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  • Your crews were efficient & effective in their repair. Thank you, Superior, for a wonderful job. - J. Schwarz
  • Wow! I'm impressed with Superior... I would highly recommend this company to anybody. - Bonnie T.
  • Their crew was fast & efficient. I recommend Superior to anyone needing foundation repair. - T. Johnson
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  • I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The quality of the work impressed me every step of the way. - S. Wallace
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Foundation Repair Estimates

A house with severely cracked wallsThis article will examine the question of whether relying solely on the levelness of a slab as a basis for recommending foundation repair is an accurate way of determining the need for underpinning. The simple answer to this dilemma is no. While slab measurements are a widely used method of determining the levelness of a slab, they cannot and should not be the sole basis for determining whether a home needs underpinning based on a variety of reasons, 3 of which we will be examining.

Reasons Why Basing Foundation Repair Recommendations
Solely on Measurements is an inexact Science

  • No newly constructed slab is perfectly level
  • When a new home is constructed, numerous factors affect the slope of the slab, including it’s shape, support materials, extent of soil preparation, and the weight of the structure which is built on it among other things. For these reasons, and the fact that human handywork can never be absolutely perfect, a perfectly level slab at the time of construction is absolutely impossible.It is absolutely feasible, that at the time of construction of a home, a slab can have a slope of 2 inches or more, and the home will be properly designed to support this deflection. Thus, any leveling done on this house in the future to correct the slope can adversely affect the structure of the home.
  • The nature of Expansive soils means that slab foundations are constantly moving
  • Because of the characteristics of expansive soils in and around Austin and San Antonio the moisture content of the soil is always changing. In short moist soils expand and dry soils contract, for this reason measurements taken over extended periods of time will show different levels of deviation. As previously stated, while measuring the deviation of a slab is a widely used technique, it is not the only factor which should be considered when evaluating a foundation.

    “The foundation surface changes as the soil shrinks and swells. While the foundation may become more level with time, at least some damage to the supported structure does not disappear, such as cracks in brittle wall coverings. Thus, it is possible that a house that shows cracking in brittle wall coverings may fail to be properly diagnosed because the foundation surface profile was judged to be “level” at the time of the inspection.” excerpt taken from Using Slab-on-Ground Elevation Measurements in Residential Foundation Engineering Performance Evaluations

  • A level reading can be obtained on a structure that actually needs repairs
  • Because of the two factors previously discussed, a slab which was not completely level after construction, and, which is experiencing soil expansion or contraction underneath the slab, at any given time, based on the conditions, can exhibit a level reading.

    “Either foundation deflection (bending or angular distortion) or tilt (planar rotation) may affect structural integrity and performance. Determining the deflection and tilt of a slab-on-ground foundation is an approximation without an as built or previous floor elevation survey, because the original surface configuration is unknown. Therefore, a floor elevation survey can provide valuable information, but should not be the only basis for evaluating foundation deflection and tilt.” excerpt taken from the Guidelines for the Evaluation and Repair of Residential Foundations Section 5.4 – Deflection and Tilt

Relying on Measurements Alone Would be Irrational

As described, measurements of slopes in foundations are not the only way to tell whether a foundation is in need of repair. Relying solely on measurements to determine the condition of a foundation can lead to inaccurate evaluations, and more damage to a home. Knowing the soil make up of the area in which the home is located, the shape of the slab, observing signs of foundation problems, and familiarity with slab construction all contribute to making an informed decision on whether to recommend foundation repair or not.

“There is no rational, logical reason to refuse to make a positive diagnosis merely because the surface profile does not conform with one of two distortion profiles that are used for design purposes.” excerpt taken from Using Slab-on-Ground Elevation Measurements in Residential Foundation Engineering Performance Evaluations

A combination of Measurements, Observation,
Knowledge of Soil, and Experience

Superior Foundation Repair’s steel pier method of foundation repair has been tested over decades and been shown to effectively counteract the effects of expansive soil on slab foundations by relying on bedrock for support. When evaluating a foundation and recommending repair we combine our experience, extensive knowledge of Central Texas soils, observation of signs of structural damage, along with measurements to determine our recommendations for repair. We have recommended repair on homes which other foundation companies did not recommend repair, and conversely, we have recommended no repair on homes where other companies have recommended repair. We always stand by our evaluations of slab foundations.

