Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair

713-668-2110 (Houston)
214-234-8421 (Dallas)
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What is Mandatory Arbitration?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

Before you hire a contractor to perform foundation repairs on your home’s foundation, you must understand a critical term. This term may show up in the contract you’ll be asked to sign, and it’s important to understand why it’s so pivotal. Known as “Mandatory Arbitration,” this term is found in the clauses of many Texas foundation repair contracts, and if it’s in the agreement you are being asked to sign, don’t sign it! Mandatory arbitration is not in your best interests as a consumer, and unfortunately, far too many homeowners fail to understand this before work begins on their home.

Binding Mandatory Arbitration (BMA) clauses are presented to consumers as solutions to potential disputes between a consumer, such as yourself, and a contractor. The theory is that if you have a problem with the repair work when performed, you will have a convenient option of meeting with an arbitrator, supposedly neutral, who will help solve the dispute in an impartial and fair way without having to file a lawsuit against the company. Consumers are told that this will save them considerable money and time in having any problems resolved.

However, there are several realities to consider in understanding the problems with BMA clauses.

  • Mandatory arbitration rulings are final, and they cannot be appealed.
  • The arbitrators are chosen by the company who has done the work, not by the consumer.
  • If the consumer loses the arbitration ruling, the consumer can be held liable for the expenses of the company in addition to their own expenses.
  • Arbitrators are not required to explain their rulings or the reasons they decide in favor of one party over another.
  • In many cases, the cost of arbitration ends up being higher than the cost of a lawsuit due to a variety of expenses that can be charged to the consumer under the blanket term, “Arbitration Expenses.”
  • More than 90% of arbitration cases are lost by consumers and won by the companies they’ve met in arbitration.
  • There is no judge, no jury, no appeal, and no public record in a mandatory arbitration ruling.
  • Arbitration companies are “for profit” and touted by big businesses.

Mandatory Arbitration or BMA clauses may show up in contracts by other similar names, so it’s important to read any contracts carefully before hiring a foundation repair company. Any clause in a contract that takes away your right to seek legal resolution is a contract that should not be signed.

Dawson Foundation Repair does NOT include Mandatory Arbitration clauses in our agreements with our customers. We believe that they are unfair, and are designed to protect companies performing less-than-reliable workmanship. Because we believe that Bell Bottom Piers provide the only proven method of foundation repair, and because it is the only method of repair we offer, we invite you to review our record with the Better Business Bureau or ask us about our Lifetime Service Agreement. We service homes and commercial businesses all over Texas and we have been doing so without mandatory arbitration since 1984.

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Foundation Repair-The Advantages of Bell Bottom Piers

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

So you have had an inspection done and your suspicions have been confirmed. Your home has foundation damage, and it needs repair. You’ve begun to do some research into what’s involved, but one distinction keeps coming to the surface – Pressed Pilings vs. Bell Bottom Piers. Why do most companies use pilings and others, such as Dawson Foundation Repair, only use Bell Bottom Piers?

Simply put, most companies use Pressed Pilings because the profits to the company are greater. Fewer man hours are required and materials, generally speaking, are less expensive with Pressed Pilings. So why then would any company use Bell Bottom Piers? We believe the advantages of the Bell Bottom Pier method have proven to offer the most reliable and time-tested solution for foundation repair, so let’s look at some of those advantages.


1. Soil Testing – With Bell Bottom Piers, your soil will be tested down to a depth of 15-18 feet. Soil testing is the only way to ensure that the piers are installed to the correct depth for reaching stable soil. If stable soil is not confirmed during installation, your home’s foundation can sustain additional damage over time.

2. Visual Installation Inspection – During installation, the shape of the bell, its angle of installation, and the depth of the shaft can all be seen and inspected visually. This eliminates the possibility of misalignment and skewing that goes unseen with pressed piles, and visual confirmation ensures the integrity of your installation.

3. Steel Support – In both the shaft and cap of the Bell Bottom Piers, steel rebar is added for stability and strength. Three ½” rebars are added into the shaft, and 2 layers of rebar in the cap, giving extra reinforcement to the overall design.

4. Solid Base – Bell Bottom Piers are named for the large, high strength concrete bottoms, 22” in width, that provide a solid base to the piers, something not offered in the piling methods.

5. Prevention of Uplift – Bell Bottom Piers prevent future uplift, the upward movement of one area of your original foundation due to expansive soils. Other methods of foundation repair may not withstand potential uplift.

6. Furniture Distribution – With Bell Bottom Piers, the homeowner can rearrange or add heavy furniture to the home without any concern for damage to the foundation. With other methods of foundation repair, rearranging heavy items may result in additional foundation movement and failure of the repair job.

The disadvantage to Bell Bottom Piers as you might imagine is that some of these extra measures and the more rigidly engineered design increase the cost of materials to the contractor as well as the hours of labor and manpower. These costs are reflected in the cost to the homeowner, but in the long run, there is no more reliable method of foundation repair than the Bell Bottom Pier method.

