Does your house need to be re-leveled or raised above flood level?
My name is Jim Nech and I am the owner of PRO Foundation Repair Services in Houston Texas. I want to thank you for stopping by our website. I promise i will answer the above question and many others if you will stay with me for a bit. I may even answer some questions that you did not know that you needed to ask and I might even save you some money in the process.
First I need to ask some questions that will help determine if you are having foundation issues that may require your attention.
The top 10 signs of foundation problems.
- Are your floors uneven?
- Do you have cracks in your tile floors?
- Do you have cracks in your interior walls above doors and windows?
- Are your doors hard to open and close?
- Do your doors fall open or closed?
- Are your counter tops out of level?
- Are there cracks in the outside walls?
- Are there gaps around your outside windows?
- Are there gaps around your outside doors?
- Is there a gap under your garage door one one side?
The more questions you answer with a yes the greater the likelihood that the severity of your home’s foundation problems will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
To determine the the full extent if your problem I can offer you a free foundation inspection. Our inspector will be able to give you an honest assessment and advise you based on what he finds during your free inspection. He will explain all of your options based on whether you are buying the home, selling it or already own it and are planning to stay long term.
I promise that we will do our best to save you as much money as possible. Our inspections are free and there is no obligation on the homeowner’s part. Just fill out our inspection request form or call 713-552-1603 and we will send a professional inspector out to your location at a time that fits your schedule.
What causes foundations to fail?
Foundation failure is caused by differential movement of the soil that supports the foundation. The soil in the Houston area has a high clay content and when it is dry it shrinks and when it is moist it expands. When the soil under your foundation becomes dry in some areas and moist in other areas the moist areas support the foundation and the dry areas allow it to sag. This expansive nature of clay soils is the main cause differential movement. There are several factors that can be responsible for the difference in moisture content.
Below I have listed the most common.
Top 7 reasons for differential movement.
- Lack of maintenance in dry hot weather.
- Large trees with roots that extend under the foundation.
- Low areas that allow water to pool near the foundation.
- Under foundation plumbing leaks.
- Improperly adjusted sprinkler system.
- Decaying organic material under foundation.
- Improperly compacted soil under foundation.
Can proper maintenance save my foundation?
It depends on the current level of damage. Maintenance can prevent many foundation problems but it is unlikely that it can by itself reverse any existing damage. In order to maintain your foundation you must be willing to monitor and maintain your foundation, your under slab plumbing and your landscaping. Below are the main things you can do to save your home’s foundation from future damage.
Best 5 ways to save your home’s foundation.
- Install soaker-hoses or a sprinkler system.
- Install Gutters and divert rainwater away from your foundation.
- Add fill dirt to any areas where water pools after a rain.
- Install in-ground grains in problem areas.
- Install water barriers
Will homeowners insurance cover foundation repair costs?
Probably not but it never hurts to inspect your policy and talk to your agent. In the past some insurers did cover foundation repair but the need for it in the Houston area and other areas with high clay content soil is so common that most of the insurers have simply stopped covering any kind of foundation failure.
Some polices may provide limited coverage if the foundation damage is the result of an under slab leak but they are rare enough that I have not seen one that does in a long while.
What if I already had foundation repairs on my home?
If your home has had foundation repairs in the past and your foundation is failing in that same area then you should look for any documentation you have related to the work that was performed. You should check to see if there is a warranty that is current and covers the past repairs.
If you do have a warranty in effect you should call the company who performed the repairs and if they are reputable they should adjust the repairs in the problem area on the terms spelled out in their warranty.
In the event that you cannot contact them we may be able to do the adjustments for you for a modest cost and possibly place them under our warranty so you will not have to worry about them in the future.
If your home has had repairs in the past and there are no problems in the areas of the existing repairs then we can perform additional repairs in other areas without any problem. However you should check with the company who installed your existing piers to make sure that allowing a different foundation repair company to do additional repairs in other areas does not void your warranty.
What if I am selling my home?
If you are planning to sell your home and it has foundation problems then your buyers will find our because they will have a Home Inspector who will perform a thorough examination of your home including possible foundation problems. While home foundations are rarely level when new, the home inspector will only allow a small amount of elevation difference before he flags a foundation as failing. When this happens It can and usually does have negative effects on the sale.