If your home is exhibiting signs of foundation problems, then contact Superior Foundation Repair today to have one of our experienced inspectors evaluate the condition of your foundation.

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Behavior and Effects of Expansive Soil, Copyright Prentice HallWith the Onset of Summer, Comes Contracting Soil

After a fall and winter of higher than average rainfall in Central Texas, thanks to El Nino, a dry summer has the potential to wreak havoc on building foundations across the region.

Soil in Central Texas has Expanded
Due to Recent Rainfall

The soil composition here in Central Texas is comprised of moderate to highly expansive soils, see our post on expansive soils. What this means is that in wet periods our soils absorb water and expand, and during dry periods they lose moisture and contract.

Diagram of Expansive Soil, Copyright Prentice Hall In the example at right, taken from a Prentice Hall textbook, we can easily see the amount of moisture present in an expansive soil multiplies when moisture is introduced causing a phenomenon known as soil heave. As the name suggests soil heave causes the soil to lift upward and can either put added pressure on your exterior walls, if the soil under your house remains dry, or on the center of your foundation, if the soil under your home is affected by leaks or other sources of moisture.

Large Cracks in a Foundation or Walls
are Usually a Sign of Foundation Problems

If your home is experiencing any foundation problems, you will most likely either want to have a structural engineer take a look, or call a foundation repair company out to examine your home.

Superior has years of experience with San Antonio and Austin Foundation Repair. We also offer coupons to our web customers at our Google Maps pages, if you are in the Austin area visit our Superior Foundation Repair Austin – Google Maps page to see our specials. If you are in the San Antonio area visit our Superior Foundation Repair San Antonio – Google Maps page for our specials.

Call 877-302-5111 or follow this link to request a free foundation repair estimate.

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Foot in the door foundation repair bidsToday we are going to take a look at the practice that some firms use called “Foot in the door” bids.

What is a “Foot in the door” bid?

  • This is a bid in which a firm comes to a house to inspect a foundation, roof, plumbing, or other service and offers a bid for partial repair, which is much lower than any of the other bids a customer receives. For the purposes of this blog we will focus on foundations.

In this example we will use Firm ABC, Firm JKL, and Firm XYZ as our firms offering bids.

  • Firm ABC comes to the house, inspects the foundation and offers a bid of $8,000 with the job lasting 3 days and minimal disturbance to garden or landscaping.
  • Firm JKL comes to the house, inspects the foundation and offers a bid of $10,000 with the job lasting only 2 days and considerable disturbance to garden or landscaping.
  • Firm XYZ comes to the house offers a bid of $3,000 for 1/4 of the house with the job lasting 3 days and disturbance to only the part of the house being repaired.

All needed repairs for a typical house with moderate foundation damage start around $8,000 -$12,000 but can go as high as $20,000 -$30,000.

via Cost of Foundation Repair – Get Prices and Estimates – CostHelper.com.

Many times, a firm will come to a house, inspect a foundation and get a feel for what a customer is wanting to spend. Most people are not going to be ready to pay $8K – $12K for a foundation repair.

Possibly only part of the house is currently being affected by foundation problems. In this case firm XYZ may claim that only 1/4 of the house is currently being affected by foundation problems and that for a much lower price ($3,000 in this case) the problem can be fixed.

Sounds great, right?

Wrong!

Logically if part of a house is sagging or experiencing foundation problems the soil associated with the house is the same all over, and more than likely at some point in the future another part of the house is going to need foundation repair.

Firm XYZ knows that, once the next part of your house begins sagging, you are more than likely going to call them back to do the repairs on that part of the house. This means more disruption to your landscaping several more days of having firm XYZ at your house, and more headache.

Let’s say over 4 years your whole house ends up needing foundation repair, you pay $3000 each time firm XYZ comes out and they are there for 3 days each time. That would be a total of $12,000 dollars over 4 years plus 12 days of repair time on your house. Not to mention the time they spend coming out to inspect the house each time they are called.

Compared to the other 2 bids this would be much more time than necessary and more than both bids.So in the long run the customer would have spent much more than they had planned and would have had much more time dealing with foundation repairs than necessary.

Be smart, if a house is having foundation problems the whole house needs to be fixed, even if some parts of the house are not showing signs. Putting a band-aid on a problem doesn’t heal the wound.

For a free bid on foundation repair in Austin, Texas contact Superior Foundation Repair. Superior also offers a lifetime transferable warranty on all foundation repair work.

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