Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair

713-668-2110 (Houston)
214-234-8421 (Dallas)
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5 Phase Inspection

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in General Interest | 0 comments

Dawson Foundation Repair InspectionYou probably know the visible signs indicating a problem with your home’s foundation. But you think to yourself, “That crack has been there for the longest and there is no sign that it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s not a foundation issue.” So you hold off on doing anything about it.

Dawson Foundation Repair can ease the burden for you. Dawson provides a 5 phase foundation inspection that can reveal the status of the concrete slab under your home. These inspections provide the information needed for the homeowner to make the best decision possible.

The first phase of the inspection is measure the exterior of your home. The perimeter is measured and close inspections are made of the fascia boards, the casing of windows and doors and the brick walls. The cracks will be obvious, but sometimes the separation around these materials goes unnoticed. Likewise, the wall of brick exterior could be buckling inward or bulging outward. Here are other more easily detectable problems.

The second phase performed by our qualified and experienced staff is to draw the layout of your home and measure the elevations. Yes, your floor has different elevations. There is no way to know whether it was poured that way. To get an idea of what is measured, think of it as if water were poured into your home until the highest point of your floor is just barely covered with water. (No, we don’t actually pour water into your house!) From that highest point, there will be some spots where the water is barely covering the floor, some where the water is a quarter of an inch deep, perhaps even an inch or two. All elevations are measured, giving our experts an accurate reading of your exterior, interior and flooring.

Then, phase three is the analysis of this data. Our foundation experts compare the external with the internal data and make the best informed estimation of any problems that might exist with the slab.

The fourth phase involves the customer. Our experts walk you around and through the house while showing the detailed diagram of the inspection. Sometimes there are no problems with the foundation. Many problems are cosmetic (without affecting the integrity of the foundation structure) or indicate home maintenance that is needed. Our proven professionals will help the customer understand the cost of any repair and will explain how other bids appear to provide great savings.

The last phase is the comparison of foundation repair methods on the market. Dawson Foundation Repair uses the gold standard of repair technology—the bell bottom pier system. (For a detailed explanation of what that is, click here.) The Dawson experts will sit down with you and make sure you ask all the right questions and that you know what the best answers are to ensure your home’s value in the coming years.

Our five phase inspection is free. However, we have a policy not to provide this service free for any properties that are involved in real estate transactions. Our many years of experience has shown us that the owners of properties being sold usually tend to go the cheapest route of repair and leave the problem for the next homeowner. Our ethic is different, just like our bell bottom pier methods. It is easy to get a free inspection. Call any one of our Dawson Foundation Repair offices and make an appointment.

Dawson Foundation Repair installs Bell Bottom Piers exclusively. There is a reason for that.  Bell Bottom Piers is the highest quality foundation repair method available to homeowners in Texas.

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Bell Bottom Piers – The Gold Standard

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

gold standard of foundation repairDawson Foundation Repair has staked its reputation on utilizing the bell bottom pier method of foundation repair since 1984. For almost thirty years this method has proven to last longer and withstand more foundation stress than all other forms of foundation repair.

How did bell bottom piers become the reliable “gold standard” among foundation repair experts? Well, it has several things going for it. But it probably helps to know how a little of the history.

You have to go back to the early 20th century in San Antonio, Texas. With the Alamo City growing at a record pace during the early 1900s, one of the city’s pressing concerns was the need to widen Commerce Street. A major obstacle was the historic five-story, marble-clad Alamo National Bank Building (ANB), which was directly in the road’s path. After agreeing to move its building in 1913, the bank called on a young Willard E. Simpson for assistance. Simpson was a graduate of MIT and returned to his hometown to work. His creative solution to moving the ANB while allowing the bank to remain operational during the entire moving process was to utilize 1,800 simultaneously controlled screw jacks to raise the building onto rollers. The building was then slid onto rollers, then on to its new foundation several hundred yards away from the street widening. No one thought it would work, but it did!

