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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3 Factors to Consider – Symptoms, Methods, and Costs of Foundation Repair

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

Homeowners understand that there will be things that need repair around their house as time goes by. Painting, updating appliances, replacing fixtures – these are all regularly anticipated by homeowners. However, once an appraisal is done and a home is purchased, most homeowners don’t think much about having to repair their foundation. In fact, they hope to avoid this experience at all costs. But living in Texas, foundation repair is as much a part of life as replacing your refrigerator or dishwasher, and there are several factors to consider when researching your options.

Symptoms: When should you repair your foundation?

When a home’s foundation has been compromised, there will be warning signs or symptoms of the damage that’s taken place. These warning signs may take the form of interior cracks in the walls, often appearing near doors or windows. Or, exterior symptoms may appear. Stress cracks may show up in the mortar of your brick veneer, the bricks may crack, or the brick veneer may actually pull away from the windows and facings of your home. Window frames may warp, and in extreme cases, glass windows may break due to external pressures being forced upon them as the home’s foundation fails. Clearly, the time to repair your foundation is before the damage extends to your walls, frame, or roof. (Read more about the warning signs here.)

Methods: What methods are used to repair your foundation?

There are 4 commonly used methods to repair home foundations in Texas. These include the Bell Bottom Pier, Pressed Piling, Pressed Piling with Inserts, and Steel Piling methods. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, but homeowners cannot make wise decisions about foundation repair without understanding the differences in the methods. While the Pressed Piling methods are generally less expensive, the Bell Bottom Pier method has proven to be the most reliable method over time. (Read more about the various methods here.)

Costs: What will it cost to repair your foundation?

The most common question about foundation repair is, “the bottom line,” or “how much will it cost?” However, this question is largely a factor of the method used to repair your home’s foundation. Cost is certainly a consideration, but only after you have gained an understanding of the differences between methods. The cheapest option is not always the best, and in fact, may result in additional expenses down the road. Choose your method first, carefully, and cost becomes secondary. (Read more about the cost of foundation repair here.)

Dawson Foundation Repair installs only Bell Bottom Piers for homeowners and commercial property owners. Bell Bottom Piers have far more advantages over any other method of foundation repair and we feel the homeowner should receive the best option available. Bell Bottom Piers are considered the Highest Quality foundation repair method available in the state of Texas.  Bell Bottom Piers are far better than the various stacked concrete cylinder methods. Ask any independent structural engineer.

 

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Foundation Repair Methods – The Problem with Pressed Pilings

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

There are several methods of foundation repair, and many companies use a method called Pressed Pilings or Pressed Piles. Pressed Pilings, with or without Inserts, can be done with concrete or steel cylinders. This method is common because it is significantly cheaper to install than the Bell Bottom Pier method. This raises their profit margin, and a lower cost appeals to most homeowners. They don’t realize, however, that they’ll likely have problems in the future. There are many problems with pressed pilings. Pressed Piling methods have major disadvantages, and every homeowner should get the facts before hiring a foundation repair company.

What are the problems of pressed pilings as a foundation repair method? Here are 3 significant issues to consider:

1. Depth – Pressed pilings use a series of cylinders that are pressed into the soil using the weight of the home itself to drive them into the ground. These cylinders will reach a point where they cannot be driven any further based on the pressure from the home’s weight. This point is called the “point of refusal,” and it may not be the point where the soil actually becomes stable. It may only be the point where the home’s weight ceases to drive the pilings any further. For this reason, the pilings may not be deep enough to offer the home stable support. This makes the home subject to the further movement, just as it was before the work was done.

2. Breakage – As with anything that is exposed to external pressure, the cylinders can crack or break from the driving weight of the home. The individual cylinders are not secured. They may or may not be able to individually withstand the weight of the home during the driving process. If this happens, the breakage cannot be seen, and the resulting pilings are unstable. Homeowners will be left unaware of the problem until they see additional signs of foundation damage at a later date.

3. Alignment – In the same way that the cylinders can break, pressed pilings can also be improperly aligned during the installation. If the cylinder hits a rock, a tree root, or any other obstruction when being driven into the soil, the cylinders can be placed at an incorrect angle, as the obstruction redirects their alignment. This misalignment cannot be seen until it’s too late. If the pilings aren’t installed at the proper angles, they become virtually worthless, because they offer no support. Misalignment, in fact, is the most frequent problem, and most important disadvantage to be aware of.

We believe the pressed piling method of foundation repair has significant disadvantages. We encourage homeowners to review what engineers have to say about the problems of pressed pilings as well. For these reasons, Dawson Foundation Repair installs only Bell Bottom Piers for homeowners and commercial property owners.

We believe Bell Bottom Piers have far more advantages over any other method of foundation repair. Bell Bottom Piers is the Highest Quality foundation repair method available in Texas. Bell Bottom Piers have a Load Capacity that is 5.8 times greater than the cheaper stacked concrete cylinders methods.  Bell Bottom Piers have a foot or “footprint” for stability that is 13 times greater  than the cheaper stacked concrete cylinders methods.

The structural engineers at A-1 Engineering have a very blunt opinion about these cheaper stacked concrete cylinder methods and have called them “temporary” and “almost useless.”

