Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair

713-668-2110 (Houston)
214-234-8421 (Dallas)
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What Does It Cost to Repair a Foundation?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

When homeowners suspect foundation damage, usually the fear of an expensive, time-consuming, and messy job results in pretending the problem isn’t there. In truth, however, waiting to repair your foundation can create additional problems and increased expenses. The better solution is to get the facts on foundation repair, and take action before the situation worsens. Then homeowners can better answer the question, “What Does It Cost to Repair a Foundation?”

Several variables can affect the overall cost of foundation repair, but the dominant factor is the repair method.  Methods of repair include Bell Bottom Pier, Pressed Piling, Pressed Piling with Inserts, and Steel Piling methods. The range of repair costs can be from $5000 to $25,000, depending on the method and size of the job.

Why is this range so great?

Different methods require varying amounts of labor, time to complete the job, some require more concrete, such as Bell Bottom Piers, and it’s worth noting that the Bell Bottom Pier method as done by Dawson Foundation includes steel rebar, not used in other methods. These costs and contractor expenses make it difficult to narrow the range of expenses, but a better way to break it down is a cost per pier or piling.

The average foundation repair job includes about 16 piers or pilings to repair the home’s foundation. Here’s what we find if we look at the retail prices charged by contractors from that perspective:

  • Bell Bottom Pier:                 $475 – 700/per pier
  • Pressed Piling:                    $150 – 400/per piling
  • Pressed Piling with Inserts:   $375 – 700/per piling

(For itemized detail on these prices, please see the “Comparative Chart” link at the bottom of this article.)


The cost for Bell Bottom Piers is higher due primarily to two differences in this method. Namely, there are almost twice as many man hours that go into this method, and the process of Mud Pumping increases the per pier cost if Mud Pumping is necessary. (Mud Pumping is not used on every repair job.)

This pier design – poured concrete reinforced with steel rebar – is the same design used in the construction of commercial multi-story buildings, bridges, and highway overpasses. It is a significantly more lasting method which can be seen in the fact that commercial buildings rarely experience foundation damage.

Most foundation repair companies will not offer the Bell Bottom Pier method because their profit margin is lowered with the additional materials and manpower required to complete the job. However, in spite of costs being 3.5 times greater to the company, Dawson Foundation Repair believes this is the only proven and reliable method worthy of a customer’s long-term safety and satisfaction.

While most homeowners aren’t thrilled at the thought of foundation repair costs, it’s important to remember that a home is the biggest investment that most people make. Keeping the home in safe and marketable condition is well worth it.

Dawson Foundation Repair installs Bell Bottom Piers because it is the Highest Quality Foundation Repair method available in Texas for homeowners.  Do you think the various methods of  stacked concrete cylinders can compare?  They can’t and the structural engineers at A-1 Engineering call them “temporary” and “almost useless.” That is why we install Bell Bottom Piers.

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Is Mud Pumping Necessary?

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in General Interest | 5 comments

When a homeowner begins to look into the problem of foundation damage, several questions usually arise. At some point, the term “Mud Pumping” is likely to come up. But what is it, and is it necessary?

Getting the facts is vital to making wise decisions for your home. Foundation damage largely results from changes in soil moisture that causes soil movement under your home’s foundation. When this shrinking and swelling of clay soil occurs repeatedly over time, the strain placed on the concrete slab leads to damage to both the foundation and the home. When the foundation is damaged, gaps and voids can be created under your home, and mud pumping is a part of the repair process.

Repairing the concrete slab foundation involves supporting and leveling the slab. Most of the focus, rightly so, is on the foundation. When portions of that slab have cracked and collapsed (settlement) they must be raised and supported, and often a substantial void is created between the bottom of the foundation and the soil. This is now an open air pocket under the foundation and nothing is supporting the majority of the foundation above. If repair efforts are stopped with the slab only, the repaired and leveled foundation will have to “bridge” these voids with no support. A residential concrete slab foundation was never designed to function as a bridge. Foundations are engineered to rest on level soil. Mud pumping fills these voids by pumping a mixture of soil and cement – “mud” – under the newly leveled foundation. Both the foundation support system and the voids must be addressed to ensure that your home is secure and stabilized.

Most foundation repair companies will NOT complete the job with mud pumping, and it’s important to insist on this step for your home. Mud pumping is expensive for the repair company, as the machinery involved is more expensive than any other equipment in the repair process. There are additional elements of time needed to perform the mud pumping, too. And, the homeowner may be asked to take certain protective steps like turning on flowing water, running washing machines, etc. to avoid clogging in the pipes. However, mud pumping will avoid additional repair needs at a later time, and it is well worth the extra time and investment. Many companies will try to suggest that this is an optional service, but that would be a mistake. It may be a bit more time consuming to complete the job, but an incomplete foundation repair makes little sense when so much is at stake in your home.