Because of the success of this and other engineering innovations, Simpson was the first to be inducted into the Engineering Hall of Honor by the Structural Engineers Association of Texas in 2005.

It was Simpson who first realized that one of his buildings was suffering severe damage due to soil movement. Soil erosion was well-known and many structural designs had planned for erosion. But, soil movement had not been studied, researched and considered in the designing of buildings. Geotechnical engineering had not concerned itself with expansive soils.

So what’s a good engineer to do? Right. Go and figure out a solution. Simpson undertook to observe and analyze foundation soil because his large buildings required the most secure footing to endure decades of service. One day he saw a local well driller drilling for water. The driller had a mule and an auger. An auger is a large tool with a spiral bit to drill holes in the ground. The driller would stick the auger in the ground and walk the mule around in a circle to have the auger bore into the ground. Simpson had come across the solution to finding support for his large building foundations. Initially, Simpson merely drilled a hole and filled it with concrete. Thus, the “drilled pier” foundation support system was created.

But buildings were getting larger and heavier. Simpson made an adjustment to his design that would be more weight-bearing. He reamed out the bottom of the drilled shafts, creating a much larger bell-shaped foot that could support greater weights. This was done by lowering a man into the hole and the man would hand carve a bell bottom. That is how the bell bottom pier was born. It is so effective and durable that it has been used for 100 years to support buildings and bridges and broad expanses like highway overpasses.

The development of bell bottom piers was such a significant structural improvement that it earned Simpson the incredible recognition of being the first inducted into the Hall of Honor. Frankly, there has been no engineering evolution to foundation design that has had the same structural impact. Dawson Foundation Repairs used this researched method of foundation repair to give its customers security in the repair done and value in their home for years to come. All other designs are measured against the bell bottom pier design and the bell bottom piers still outperform all others. That is why it is the gold standard of foundation repairs.

Dawson Foundation Repair installs only Bell Bottom Piers for a reason.  It is the Highest Quality foundation repair method available.  All of the stacked concrete cylinders methods fall far short of the quality and permanence of Bell Bottom Piers.

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Winter’s Effect on Your Foundation

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in General Interest | 1 comment

Meteorologists in the area are predicting a rather mild winter for our part of the country. The large numbers of hurricanes and storms in the Caribbean have left a pocket of warm air and the cold northern fronts seem to be moving mostly eastward and not southeastward. El Niño probably will camp out in our neck of the woods for winter. Yet, it might still be cold enough in Texas, especially in the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex and north, that your foundation might be affected. What is winter’s effect on foundations.

Cold weather conditions are generally understood to be defined as three consecutive days of temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not necessarily have to freeze to be considered cold weather. Quite often we have many such cold weather events in Texas and your foundation could be affected by that weather.

Cold weather could cause “frost heave”. Frost heave is the buckling (heaving) of the ground due to cold weather freezing. If the ground heaves, your foundation could crack or lose its integrity. There are three factors that can cause the soil to heave:

  • The soil is frost susceptible (a large percentage of the soil comprises silt, not sand or clay)
  • Sufficient moisture is available (soil is above approximately 80 percent saturation), and
  • Sub-freezing temperatures are penetrating the soil.

All three conditions are often present in our region. When cold weather conditions persist with these three factors, the soil could heave and unsettle the home’s foundation.

But it doesn’t have to! If your foundation is mostly covered by soil that has ground cover you should not experience heaving of the soil. However, if your foundation is largely uncovered and exposed to the air, and the three conditions above exist, the concrete will get very cold and cause the soil to heave and impact your slab. There are some areas where silt is a component of the ground.

Can anything help protect your foundation? Yes. A one-inch layer of polystyrene insulation (R4.5 value) starting from the ground upward will cause the frost line to move upward on to the foundation from the ground. In other words, the insulation moves the point of frost developing from the ground up onto the foundation. The way ground upheaval works is perpendicular to the frost line. So when the frost line is on the ground the direction of soil heaving is upward. But when your insulation is in place the frost line is now on the foundation wall and the direction of heaving is perpendicular so now the heaving motion is away from your foundation, parallel to the ground and your foundation remains intact.

