Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair
Dawson Foundation Repair

713-668-2110 (Houston)
214-234-8421 (Dallas)
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Sinkholes in Texas

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in General Interest | 2 comments

Sink Holes in Texas

Texas is one of the top two states where sinkholes occur. After Florida, the Lone Star State leads Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee in the number of sinkholes. About 35 percent of the United States has underground rock types that can be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them (salt rock, gypsum, limestone and others). When the underground rock dissolves, the soil over it collapses and becomes visible on the surface as a sinkhole. Texas is in that 35 percent. Here’s a photo of the most recent sinkhole in Texas. It occurred in May 2008 in Daisetta, Texas, northeast of Houston.

Foundation Repair in Houston Texas (713) 688-2110

Sinkholes do not have to be large enough that they make the six o’clock news. Some sinkholes have only been wide enough for an adult to fit in. There is a sinkhole on the 14th hole of a golf course in Illinois that was just wide enough to swallow a golfer. The golfer died because the sinkhole was about 20 feet deep. Sinkholes can look like craters or bowls or small shafts. Regardless of the shape and type of sinkhole, if they are near your home they are a threat to your home’s foundation.

Dawson Foundation Repair has these tips for you:

  • Know your property! Check regularly to see if there are any areas that appear to be shrinking, especially along your foundation. Are you seeing parts of your foundation that were not exposed before?
  • Is your vegetation wilting, but not drying out? This suggests poor drainage and can be a problem.
  • It’s also good to check vertical structures such as your fencing and trees. If there is sagging or severe leaning developing, watch the area.
  • Watch for ponds or little collections of water forming in places that were previously dry.
  • If you notice any sediment or dirt in your water, this can also be a sign that water pipes are leaking, cracked or starting to give way to soil.

Not all depressions in the ground, or water collections in low places or leaning fence posts mean you have a sinkhole on your property. But if you are concerned you need to have it checked by either your insurance adjuster or by a paid engineering firm to check your property. Dawson Foundation Repair can come out and conduct a free inspection of your home to see if your slab still has its integrity. Not all foundation companies are the same. Not all use the same quality materials or methods. But since 1984 Dawson’s reputation is highly regarded because of the bell bottom pier method of foundation repair. It is reliable and tested over time.

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. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including AustinCorpus ChristiDallasHoustonSan Antonio, and other smaller cities. Call us for a free inspection and assessment of your home’s foundation security.

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"Kinda / Sorta" Structural Engineers

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in General Interest | 0 comments

“Kinda / Sorta” Structural Engineers

Do you prefer a “kinda/sorta” or a “real” Structural Engineer to approve your Foundation Repairs?

You wouldn’t allow a dentist to operate on your eyes, would you? Structural Engineering is one of the many branches of Engineering, some of which include Industrial Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, etc. Letting an Engineer other than a Structural Engineer check your house foundation structural integrity or sign off on foundation repairs is similar to having a dentist work on your eyes – or a foot doctor performing your heart surgery.

Foundation Repair in Dallas Texas

Is he a “kinda/sorta” or a “real” Structural Engineer?

The wrong kind of engineer looking at your house foundation and giving recommendations is a more common problem than you think. Perhaps this is why many foundation repairs don’t work, because some of these engineers approve things that don’t meet the building code. The difference between the types of engineers is in their formal education, training or experience, and examinations.

Education wise, students decide what kind of engineers to become early on because after graduation it is usually too late. Structural Engineers learn about concrete, rebar, foundation design, steel design, walls, floor, roof design, retaining wall design, etc. Civil Engineers learn about topography, surveying, water drainage, roadway/highway design, etc. Mechanical Engineers learn about engines, air conditioners, pumps, etc.

After or just before graduation, the State of Texas requires each soon-to-be engineer to pass the Fundamental of Engineering (FE) Exam. While some of the basics of general engineering are tested, each major field of engineering has a specific exam.

After passing the FE exam, candidates gain experience for at least 4 yrs before they take the Professional Engineering (PE) Exam. The PE exam is highly specialized, with the Structural Engineering Exam asking nothing but structural engineering questions. The mechanical engineering exam asks nothing but mechanical engineering questions, etc.

