Another “Minimally Functional Foundation.” This is an expensive house and it is displaying signs of foundation damage at one year of age. Perhaps these cracks are purely cosmetic but we are not optimistic because they have appeared shortly after construction and this homeowner clearly has a foundation issue.

Why would a new house have brick cracks around windows? The answer is fairly simple. The most common cause would be soil movement. The clay soils in this part of Texas will expand in volume when wet and will shrink in volume when they lose moisture. This expansion and contraction process places great stresses upon the concrete slab foundation. So the question is, “Is this home’s concrete foundation strong enough to resist these forces of nature?” The answer is “probably not.” Home foundations are built as cheaply as possible to save the home builder money. So the concrete is thinner than it could be and they likely has the absolute minimum of steel rebar installed at construction. That is why we call them “Minimally Functional Foundations.” If home builders included a little more steel rebar and made the slab a couple of inches thicker then a majority of home foundation problems in Texas would be avoided.

So here is our advice – Call an attorney and then call the home builder. You will want one or two foundation inspections from independent structural engineers. Once you have those engineering reports your attorney can guide you through the process.

The home builder must honor his warranty for the house for a period of 10 years. However, these warranties have their exceptions and “requirements” that can limit the options of the homeowner. In addition, if you can not reach an agreement with the home builder on the repair of the foundation then the homeowner will be forced by contract to submit to Mandatory Arbitration. This is BAD for the homeowner because this form of arbitration is heavily weighted in favor of the home builder and the homeowner has very limited rights and recourse. We are very critical of Mandatory Arbitration and the statistics reveal that 10% or fewer consumers (homeowners) win their case with this resolution method.

Our last piece of advice concerning this foundation issue is to NOT accept any recommendation for a cheap, low quality foundation repair (Pushed Piles). This is an expensive house, and probably a large house, and we recommend a Permanent, High Quality foundation repair method – Bell Bottom Piers.

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Dawson Was Recommended

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in General Interest | 0 comments

Dawson Foundation Repair obtains 50% of its new customers from referrals from past customers.

This Houston homeowner is requesting a foundation inspection after seeing a few cracks in the floor.  He is contacting us because two of his neighbors are foundation repair referrals. The good news is that it appears from the email that these cracks are not large.  The bad news is that his neighbors have had foundation problems in the past and his house is resting on the same clay soils and was probably built by the same home builder.  So it is likely that this homeowner will have similar foundation issues as his neighbors.

Of course we will need to inspect the house and its slab foundation. The elevation readings we collect from different parts of the house will greatly influence our recommendation. The best outcome for the home owner is that the foundation movement was minor and that he only needs to replace a few kitchen tiles. Another outcome, which is common, is that the foundation movement has been significant and that there has been uplift and / or settlement in one or more parts of the slab foundation. In these cases, our recommendation would be to install permanent Bell Bottom piers under those areas of the slab foundation that have settled and need support. We would also analyze the cause for any uplift, which is a less frequent problem. Uplift often occurs when there is an excess of water or moisture in one area of the soil that supports the foundation. This can occur with under slab plumbing leaks and poor drainage after rains.

Whatever the problem or problems, we will offer a comprehensive solution that will attempt to level the house as close as possible to the original elevation. The installed Bell Bottom piers will provide permanent stability and they have the ability to support 5 or 10 times the weight requirements. Therefore the home owner need not worry about placing heavy furniture or a home gym in the house. And garage areas with Bell Bottom Pier support will handle any weight of vehicle without difficulty.

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Foundation Cracks in Sugar Land

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Foundation cracks will usually get worse over time because clay soils move during weather changes.

This email is from a potential customer that owns a home in Sugar Land, Texas.  The home was built in 2009, making it only 7 years of age when the homeowner emailed us.  Interestingly, the homeowner stated that the foundation cracks have increased in size over the last 5 years.  So with simple arithmetic we can conclude that the house BEGAN to have foundation cracks only two years after construction.  This home is currently valued over $300,000 by the Ft. Bend County Appraisal District.

We feel a great deal of sympathy for homeowners in this situation because we feel they have been “shortchanged” by both the home builder and by Texas politicians.  We feel that have purchased a house with a “minimally functional foundation” that was designed to “survive” for 10 years – the liability period for new home builders.  Unfortunately, this new foundation was subjected to the punishing droughts of 2011 and 2013 which put tremendous stresses upon all area concrete slab foundations. The results were foundation cracks and all of the associated damage in the interior and exterior of the house.

We also feel sympathy for the homeowners because the home builders have been protected from lawsuits by the Texas politicians. All buyers of new homes sign a contract at the time of purchase to resolve all disputes with the home builder with Mandatory Arbitration.  Unfortunately the general public does not understand Mandatory Arbitration.  It is a “stacked deck” in which the business (home builder) defeat the consumer (home buyer) between 90% to 97% of the time. It is not a fair process and there are few legal protections for the consumer.

What will happen?