If you fix your foundation issues before the sale not only will the home inspector not find any problems you can document that your home is is top shape. Not ohly that but if you use a reputable company like PRO Foundation Repair you can show that you have maintained the home with proof of repairs with a certified engineer’s approval and a copy of the city permit for the repairs.
Another good reason to repair any foundation issues before you sell your home is that if the home inspector finds foundation problems the new buyer may decide to get an estimate of their own and use the highest bid as leverage to get the biggest discount possible on your sale price.
What is involved in the foundation repair process?
Our professional crew will show up on time and begin work. They will dig holes around the perimeter of your slab that are approximately 2 feet by 2 feet and 3 feet deep. Using the weight of your foundation and house we will use hydraulic rams to press concrete piers individually, one on the top of the next to a depth of absolute refusal. If your home has areas in interior areas under your slab that need to be raised then we will cut 2 foot square openings thru the slab for access to those locations. You may optionally choose, at an additional cost to have interior piers installed by digging tunnels under the slab from the outside for access to those locations. Any openings that are cut through the slab will be repaired at no additional charge. The repair to the interior openings are to the slab only and does not cover any flooring materials in the area of the opening.
Do I need to be present for the repairs?
It depends, if we are cutting thru the slab for interior piers we will need access to the inside and you may want to be present in that case. If you opt to use tunnels or there are no interior piers then we will not need access to the inside during the digging and the pier installation process. We will however need access during the leveling process which is the last part of the process.
Most of the time taken up by foundation repair is during the installation process so for instance a 2 day job would broken up into the first day and a half dedicated to installation and the last half of the second for leveling.
So for the 2 day job you would need to be, at a minimum, present at the start of the job and then on the last half of the second day. Every job is different but this scenario is typical.
Will I need a building permit?
Houston and most of the smaller cities in the area require that before foundation repairs can begin, a building permit must be applied for and issued by the city where the work is to take place. The only exceptions are in unincorporated areas of Harris County where foundation repair permits are not required and in a few of the smaller cities. These circumstances are rare and 99.9% of the time a building permit is required.
In order to obtain a building permit a repair plan must be generated, it must then be approved by a licensed engineer and then submitted to the city for approval. If the paperwork is in order and the foundation repair contractor meets the city’s requirements then a building permit is issued and work can begin. Beware of any contractor who tells you that you do not need a city building permit for foundation repair especially in the cities that make up the greater Houston area.
A foundation repair contractor who says you do not need a building permit probably cannot get one because they do not have the proper insurance, they cannot get an engineer to approve their plan, they are too lazy or for some other reason, none of which are good.
If you do not get a building permit your city inspector could delay your job while a permit is being issued and if your contractor is not able to get one your job could end up in a big mess.
If the job is completed without a permit the city inspector could force you to dig up the piers in order to be inspected and if there was no engineer’s stamp on the repair plan it could turn out that you cannot get one. The bottom line is that it is just not worth the risk of trying to slide by without a permit.
Your contractor is not responsible for obtaining your building permit, the homeowner is solely responsible and the one who will suffer most if something goes wrong.
If you decide to work with PRO Foundation Repair of Houston we will take care of getting the engineer’s approval and all of the legwork to get the foundation repair building permit issued for your job. A copy of the building permit and the engineer’s approval of the repairs on your home will be a strong selling point for a buyer of you home if you decide to sell it in the future.
Will the foundation repairs damage my plumbing?
There is no way to tell for sure. It is up to you if you want to get a leak test before work begins but you definitely want to get a test after the repairs are finished because the movement of the slab could cause leaks especially on older homes with cast iron plumbing that rusts and rots over time. When you do any plumbing and or testing you should use a plumber who is licensed and certified by the state. We can provide a licensed plumber for your convenience. Any under slab leaks that are caused by the repairs are unavoidable and cannot be known in advance and are therefore not covered if they happen as a result of the foundation repairs.
What about plants and shrubbery?