Loophole #1

A well known loophole in the Texas law allows engineers to take some exams that don’t match the experience they claim to have. For example, historically, the pass rate for the Structural Engineering PE exam has been about 20%. However, the pass rate for the Civil Engineering Exam has been about 65%.

This means that passing the Civil PE Exam is easier than passing the Structural PE exam. That is why many engineers who can’t pass the Structural PE exam end up taking the Civil PE Exam and then practice Structural Engineering. The same is true for other branches. Some Engineers end up taking the Mechanical Engineering exam, and when they pass, they also start doing civil engineering.

You will be surprised to know that many of the Engineering Companies providing foundation repair services are either civil, mechanical, or electrical engineers. A full roster is available at the TBPE website.

Shouldn’t there be a law against this? There is. The Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) investigates any engineer who is practicing outside his area of expertise. When you pass the PE exam, TBPE gives you a designator, such as “STR” for Structural or “CIV” for civil, or “MEC” for mechanical. If TBPE has you listed as a CIV but that engineer does structural work, then that engineer is practicing outside his area of expertise. An engineer practicing outside his area of expertise is like speeding down the highway, if there aren’t any police around, they won’t get caught.

Loophole #2 (this is a Big One)

There’s sadly another loophole. Some Engineers have already been caught by TBPE and slapped on their wrists. TBPE allows Engineers to avoid taking a Second Exam if the Engineer can find another engineer who attests to the first engineer’s experience in a particular field.

For example, if you’re a mechanical engineer the TBPE will give you a MEC designator next to your name. If you want to be added as a Structural Engineer and avoid taking a very difficult exam, then all you have to do is find a friend PE (or hire a PE) that will say that they know you have been doing structural engineering (it doesn’t matter that you’ve been doing it right or wrong) and TPBE will add you as a STR just by taking that other PE’s word for it. We suspect some engineers have done this. In fact, many Foundation Repair Companies in Texas have work approved by such kind of Engineers.

So, do you want a foundation repair company that uses a “kinda/sorta” Structural Engineer or a “real” Structural Engineer to approve the foundation repairs to your home?

We wish to thank A-1 Engineering for assisting us with some of the technical issues involved in this blog article.

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Fault Zones and Faults in the Metroplex

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in General Interest | 0 comments

foundation repair; foundation repair dallas; foundation repair houston; foundation repair austin;The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is facing another long summer of moderate to severe drought conditions. But, there is another environmental issue that is very common in the area and is also possibly threatening your home’s foundation if you live in the area. We are talking about fault zones.

There are two fault lines in the region. Between the fault lines is a geological formation called the Balcones Fault Zone. The Balcones Fault Zone runs from northern Mexico northeastward through San Antonio and Austin and up between Dallas and Fort Worth. On the west side of the Balcones Fault Zone is the Ouachita Tectonic Front (a fault line). The eastern edge of the Balcones Fault Zone is the Balcones fault line.

Fault lines are natural locations for earthquakes to occur.  In 2009, there were 17 minor earthquakes (measuring less than 3.0 on the Richter Scale) in the Metroplex region. The frequency seems to be increasing. In June 2012 alone there were six earthquakes! One earthquake caused more than $100,000 damage to the Boy Scout Museum in Irving, Texas.  A minor earthquake is very capable of causing structural damage in your home—broken windows, downed fences, cracks in walls and ceilings.

Then, there’s the Barnett Shale that runs underneath Fort Worth. Underneath the shale is thought to be the largest natural gas reservoir in the country. But to get to the gas there is a lot of drilling and hydraulic fracturing (breaking the rock with high pressure water, sand and chemicals to access the natural gas). This water has to be collected from a large source, usually groundwater or surface water. The water then has to be disposed elsewhere because it’s contaminated by the chemicals. That means that the water used in hydraulic fracturing is being removed from already extremely dry soil throughout the area. Drought and drilling impact the soil’s moisture content.

Droughts. Drilling. Faults. All this shaking and shifting increases the chance that area homes will need foundation repairs. If any of these happen you probably need to have your foundation inspected.