Then home owner can and should contact the home builder about the problems.  The home owner may want to contact an attorney also. However, the most likely result is the home builder will offer to “repair” the weakened slab foundation with an inferior and low quality foundation repair method – pushed piles.  The home builder’s goal is to “push” the problem beyond the 10 year mark and therefore avoid any future liability.

These low quality foundation repair methods will fail at some point in the future. We have seen it many times and a large percentage of our business is from homeowners with failed foundation repair jobs from other contractors.

The homeowner does have another option.  He / she can install permanent Bell Bottom Piers to stabilize and level the home. This will void the home builder’s warranty but it appears to us that the home builder’s warranty has little value.

We wish the situation were different.  It certainly would be if home builders built concrete slab foundations with more concrete and steel rebar.  We know contractors build better slab foundations for commercial clients because they don’t have any legal protection from lawsuits.  If the contractor builds an inferior concrete foundation for a commercial client then he is at great risk of being sued by the commercial client.  There is NO Mandatory Arbitration in these situations. Not so with homeowners.

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Mud Pumping Under Foundations

Posted by on Jul 5, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Voids under concrete slab foundations can be filled with a concrete / mud slurry.

This is an interesting email from a home owner. He wants to know if Dawson Foundation Repair will fill a void that was left by another foundation contractor. The answer is no.

Why?

First, we do think it is important to fill the voids that are under a home concrete foundation. This will provide the slab foundation with additional support when it is carrying heavy loads.

Second, we do not want to be liable for the failure of a foundation repair job of another contractor. This foundation contractor used an inferior and cheap method of foundation repair, pushed pilings. We simply don’t understand why owners of $500,000 homes want the lowest cost (lowest quality) foundation repair estimate they can find. We suspect this foundation contractor did not fill the void with a concrete / mud slurry because he hasn’t invested in the necessary equipment.

The conclusion is that you get what you pay for. If you want low cost then you will receive low quality. If you want high quality, and a permanent solution, then it will cost more. We install Bell Bottom Piers because they are stronger, more stable, have a large footprint, and can support loads 5 to 10 times greater than cheap repair methods.

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Foundation Problems Before Remodeling

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Before remodeling a house make sure the foundation is stable and level.

This is an interesting email because the new homeowner only received one estimate of his foundation problems prior to the purchase. Since we are the only company in Houston that installs the high quality Bell Bottom Piers, we know that the homeowner received a lower priced, lower quality estimate.

The homeowner and contractor are absolutely right about stabilizing and leveling the foundation before starting the remodeling work. During the leveling process the homeowner will see walls and joints move. Often the homeowner is surprised by the amount of leveling required.

A house in this price range is usually over 3000 square feet in size. So this could be a large foundation repair job. We haven’t seen it yet so we don’t know, nor can we speculate on an estimate.

Our advice is to get multiple estimates before making a decision about your foundation problems. We only offer a high quality PERMANENT solution so give us a call today.

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Foundation Problems Richmond Texas

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Don't ignore warning signs of foundation problems because they will usually get worse.

This house in Richmond is 19 years old at the time of this email. Given the foundation issues that were stated in the email, our first guess is that this house has never had any foundation work done on it.

The homeowner has listed 6 different warning signs of foundation problems. The third item, “ceiling sheet rock separating”, is of concern to us.  That is an indication of significant amounts of cracking and movement by the slab foundation.

Our advice to homeowners is to address these foundation issues earlier rather than later.  These issues never get better and almost always get worse over the years.  In addition, if there is too much foundation movement it could damage the under slab plumbing pipes.  And any under slab plumbing repair is expensive.

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Plumbing Problem Under Slab 75069

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Any water leak or plumbing problem under the concrete slab foundation is a serious problem.

Fairview, Texas, is north of Dallas and part of the Dallas metro area. The homeowner states that plumbing work is being done on a home that is only 10 years old. This is probably a home on a slab foundation that is experiencing movement.

The plumbing system and pipes under a house built in 2005 should last 50 to 100 years. The pipes should be made of PVC which has some degree flexibility. Unfortunately the homeowner is having plumbing problems after only 10 years.

The most likely cause of the homeowner’s under slab plumbing problems is soil movement, which is moving and cracking the slab foundation. The movement has become so great that it has broken some of the plumbing pipes. Unless the homeowner stabilizes and levels his concrete foundation, this plumbing problem will probably return in a short amount of time.

Our advice is to stabilize and level the foundation FIRST. Then the plumbing issues can be resolved.

We see these issues every day because most residential home builders build “minimally functional foundations.” That is, they use a minimum of concrete and steel rebar. These weaker concrete foundations simply cannot withstand the forces of nature after a period of time. In this case, it took about 10 years of moving, flexing, and cracking to cause significant and serious damage to the plumbing system.

We install Bell Bottom Piers – the Highest Quality Foundation Repair method available in Texas. It requires more concrete, more steel rebar, more labor, and more time as a repair method. But the end result is a permanent solution that is stronger and better able to handle very heavy loads.

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