Because we believe Bell Bottom Piers have far more advantages than any other method of foundation repair, it is the only method we use. It is the highest quality foundation repair method available in Texas. We’ve built our reputation on this method and since 1984, have proven its effectiveness with numerous satisfied customers. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas.

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Foundation Repair: What to Expect At Your Inspection

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

Not all foundation repair companies are created equal, and neither is the process of having your home inspected for foundation damage. Homeowners should have all of the facts before deciding how to repair their foundation, and that includes an understanding of what an inspection will look like when inspectors come to your home.

The first phase of a foundation inspection begins outside. The home should be measured and examined around the perimeter of your home. Inspectors will be looking for any warning signs of damage, including those sometimes overlooked by homeowners. Notations should be made of things such as brick separating from walls and window casings, cracks, deflection in grout lines, or other signs of foundation failure. These areas should be clearly noted on a drawing of your home for easy reference.

The second phase moves the inspection indoors. Foundation damage, if present, can create evidence both inside and outside of your home, and so both areas must be examined. From the inside, it’s very important to take floor elevations of the interior flooring in your home, taking into account different flooring types – carpet, wood, tile, etc. Some of your interior walls may be added to the drawing at this point and when combined with the flooring elevations, a complete representation of your home’s slab should begin to be evident.

In the third phase, the inspector will consider interior movement. This might include cracks in your walls and sheetrock, doors that no longer close, or separation of trusses, rafters, and joists in the attic.  These are usually the issues that prompt a homeowner to call to a foundation repair company in the first place, but they are taken into account only in this phase of the inspection. One of the unique factors that must be considered when analyzing different elevations in a home is whether the differences are due to soil and slab movement or due to the fact that the concrete slab was not level the day it was poured. This requires a highly trained and knowledgeable inspector to determine.

And lastly, an inspector should be able to clearly outline for you any areas of foundation failure as well as areas that are merely the result of minor settling. Foundation repair is not always warranted, and often the structural integrity of your home is not at risk. Some cracks or settling may present cosmetic nuisances, but repairs may or may not be needed, and this should be clearly explained for you at this time.

However, if the inspector determines that your home is in need of foundation repair, it is very important to have a written estimate outlining the method of repair that will be used. There are several methods used in Texas, and like foundation repair companies, they are not all equal in terms of permanence or preference by structural engineers.

At Dawson Foundation Repair, we offer free inspections for home owners whose homes are not involved in real estate transactions. If you are seeking an inspection for that reason, we suggest you seek the opinion of a Structural Engineer with experience in residential slab foundations. However, for homeowners who are seeking the best solutions for their home, we offer our permanent, proven, and time-tested solutions for your home. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas. Call us today for a free inspection and assessment.

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Retaining Walls and Your Home’s Foundation

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in General Interest | 2 comments

Did you know that there can be a connection between your home’s foundation and its retaining walls? Most homeowners think of retaining walls as purely ornamental designs to complement sloping landscapes, add terracing, or for creating garden beds. However, there can be much more to a retaining wall than just those reasons.

What Is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall, when done properly, is a uniquely crafted system for preventing the movement of soil and controlling water flow. Soil that would otherwise drain off in rain or blow away over time when dry, can be better protected with the addition of a retaining wall. A retaining wall doesn’t have to be an eyesore, and in fact, it can become a part of a beautifully landscaped yard, but it can do more than that, too.

How Can a Retaining Wall Benefit My Foundation?

Because your home’s foundation is affected by the soil underneath it, protecting your soil is an important part of foundation maintenance. When the soil under your home shifts, shrinks, swells, or erodes, your foundation can be put at risk. A retaining wall can help move flowing water appropriately, and therefore reduce the risk of soil erosion around your foundation. This added protection for your home’s foundation is a significantly less expensive option for prevention than doing nothing and facing a foundation repair at a later date.

How Do I Know If I Need a Retaining Wall?

Before you put in a retaining wall on your property, it is best to have a land survey done or seek professional input. Because they control the flow of water and prevent soil erosion, retaining walls can affect other areas of your home or even your neighbor’s home by moving water away from portions of the landscape that previously received water. Professionals who can properly address the impact of water flow changes can help you avoid unexpected problems. In addition, improperly constructed retaining walls will not offer the same benefits, so it’s important to seek the input of professionals who can suggest materials and suitable designs for your particular situation.

Retaining walls may not work in every area, but they may be a good option in some geographic locations. Consider the connection between your home and a retaining wall if you live in more sloping, uneven terrain, or are prone to soil erosion in your area.

Call us today for a free inspection and assessment of your home’s foundation needs. Bell Bottom Piers are the Highest Quality foundation repair method available to homeowners in Texas.

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