Foundation Repair will be necessary for most homes in Houston Texas sooner or later. The reason is that our clay soil, known as ‘Black Gumbo’, shrinks and swells with the ever changing amounts of rainfall. During the hot dry summers, the clay supporting your home can shrink as much as 6 inches, causing the thin slab-on-grade concrete foundations to settle. Doors stick, and cracks in the walls appear. When the Fall rains come, the clay re-hydrates and the foundations heave upwards. All of this up and down movement eventually causes the foundation to crack and fail.
To alleviate this problem, Vulcan Foundation Repair installs both FHA / VA approved foundation repair support systems. Depending on various factors, our Certified Foundation Repair Specialist will design the correct one for your home. He will show examples, and give the pro’s and con’s of each. We furnish an article written by a board member at the Foundation Performance Association of Houston that you can download for more technical analysis. SEE – Independent Engineer’s Review Article.
Bell Bottom Piers
The first foundation repair system engineers developed to stop the constant movement in concrete foundations was the Deep Drilled Bell Bottom Pier. After the settling areas were identified, engineers tested the soil to determine the depth of load bearing clay. The size of the pier is then calculated and holes are drilled under the foundation. Steel rebar is placed in the shafts and concrete is poured. After a curing time of approximately 3 weeks, crews return and level the home on the new supports.
Hydraulically Driven Pilings
About 30 years ago, engineers at The University of Houston developed a foundation support system called pressed pilings. Eventually they refined the procedure to enable the concrete blocks to be connected, greatly extending the longevity of the repairs. Today, piling systems with locking capablities are the industry standard.
Not all homes have settled enough to where they need to be supported with piers or pilings. Alert homeowners can often prevent or delay the need for expensive foundation repairs by installing systems that protect their home early. Vulcan Foundation Repair offers all of the preventative maintenance systems on the market, and our CFRS will explain all of your options.
One of the main causes of the ground drying out is massive tree roots that grow under your home seeking the moisture trapped there. As the water is removed, the clay shrinks, and the foundation settles even more severely than normal. Vulcan installs deep Root Barriers to prevent this from happening. We dig down approximately three feet deep, cutting all the roots in our trench. We then install a non-biodegradable material that roots can’t penetrate.
Moisture Maintenance Systems
If the moisture content of the soil can be regulated, the clay won’t shrink and swell to the extremes that cause foundation problems. Vulcan Foundation Repair installs a variety of moisture maintenance systems, from simple soaker hoses with manual timers to leaky pipe systems with integrated computer timers. Our Certified Foundation Repair Specialist will explain how these systems work and can potentially be a part of your regular home maintenance routine.
French Drain Systems
Just as lack of moisture can be a foundation killer, too much moisture can also cause significant foundation problems. Too much water around your foundation can cause erosion, subsidence, and soil slumping issues. To alleviate this, Vulcan installs commercial grade catch basins and large French Drains to move the excess water to the street or drainage ditches.
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