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4 Key Questions You Should Ask of a Foundation Repair Company

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

Before you sign the contract with a contractor to repair your foundation, there are some critical questions you should ask in order to be assured that you are choosing a professional company that will deliver the most reliable and proven repairs for your home’s foundation. There are others, too, but start with these four critical questions when choosing a foundation repair company.

1. What method of foundation repair do you use? There are a variety of methods used to repair foundations, but the methods vary in quality. Some methods are fast and cheap – and usually temporary. Other foundation repair methods require more time, more labor, and more concrete and steel rebar – and are PERMANENT.  The method chosen by independent structural engineers and proving to have the most effective long-term results is the Bell Bottom Pier method, the method used by Dawson Foundation Repair. Never make assumptions that other foundation contractors are using this method. In fact most do NOT, because it is a higher cost and lower profit business model for the foundation repair company.

2. Am I going to have to sign a Mandatory Arbitration clause? Mandatory (Forced) Arbitration sometimes sounds like a good idea for the consumer in an attempt to protect your rights, however in reality, we feel it is a racket to protect foundation contractors and other businesses that  produce shoddy work. When there are problems with work performed and consumers are FORCED into Arbitration, recent studies have shown that 90% – 99% of the rulings favor the business, not the consumer.  And Mandatory (Forced) Arbitration eliminates many rights of the consumer. For example, the business chooses the for-profit arbitration company, a clear conflict of interest.  What most people do not understand is that in arbitration there is no judge, no jury, no appeal, and no public record. In addition, the arbitrator is NOT required to follow the law. And there is NO requirement for an arbitrator to publicly disclose the reasons for his or her decision. It is a very UNFAIR system for the consumer.

3. What independent agencies endorse your work? Foundation repair companies should be able to provide you with independent reviews and recommendations from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, engineering groups, home builder’s organizations, etc. These, along with customer testimonials, are excellent ways to do your homework on a foundation repair company before you trust them with your greatest investment.

4. Will you test the soil under my home? This may not seem like an obvious question, but the structure and security of your home’s foundation has everything to do with the soil upon which it rests. Part of a professional foundation repair job therefore, should include soil testing, preferably with an understanding of how your soil affects the engineering-related elements of foundation repair. For instance, the correct depth of the piers used to repair your home’s foundation is a factor of several things, including the type and condition of soil under your home. Because of this, soil testing becomes very important to a permanent foundation repair solution.

Every company from which you are requesting estimates should be able to respond to these four questions. Don’t fail to ask them, and take every precaution to get the facts before you hire a company to repair your home’s foundation.

Dawson Foundation Repair installs Bell Bottom Piers for homeowners and commercial property owners because we know the cheap, stacked concrete cylinder methods often fail. We offer a proven and permanent solution to level and repair your foundation.

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Engineering and Foundation Repair

Posted by on Sep 3, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

Trusting your home to a foundation repair company requires a great deal of confidence in the company you hire to do the work. This confidence comes much easier if you have done your research and understand the technical side of how your foundation will be repaired – specifically, the engineering aspect of it. Because so much is at stake, many homeowners will hire an engineer to help them make a wise decision, and this is an excellent option. At a minimum, however, you should understand what engineers have to say on this subject of foundation repair. So it is wise to have some understanding about engineering and foundation repair.

Independent Structural Engineers are not associated with a particular foundation repair company, so who better to assess the structural condition of your home than an engineer? Engineers will take different factors into consideration when evaluating your home. The first is the actual structure. Construction materials vary and while the average weight of a home is approximately 1,000 pounds per foot at its perimeter, the materials used in construction have an effect on the stability of the foundation. Secondly, an engineer will consider the makeup of the soil. As we’ve addressed in earlier articles, the soil’s expansion and shrinkage over time due to varying moisture conditions is the greatest stressor on a home’s foundation.

The soil in your geographic location has much to do with the specifics of a foundation repair job. For instance, the depth of piers or pilings used in the repair will need to be adjusted based on your soil. At Dawson, we perform soil testing on your site to a depth of 15’ in order to confirm the condition of the soil at deeper levels. Qualified engineers recommend this testing process as a part of a foundation repair job, however not all companies provide this service.

Clearly not everyone wishes to become an engineer or spend hours reading over technical information in the process of selecting a foundation repair company. But, getting the facts before you make this investment will give you a greater peace of mind that you have chosen the best method of safeguarding your home. Having the experience and time-tested opportunity to work with many highly qualified engineers, we believe the only conclusive repair method is drilled bell-bottom piers, which is the only method that we use at Dawson Foundation Repair. However, we strongly encourage you to review some of the additional information on our website including several reports and in-depth studies put out by engineers specializing in conditions like those we see in Texas. Educate yourself about engineering and foundation repair.

Did we tell you about the structural engineers at A-1 Engineering in Austin and San Antonio? Well, they have some very strong opinions about the various stacked concrete cylinder methods (pressed piles) installed by most foundation repair contractors in Texas.  They call these various methods “temporary” and “almost useless.”  So, do you want an “almost useless” foundation repair job? 

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