Concrete Slab Foundation

There are three common concrete slab foundation designs in the United States. They are known as:

  • poured wall foundations
  • pier or pillar foundations
  • slab foundation

Most of the concrete foundations constructed for homes in Houston and other parts of Texas are the third type, slab foundations. Generally these foundations are poured concrete and vary between 3 and 6 inches in thickness. In addition, there are three variations of slab foundations known as: desert, wet/warm area, and cold area. The first two, desert and wet/warm, have been constructed by builders for many years in the Houston and Texas area.


Concrete is usually comprised of four ingredients mixed together in proper proportions. The ingredients are cement, fine aggregate (usually sand), coarse aggregate (usually gravel or crushed stone), and clean water. The aggregates are called inert ingredients while the cement and water are known as active ingredients. The are “active” because when water is added to cement a chemical reaction begins. This chemical reaction is known as “hydration” and the result is that the mix begins to harden. Interestingly, hydration, and the hardening of the mix, is not caused by the drying out of the mix – it is caused by the chemical reaction. Concrete can harden when submerged in water – hence its usefulness in marine construction.

Concrete has some extraordinary properties that make it a valuable building material. It is durable, impervious to decay, termites and rodents, noncombustible and is usually not affected by heat or cold. It can be shaped into almost any form, painted and used in a variety of masonry work. It is a very long term and economical building material. Click this link to read more about the structural properties of concrete as discussed on the web site of the American Concrete Institute.

Concrete Slab Repair

When a home foundation experiences problems it is almost always the result of soil movement. The clay soils in the Houston and Texas area can experience dramatic changes in volume. The soil can shrink dramatically when conditions are hot and dry. Conversely, the soil can expand dramatically when conditions are wet. This soil movement, over time, can and will crack concrete slab foundations. Click the following link for a detailed explanation of “Under Slab Plumbing Leaks and Damaging Differential Foundation Movements.”

Foundation contractors do not actually “repair” your home foundation. What they do is provide a stable area or “support” for the home foundation to rest. This is done with a variety of repair methods but Dawson Foundation Repair, Inc. uses the Bell Bottom Pier method exclusively. The reason we use this method is because it is superior – a time-tested, proven, and permanent repair method – it is that simple. Please read about the comparison of home foundation repair methods and decide for yourself. Click on the following link to see an illustration of a Bell Bottom Pier that is built from poured concrete and steel rebar.

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