We always make a best effort to save all plants and shrubs that need to be displaced during the repair process. They will be set aside and watered and we will replace them in their original positions after the foundation work is finished. While we will try our best to save you plants we are not responsible if they die. If you must save them we suggest you consult with a professional landscaper before the repairs begin. We will also berm soil along the sides of the foundation where the repairs are made to allow for settling.
How long will the repairs take?
Some jobs can be completed in one day but most will require 2 or more days and some large jobs with a lot of tunneling requiring as much as a week or more. We always try to finish each job as soon as possible. We have multiple crews and we have a lot of flexibility in moving resources around in order to complete your repairs in a timely manner. If completion time is important be sure to let us know so we can allocate enough resources to meet your timeline.
How much will it cost?
With slab foundations it is impossible to say exactly how much foundation repairs will cost without knowing the full extent of the damage, how many piers that will be required, how much tunneling, the possible need for root barriers and other considerations. I can say that on the low end the cost is usually around $2,000.00 and on the high end it can run $15,000.00 or more. Our average job is around $5000.00, just remember your cost will depend on a number of factors including the options the homeowner chooses.
Pier & Beam foundations are different, we typically estimate the cost for pier & beam based on the total square feet. The average Pier and Beam foundation repair cost is usually lower than the cost of a slab foundation of comparable size.
Should I get a guarantee?
Yes, we provide lifetime transferable warranties on all of our slab foundation repairs. If the areas that we repair should settle anytime in the future we will adjust them at no additional cost to the current homeowner. If the ownership of the home changes then the warranty can be transferred to the new owner. The new owner must contact PRO Foundation Repair Services and provide proof of ownership before we can issue a new warranty certificate in the new homeowner’s name.
Pier and Beam warranties are for 3 years. We do not offer a lifetime warranty on Pier and Beam foundations because they are built on top of the soil and subject to the movement of upper layers which can experience extreme movement based on moisture content.
In the foundation repair business everyone offers a Lifetime Warranty just remember Lifetime is based on the lifetime of your home or the lifetime of the company issuing the warranty. This is a seasonal business that is somewhat volatile and repair companies come and go, sometimes on purpose.
Smaller companies tend to try and compete totally on price and it is hard for some of them to survive. There are also companies that do sub-standard work who go out of business as soon as their warranty requests catches up with them. They change their company name and their phone numbers on a regular basis so that they can escape their warranty responsibility.
How to find the right foundation repair company.
One of the most important things you can do is to think about everything in a logical manner. If something looks too good to be true or if a price looks too low to be true then it probably is. Whatever business you are in you already know that quality comes with a cost and when you go below that cost you cutting corners somewhere and your home is no place to cut corners.
Your Due Diligence is your responsibility, check out the companies you are considering, look at their websites and pick a few and get some estimates.
By some estimates there are over 200 foundation repair companies in the Houston area but knowing what I know, I would not let more than a dozen or so of these companies near my house if it needed repairs.
When your foundation inspector comes out, ask a lot of questions and look for any contradictions. If your inspector seems unsure or worse he is lying to you then show him the door and continue your search until you find the right company for you.
Remember, the quality of your job will depend on the skill of the person performing your inspection and the crew that is sent out to perform your repairs. This will hold true no matter how large or small the company.
Top 10 things you must know about your foundation repair company.
- Are they an accredited BBB member?
- Do they have sufficient Insurance?
- Are they licensed and bonded?
- Will their repair plan be approved by a professional engineer?
- Are the warranty conditions spelled out in the contract?
- Are they able to obtain your building permit for you?
- Do they supply a to-scale drawing to show how the repairs will be performed?
- Are they willing to give you references?
- Do they have a professional website?
- Does their website show up on a Google Search of their phone number?
I hope I have given you some things to think about.
You have a choice of foundation repair companies in the Houston area but we hope that you will chose PRO Foundation Repair. We promise that we will be truthful with you and we will absolutely will not try to sell you anything you do not need!
I want to thank you because if you are here you probably read everything on this page. If you felt the information was helpful why don’t you let us send a professional foundation inspector out to your home, at your convenience, for a free and honest assessment, call us at 713-552-1603 or fill out the form at the top of this page for a prompt, professional and free, no-obligation foundation inspection and written report.