Dawson Foundation Repair is experienced with foundation repairs in the Metroplex caused by shifting soil underground. Dawson uses the best possible method to repair your foundation and it’s a solution that can resist further damage by these prolonged environmental stresses. The bell bottom piers foundation repair method is the most trusted and permanent house leveling solution for the Metroplex area.

Pressed pilings, steel pilings and cable pilings cannot withstand lateral soil shifting as well as bell bottom piers can in soils like the clay underneath your home. Pushed pilings are stacked, one upon another, and do not act as a single unit. Therefore, if heaving and shifting soil misaligns one or two of the concrete pilings that are stacked one upon another, the entire integrity of the column could be compromised. But the bell bottom piers are single pieces of solid concrete that are reinforced with steel rebar that not only support your foundation but firmly resist the shifting soil conditions.

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. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including AustinCorpus ChristiDallasHoustonSan Antonio, and other smaller cities. Call us for a free inspection and assessment of your home’s foundation security.

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Point of Refusal and Foundation Repair

Posted by on May 6, 2013 in General Interest | 0 comments

Until you’ve seen a professional team of foundation repair specialists working on the job, it’s easy to think that repairing a slab is just a matter of digging a hole and jacking up the concrete foundation back in place. But there is so much more, and each additional thing is significant toward a long-lasting resolution of your foundation problem.

Protect Your HomeOne of those important steps is how deep the supporting pier or pilings must go to do the job. In the pressed piling method, the pilings are impacted by the “point of refusal.” “Point of refusal” does not refer to the repair company’s reply of “No, we don’t do that” to your questions like, “Do you test the soil before you decide how far to go down? How do you guarantee the pilings are deep enough? Or, can you forego the Mandatory Arbitration document?”

The “point of refusal” is the moment when the weight of your home cannot push the concrete pilings any deeper into the ground. The “point of refusal” may or may not be deep enough to reach stable soil. If the concrete pilings, which are stacked one upon another, are not deep enough to reach stable soil then they have little to no chance of providing permanent support for the foundation.  What is even worse, if the contractor’s workers do not stop the hydraulic jacking process immediately after reaching the “point of refusal” they will literally lift a portion of your foundation and home into the air. However, they won’t lift it very far into the air because it will break with a thunderous crack. If this happens, then you have far more damage to your home than when you started, and unless you are taking a video at the moment of damage, you will have a hard time proving that the repair contractor is liable.  You can’t sue the contractor either, because you have signed away your right to sue with a Mandatory Arbitration clause in the contractor’s contract. (“Good Luck” with Mandatory Arbitration because the contractor selects the for-profit arbitration company that rules against consumers 90% to 97% of the time.)

This is another reason that the bell bottom pier system is much better for your home than any pressed piling or cable lock system. Contractors that utilize the pressed piling method rarely perform a soil test so they don’t know how far below ground level is stable soil.  Therefore, they are guessing and hoping that they can drive their stacked concrete pilings deep enough to reach the stable soil or bedrock.

In the pressed pilings method, often the “point of refusal” is more shallow than stable soil! When that happens, the method is doomed to fail because the soil underneath is unstable. Unstable soil shifts from side to side because of moisture changes. It shrinks when dry. It swells when wet. This unstable soil, even though it was the “point of refusal” for the pressed piling, is unable to hold the pressed pilings in place.

Bell bottom piers are not dependent on the point of refusal in order to do the job you want them to do for the rest of the life of your house. It is a simple fact—Dawson Foundation’s bell bottom piers are constructed to be permanent and they reach well into stable soil. Dawson does a soil test on every installation site to confirm that they know the depth of stable soil.  When the concrete is poured into the bell bottom pier, the bell bottom acts as an anchor and is solidly positioned within stable soil.

Your home is too valuable not to be certain about the quality of the repair work done to it. Since 1984 Dawson Foundation Repair has used the bell bottom repair in North Central Texas, Central Texas, South Texas, and Southeast Texas to provide trusted foundation repair to homeowners. This time-tested, proven, permanent foundation repair method is superior to steel pilings or pressed concrete pilings.

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. Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, DallasHouston, San Antonio, and other smaller cities. Call us for a free inspection and assessment of your home’s foundation security.


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