There is science to everything about your foundation. The bell bottom pier (drilled pier with a bell bottom foot) method is the only proven, time-tested, and permanent concrete slab repair method on the market today. This drilled pier design with poured concrete reinforced with steel rebar is the same design used in the construction of commercial multi-story buildings, bridges, and highway overpasses. The engineers use this method because of the superior strength and permanence of the support columns.

We hope this tip on protecting your foundation for cold weather conditions helps your investment. But, when you need a repair, and you want the best and proven method, we are the champions of the bell bottom pier method of foundation repair.

Dawson Foundation Repair installs Bell Bottom Piers throughout the Texas market.  We do not install cheap stacked concrete cylinders because we agreed with the assessment of the structural engineers at A-1 Engineering – that they are “temporary” and “almost useless.”

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Foundation Fitness

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

Foundation fitness? No, this does not mean that your foundation needs to join the local gym. Yes, it does mean that if your foundation is not in good shape your house will sustain costly damage.

The average one story house weighs about 200 pounds per square foot, more if your home has special amenities like tile floors or tile roof. A two-story home? The estimate is that it weighs about 275 pounds per square foot. Add another 75 pounds for a three level residence to total 350 pounds per square foot! Your foundation must be strong enough to hold all this in place and fit enough to withstand all those things that try to erode its performance.Your foundation needs to be fit and strong.

The shifting soils of Texas are not friendly to your foundation. There are some fly-by-night foundation repair companies that will do your repair but fail to support your foundation. They fail to compensate for the soil that has already shifted. You see, the official term for a concrete foundation is “slab on grade.” “Grade” is a fancy engineering term for ground. Therefore, by definition, your foundation must have soil supporting it underneath.

Any spatial void under your foundation is a threat to your home. Your foundation will be stressed trying to hold up more than 200 pounds per square foot. Imagine trying to do that without support. For example, take a five pound bag of sugar and hold it with one hand while resting your elbow on a table. You could hold that bag of sugar for quite a while before giving way to the five pounds. Now, take that same bag of sugar and hold it up with one hand without resting your elbow on anything. There’s likely to be sugar all over the floor after just a few minutes.

At Dawson Foundation Repair, we utilize mud pumping equipment to fill in any void space resulting from any interior foundation repair of your home. A slurry of mud and cement is pumped under your slab so that it rests on supporting ground. When a repair is done right with the superior bell bottom piers, there will be voids as the slab is leveled and raised leaving space between it and the ground that had shifted or settled. Mud pumping is essential to the quality foundation repair that Dawson is known for.

Other companies decry the need for mud pumping and they have two reasons to dismiss it. First, the equipment for mud pumping is very expensive. A Mud Pump unit (truck, trailer, Mud Pump, mixer, etc.) costs between $50,000 – $60,000.Those companies would rather not spend the money. Second, buying the equipment cuts into the company profit margin and that is all they exist for.

Check out this important information — The Necessity of Mud Pumping

Why Most Companies do NOT Mud Pump

1) If the cost of Mud Pumping can be avoided, this increases profits if the customer can be convinced it is bad or not necessary.
2) The cost of equipment to Mud Pump a house is far greater than any other piece of equipment used in foundation repair.
3) A Mud Pump unit (truck, trailer, Mud Pump, mixer, etc.) costs between $50,000 – $60,000.
4) It is time consuming and easier not to do. After all, the worst that can happen is that the contractor gets to sell the customer interior piers later.

The true costs of foundation repair and the contractor’s profitability should not be the determining factors in providing the fitness and strength your foundation needs to do the job. The best foundation repair method we offer is the bell bottom pier option—with mud pumping if needed. Your home is worth it.

Call Dawson Foundation Repair for a free foundation inspection and estimate for repairs if needed.

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