All of our foundations are at the mercy of the weather. We cannot eliminate the risk of soil shrinkage during extreme heat or soil expansion during heavy periods of rain.  However, we can understand how it affects our home’s foundation and take steps to avoid damage.

Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Plano, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and other smaller cities. If you have questions about the stages of foundation repair, or you know that you have existing foundation problems, we are here to provide you with a professional opinion, and if necessary, a proven, time-tested, and permanent house leveling solution.

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Can Root Barricades Save My Foundation From Damage?

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Foundation damage can result from several factors including under slab plumbing leaks, variations in moisture in the soil surrounding our foundation, poor landscaping patterns that affect water flow around our homes, and other similar causes. The consistent element in these factors is moisture control, which can be greatly impacted by large trees on your property. Many homeowners assume that the root structures of the trees are “growing into” the foundation and causing the damage. However, the real cause is what the tree roots are “looking for” and the result of that.

In a quest for water, many trees will soak up unusual amounts of water from the soil on which our homes rest, most often near the perimeter of the home. Trees with particularly extensive root systems can be the most damaging if growing too near the home itself. When the moisture levels are depleted on one side of the home but not on the other, the foundation’s soil shrinks up in uneven patterns and this can lead to foundation damage. Trees of this type – Live Oak, Red Oak, Arizona Ash, and Chinese Tallow – should not be placed near the perimeter of your home if at all possible. The best guideline is to place trees of this type no closer to the home than the approximate height of the mature tree. This will allow for the root systems to spread out naturally, taking moisture from other areas of your soil, rather than from the soil underneath your foundation.

But what if you already have a tree of this type fairly close to your home’s foundation? Will a root barricade save your foundation from damage? Yes and No. The best solution is to remove the tree before damage can occur. In some cases, trees can be relocated on your property, but sacrificing the tree is a small cost if it saves your foundation from damage.

However, if the tree(s) cannot be removed, root barricades can offer some benefit. A specialized Plexiglas shield, or barricade, made from overlapping sheets of plastic can be inserted into the soil approximately 3-5’ from the foundation of your home. This shield will be pushed approximately 30” down into the soil. By creating this barricade in front of your foundation where the tree is located, the root system will be forced to find water from other areas of your soil.

A root barricade will not fix the problem if damage to your foundation has already occurred. It will only hamper further damage, but exterior damage may already have been done. Because the moisture levels of the foundation’s soil can be affected by a continually growing tree, it’s likely that only interior damage will be prevented by installing a root barricade. Exterior damage can still occur if the homeowner is not diligently monitoring overall foundation moisture levels. Doing that is the only way to actively protect your home from foundation damage.

Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and other smaller cities. If you have questions about tree roots that might be damaging your foundation, or you know that you have existing foundation problems, we are here to provide you with a professional opinion, and if necessary, a proven, time-tested, and permanent house leveling solution.

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What Can I Do to Avoid Foundation Damage?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

No one chooses to cause damage to their home’s foundation. When foundation damage occurs, Dawson Foundation Repair offers the only comprehensive and permanent solution for repair. In some cases, however, a few simple steps by the homeowner could have helped to avoid the damage in the first place. That would have saved the homeowner considerable time and money. But what would those steps have looked like?

First Step

The primary cause of foundation damage, as we’ve described before, has to do with the strain placed on a foundation when moisture levels shrink and swell the ground under the homes. So, the first step that homeowners can take is to maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil around their home.

This might include:

  • Year-round, evenly watering the slab around the home with soaker hoses (7 to 12 inches from the grade beam) or using a buried foundation watering system
  • Using sprinkler systems to assist in even soil conditions, but ensuring that some of the sprinkler heads are covering the slab areas
  • Cleaning out gutters near the foundation that tend to pool water – always keeping water flowing smoothly away from the home’s slab
  • Clearing away debris and locating downspouts so that water is carried at least 5-6’ away from the slab – even when using splash blocks
  • Watching carefully for under slab plumbing leaks that can flood the soil without leaving visible traces of the leak (*Check water bills regularly for unexplained spikes in your water usage.)

