There are a few different ways that natural elements can adversely affect your Dallas home’s foundation. This is true whether you have a full basement or a slab foundation.
Heaving is one of those common problems that can affect any type of foundation. Knowing when heaving has occurred can help you address the problem before it causes significant damage to your foundation and home.
What Is Foundation Heaving?
When it comes to foundation issues, one problem that many people don’t recognize by name is heaving. But what is foundation heaving exactly? This issue occurs when the swelling or expansion of the underlying soil causes the upheaval of the home’s foundation.
Although heaving can happen to any type of foundation, it’s much more common with concrete slab foundations. This is due to the lighter weight of a concrete slab, which makes it easier for expanding soil to lift the foundation.
Additionally, heaving typically occurs within the first few years after building the home. It can happen later, but this usually requires a long period of drought followed by heavy rainfall. The introduction of significant moisture to soil that has been dry for years will cause the expansion required for heaving to happen.
Common Causes of Foundation Heaving
Generally, heaving occurs as a result of exposure to moisture or colder temperatures. There are a few specific ways these factors can lead to heaving, and learning about these foundation heaving causes can help you prepare to repair your foundation.
Soil with High Clay Concentration
When you build a home on land with a higher concentration of clay in the soil, you should prepare for heaving in advance. This is because clay is an expansive soil, and swelling will be more significant.
Prior to building your foundation, your contractors will excavate the land and give the remaining soil time to dry. During this phase, the soil will shrink as it dries. After the home’s construction is complete, rainfall will moisten the clay in the soil and cause it to expand. This results in heaving shortly after the construction of the home.
Heavy Frost and Moisture
Foundation heaving is much more common in the winter due to the colder temperatures. When the temperature drops to freezing and the ground frosts, any moisture in the soil will expand as it freezes. As freezing temperatures drop lower, soil expansion will increase accordingly.
In this way, frost can cause enough soil expansion to lift your foundation by several inches or more. This can cause significant damage to your foundation, house frame, and any pipes or wiring running into your home.
When building a Dallas home, it’s necessary to have plumbing pipes running underneath your home. Unless you notice a plumbing issue that doesn’t seem to have a cause inside your home, it can be challenging to identify a damaged or leaking pipe underneath the house’s foundation.
A buried pipe can burst or leak. When this happens, the excess water will get absorbed by the soil. If the soil under your home soaks up enough of this plumbing water, it will expand to cause foundation heaving.
Heavy or Prolonged Rainfall
While heavy rainfall on its own might not cause heaving, it can pose a danger to a newer home or a house without proper drainage. If you don’t have sufficient drainage, FCS Foundation and Concrete Services can install a French drainage system that will efficiently carry water away from your foundation.
When there is a backup of water or heavy precipitation for an extended period, the underlying soil will absorb that excess moisture. This can cause enough soil expansion to raise your foundation by several inches.
Types of Foundation Repair
While prevention is always ideal, your home may already be suffering from foundation heaving, or you may have purchased a home with the issue. In either of these cases, it’s important to know how to fix foundation heaving.
FCS Foundation and Concrete Services can install one of several pier and beam foundation systems that will strengthen your foundation and protect it against future heaving.
Single Press Concrete Pier
Installing a single press concrete pier involves drilling access holes along the perimeter of the foundation, or it may be necessary to drill access holes in the foundation to place piers directly under the slab.
After drilling the holes, concrete piers get pushed into the access holes until each pier meets resistance. We’ll use a hydraulic jack to support your foundation throughout the installation of the piers.
Then, we’ll place a concrete cap and steel shims between each pier and the foundation for better stability. Once the piers are each in place, we’ll release the hydraulic jacks gradually until the foundation rests solely on the piers.
The final step in this process is to refill each access hole and leave your property looking just as it did before we started the project.
Double Wall Single Steel Piers
For double wall single steel piers, we’ll use the same process used in installing the single press concrete piers, except we’ll use steel piers instead of concrete. This makes each pier stronger and capable of supporting more weight. Steel piers are also more durable since they can go deeper into the soil.
Single Drill Concrete Piers
Instead of installing premade concrete piers, we’ll drill access holes and fill each hole with liquid cement for single drill concrete piers. For greater durability, we’ll place steel rebar in each hole before the concrete cures. Since the piers get made on-site, there will be less stress on the foundation during the installation process.
Bell Bottom Drill Pier
This bell bottom drill pier process is similar to the installation of single drill concrete piers, except that we’ll use a different type of drill. In this process, the drill is capable of making the hole wider at the base. Once the concrete gets poured and cured, it will provide a stronger support for the foundation that reduces lateral shifting.
We’ll Fix Any Foundation Issue in Dallas
FCS Foundation and Concrete Services can help you fix foundation problems as they occur. We can also offer solutions that will help you prevent future foundation issues, so you can avoid additional repairs.
Contact our Dallas foundation repair experts today for a free consultation!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Slab Heave Be Fixed?
Yes, you can fix slab heave by installing support piers beneath the foundation or by drilling holes in the slab and filling the negative space with soil or concrete. However, the root cause of the slab heave (such as an underground plumbing leak) should undergo repairs before scheduling repairs for the slab foundation.
Are Foundation Issues Common in Dallas?
Even though Dallas is in a region that receives less precipitation than other areas, foundation problems can still develop. Typically, Dallas homes experience foundation problems due to leaking plumbing pipes or fixtures.
Should I Repair My Foundation Issues Before Selling a House in Texas?
You will have to disclose a foundation issue to any potential buyer, which might make it harder for the buyer to get approval from their lender. For this reason, you should repair the foundation before listing the home for sale.
How Long Does a Foundation Last in Texas?
A properly constructed foundation should last from 80 to 100 years. The bituminous coating used for basement waterproofing will only last for a decade, so plan to replace this protective sealant once every 10 years.