We have a saying in real estate when it comes to home foundations - “In Texas, it is not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN your home will need foundation repairs.”
Don't Be Afraid Of Foundation Problems
My experience with homeowners from other states is that they tend to be leery of foundation issues. However, a seasoned Texan, sees foundation repair as routine maintenance. In fact, some homeowners prefer that the repairs are already complete on a home so that they don't have to bother.
After living in 5 homes over the past 20 years in the North Texas area, I finally had my turn at living through a foundation repair on my own home. The exterior pier installation was pretty painless. I wanted to take some time to share my experience and hopefully help alleviate the stress of the dreaded foundation repair.
Two Types of Foundation Repairs
I should start out by defining the two types of foundation repair for slab foundations.
- External Piers - placed along the perimeter of the home. A hole is dug outside along the foundation. The piers are laid and are used to lift the foundation. The soil is replaced. If a pier is needed where an existing driveway or patio is present then these slabs will be cut in order to add the piers.
- Interior Piers - placed under the slab from inside the home. This is a more invasive procedure that requires access to the home, removal of flooring, breaking the slab, adding the piers and repairing the slab and flooring.
My painless experience was with the exterior piers. I don't think I would describe interior foundation repair as painless. It is akin to taking on a renovation. It can disrupt the household for a week or more.
How Did This Happen?
Earlier this year, my husband and I moved from our big-family home to our empty-nester home. It was a great adventure. The home we bought had previous foundation repair but showed no signs of needing more. However, as the hot summer came to an end, we started to see the signs – cracks in the walls and ceilings, doors that don't latch close. As I was gearing up to do one of our first renovation projects on our home, I decided to have the foundation checked before we started.
I didn't want to start a remodeling project with foundation issues. Especially since my first project was to replace an exterior door. Sure enough, the home needed some additional piers. I was grateful that they were exterior piers and that none of them would pierce any existing porches or driveway.
How the Foundation Got Fixed
Being in the business, I can tell you there are some really great companies you can trust to do your foundation work. I typically will give my clients 3 suggestions. You can also ask around on social applications like Facebook or Nextdoor for great companies that your neighbors use. For this project, I chose Stratum. They are a local company, have a great book of business, and have been around a long time.
As soon as I booked the repair, I was given a great set of instructions and a video that showed how the process worked. Keep in mind that if you schedule your foundation work in the heart of the summer you will have to wait in line. Take a look at the video that shows how they do what they do. It fascinates me how it works.
The professionals showed up on time and went right to work. They removed some landscaping that was in the way and started digging. All the work took place right outside my home office window. They were quick and got all 9 piers installed in one day. I could feel my house move while they were working. It was weird.
The replaced the dirt and landscaping and so far it is still alive. There is no guarantee that the shrubs will survive. They tell you that you should have a professional do the transplanting if you want to be sure it will thrive. For us, the shrubs are overgrown and about at end-of-life so we took our chances. All the excess dirt was spread around the house and yard in low areas.
By the time they left, I did not see any trace that they were there. They were so neat and efficient. They even cleaned up areas in the brick mortar that were cracked.
You can read all about the repair process here.
The foundation company made careful measurements before, during and after the installation. They tested the sprinklers before they started digging and after they were done. They performed a leak test to be sure that there are no plumbing issues as a result of the damage/repair.
They protected the grass and sidewalk and left the place as good or better than they found it. I am very impressed with the process.
How can I help you?
Do you think you may be headed to some foundation repairs soon? Take heart, it is probably not as bad as you imagine. I've got some great referrals for you from the large company to the small. Let me know what you need.