Second Step

The second step of preventative maintenance is related to flower beds and the landscaping that lines the home’s foundation. Moisture levels must be controlled in these areas as well. Homeowners can be very passionate about a beautiful landscape, but correct landscaping will include several features to protect the home’s slab. Homeowners should never sacrifice the foundation for the sake of beauty! Make sure that any landscaping includes slab protection techniques.

These include:

  • Finishing out garden beds so that the slab is 3-4” above the finished ground
  • Sloping of the garden beds against the home’s exterior wall – not flush to the wall. (Slope should be 5% or more, depending on the underground drainage systems.)
  • Keeping weep holes open and unobstructed by landscape beds.

Third Step

Related to moisture management in garden beds is the protection of the slab from trees or large roots near the home’s foundation. This step requires thinking ahead or corrective action after the fact. Trees will mature and grow, and as they do, their root systems will expand. They will soak up large amounts of water, but in addition to that, the roots will actually invade the foundation. Whenever possible, trees should be planted no closer to the home’s slab than the height of the mature tree. However, if it is too late for this consideration, homeowners may want to consider taking further action.

This might include:

  • Removing the tree altogether
  • Pruning the tree’s limbs and branches so that they don’t extend over the frame of the home (Pruning has been shown to limit the span of the roots underground in some cases.)
  • Installing a root barricade which creates a barrier 3-5’ from the home’s foundation

If you have questions about any of these steps or foundation repair methods, we are here to provide you with a professional opinion, and if necessary, a proven, time-tested, and permanent house leveling solution. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Plano, Dallas, Houston, Sugar Land, Victoria, The Woodlands, San Antonio, and other small cities.

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What’s the Difference In Foundation Repair Methods?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

When a homeowner determines that their home’s foundation may be damaged or failing them, the first feelings are ones of concern and confusion. The foundation of a home has everything to do with the safety and comfort of those who live in it, and when a repair is needed, getting honest and clear information is critical for the owner. The homeowners can become perplexed over the difference in foundation repair methods, but understanding that there is a difference, is the first step to evaluating the best solution.

In Texas, because of the nature of soil conditions, climate variances, and home construction materials, there are essentially four primary methods used to repair a home’s foundation. They include:

  • Bell Bottom Pier Method
  • Pressed Piling Method
  • Pressed Piling with Inserts Method
  • Steel Piling Method

Briefly, let’s look at each of the methods.

  • Bell Bottom Pier Method – This design consists of a rebar-reinforced (steel), concrete pier installed under the home’s foundation with a bell-shaped base at the bottom. This foundation support is the same type used in the construction of commercial multi-story buildings, bridges, and highway overpasses.
  • Pressed Piling Method – This design involves the pressing down of individual, unconnected concrete cylinders into the soil where the repair is needed. The weight of the home is used to drive the cylinders into the soil.
  • Pressed Piling with Inserts Method – This method takes Pressed Pilings one step further by reinforcing the concrete cylinders with an insert, usually rebar.
  • Steel Piling Method – Unlike Pressed Pilings methods using concrete which can break during installation, Steel Pilings use the strength of steel cylinders to overcome the more fragile nature of concrete. The process of installation is similar to other Piling methods using the force of the home for installation.

Which is better for your home?

As you might be able to guess from the brief descriptions above, there are disadvantages to the Piling methods. The depth of the pilings is limited by the weight of the home which means that the pilings may or may not reach stable soil to adequately secure your foundation. Since there is no base to the piling methods, the shifting of soil over time can affect the pilings as well. Concrete cylinders may break during installation and go unnoticed during the process. (Think how fragile patio pavers can be!) Even steel pilings, while not likely to break, are not as thick as concrete, and they can give way to the pressure of shifting soil over time. There are other disadvantages to the Pressed Piles methods, but what about the Bell Bottom Pier method?

Bell Bottom Pier

The advantages to this method are significant, and in fact, this method is the only thoroughly researched and proven foundation slab repair method. The soil is tested for strength and the size of the bell and shaft can be custom designed to match the home’s engineering needs. Safely factors are built into each pier, and no damaging forces are exerted on the home during repair. This method has become the “gold standard” of foundation repair among engineers and satisfied customers. This is the only method that Dawson Foundation Repair uses, and we offer a FREE foundation inspection for homeowners and commercial property owners.

Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Plano, Dallas, Houston, Sugar Land, San Antonio, and other smaller cities. If you have questions about methods of repairing your foundation, how it might affect your family or office, or just general questions about foundation problems, we are here to provide you with a professional opinion, and if necessary, a proven, time-tested, and permanent house leveling solution. Bell Bottom Piers – proven and permanent.

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