Most people think that most foundation movement is caused by settlement.
In some parts of the country, that is true.
In areas of expansive soils, such as most of Texas and surrounding states, not so much! The people selling piers want everything to be the result of settlement because that is what piers are designed for. By definition, settlement is generally looked at as a loss of support, piers are designed to provide support, and in the case of foundations, provide support after lifting. The truth is that there is really not much settling, percentage-wise, going on in our area or other areas of expansive soils and I will tell you why.
The pier salesmen want us to believe that every year we are in a new drought which is causing our soils to shrink out from under our foundations, (which were poured when the soil was expanded?) allowing them to fail to a point that they need to be artificially lifted, by piers, up off of the shrinking soils that have failed them. This is not true!
You know, I even bought into that line of thinking 30 plus years ago when I got into the foundation business. That’s what everybody said so it must be true, or so I thought. The rally cry was ...if it moves, PIER IT! It was not then,and is not now true!
After working in the business for a while it became obvious to me that something didn’t add up. For one thing, there were about as many foundation job failures as there were successes. That didn’t seem right and the more I thought about it the more I realized that the drought that happened just about every summer was also going on during many of the falls and springs as well as the occasional winter. In fact, it seemed to me that when we did have rain it was seldom if ever enough to stop the drought. Also a fact, we have been in some sort of a drought most years since the 1930’s. It also dawned on me that most foundations were poured during these droughts, to the point the ground was already contracted so that it couldn’t shrink much more, so why were, and how were these houses and commercial buildings settling? It struck me: they were not settling! You know what I figured out? I figured out that a whole bunch of this foundation failure business was not settlement but upheaval.
Upheaval that is mostly due to rains.
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Houses were being built on dry, contracted soil. Then the rains came after the houses were built. The contracted soils expanded around areas of homes where water was standing.
Parts of the homes were lifted and parts were not, giving the illusion that settlement had occurred.
What is considered the “settled” areas of the house remains near the “as built” elevation, while the damage was actually the result of the other parts of the house lifting. The results were that of a structure that appeared to have settled, but in reality had not. So bottom line is that many homes thought to have areas settling are actually having other areas of the house raising or heaving, leading to piering of parts of the house, that have not moved, which will bring it up to the already artificially high section of the home. When this is done, and it is done often, in areas of expansive soils such as ours, the repairs seldom succeed.
Either the soils continue to swell and lift the building off of the piers causing more damage, or the drainage or the plumbing is fixed and the heaved part of the structure settles back to near it’s “as built” position. This happens while the piers continue to support the lifted areas above original grade and this also leads to additional damage. *** To sum it up: most foundation movement is not settlement and most homes in our area do not need piers.That’s why there are so many failed foundation repair jobs. And sadly to say I don’t know of a foundation repair company whose LIFETIME WARRANTY covers upheaval.
Note: As I have stated most foundation movement and damage in North Texas is the result of drainage/upheaval and not settlement. that almost surely mean that piers are not the answer. There are however adjustments that need to be done. They are seldom if ever as expensive or disruptive as piers but they must be attended to before the movement will stop or before the damage should be repaired. I can help you determine what is needed and show you how to accomplish the repairs as inexpensively as possible. Remember I am not involved in the work and my job is to help you get it done correctly and fairly.
If you would like additional information about this or need clarification contact me, I will be glad to discuss it. See what my customers say at: Testimonials. Here are: My Fees. For additional information: Contact me! Richard Rash 817-308-8186 with any questions. Thank you.
If you don't want your house piered...don't call a pier salesman!
WHO I AM
I am Richard Rash and I am here to help you keep from getting taken advantage of by the foundation repair companies. I have spent the last thirty-five plus years working with foundation damaged homes constructed on expansive soils. I am based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but go where I am needed and the economics warrant, such as San Antonio, Austin, Shreveport, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and cities and towns in-between.
I have been involved with thousands of foundation repairs in all size homes, apartments, hospitals, nursing homes, warehouses and small commercial buildings. I have worked as foundation inspector, contractor, consultant, and expert witness.
Since 2005, I have been consulting with individuals who are experiencing foundation distress. I am their check and balance, their advocate. I know foundations and I know the soils. I know what causes foundation failures and what prevents foundation failure. I know the products used to repair foundations and I know the contractor’s reputations. I know what works where, and how much it should cost. I save my customers from failed foundation repairs, unneeded piers and I save them money. See what my customers say at Testimonials. Here are: My Fees. For additional information: Contact me! Richard Rash 817-308-8186