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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
  • Superior Foundation Repair's service was outstanding. - R. Williamson
  • Superior Foundation Repair offers a better, more permanent solution to level foundations. - J. Daniels
  • I would highly recommend Superior Foundation Repair. - Clark T.
  • I was impressed with the crew. They had great attention to detail and were very neat. - D. Pimentel
  • I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The quality of the work impressed me every step of the way. - S. Wallace
  • From start to finish, my experience with Superior Foundation Repair was enjoyable and cost-effective. - Chris V.
  • Finally, we have found a foundation repair company that we can truly rely upon. - J. Honegger
  • A reliable local company that stands by their word and takes pride and care in their work. - D. Golding

March 2010

Spreader Footing Foundation Repair graphicSpread Footers are another common method of foundation repair which many foundation repair companies employ. Much like Drilled Bell concrete piers, though, Spread Footers are better suited for new foundation construction, and are typically better suited for areas with stable soil. A simple google search for spread footing foundation yields a variety of topics related to new construction, bridge construction, and commercial construction.

The Wikipedia definition of Spread Footers is:

Spread footing foundations consists of strips or pads of concrete (or other materials) which transfer the loads from walls and columns to the soil or bedrock. Embedment of spread footings is controlled by several factors, including development of lateral capacity, penetration of soft near-surface layers, and penetration through near-surface layers likely to change volume due to frost heave or shrink-swell. (wikipedia:Shallow Foundation)

Spread Footers are designed to act as extra support for a foundation and to distribute the load of the foundation equally among stable soil. However, in order to work properly they involve extensive geo-technical and/or structural engineering design to account for a multitude of variables. Most foundation repair contractors will not have the technical know how to properly design Spread Footers.

Major Disadvantages Related to Installing Post-Construction Spread Footers include:

  1. Spread footers being installed too shallow, oftentimes just 2-3 feet below a foundation, which does not eliminate the effects of expansive soils.
  2. Because they are resting on expansive soils, they will need to be adjusted annually, while cracks and cosmetic damage will continue to form in the house, of which, the costs of repair will be the responsibility of the homeowner.
  3. Many contractors will use inadequate concrete for repair which is not designed to support the weight of the structure.
  4. Foundation Repair will last longer than a week as the excavations are made and the concrete will have to cure before the holes can be refilled.

Many independent engineers recommend Steel Piers for foundation repair because they offer the greatest support. By specializing in steel piers anchored to bedrock, Superior Foundation Repair understands the effects of expansive soils found in Central Texas and the best way to counteract them, while securely stabilizing a home. If you have had an engineer evaluate your foundation contact us for a free estimate on the cost of foundation repair for your home.

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The New York Times

On March 4th the New York Times published an article about the foundation repair industry titled “Shifting Soil Threatens Homes’ Foundations”. The article points out that the foundation repair industry has grown even throughout the recession as more and more home owners have been faced with problems caused by expansive soil (read more about expansive soil in Central Texas).

The Article states:

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association indicates that since the 1990s there has been an accelerating trend nationwide toward more extended dry periods followed by downpours. Whether due to random climate patterns or global warming, the swings between hot and dry weather and severe rain or snow have profoundly affected soil underneath buildings.

Clay soils, like those beneath the houses of Mr. Derse and Ms. Wilson, shrink during droughts and swell during floods, causing structures to bob. And because sandier soil loses its adhesive properties in dry conditions, it pulls away from foundations. Heavy rains cause it to shift or just collapse beneath structures. With both kinds of soil, such sinking, called subsidence, usually happens gradually, said Randall Orndorff, a geologist with the United States Geologic Survey. But, he said, “swinging from very wet to extremely dry weather like we’ve been seeing lately in many parts of the country may be accelerating the effect.”

While the author questions whether foundation problems are caused by global warming (this of course is an entirely different debate which we will not elaborate upon), she does provide an excellent explanation of how foundation problems occur. The soils in Texas are especially subject to these characteristics, thus the large amount of foundation repair companies that can be found in Texas.

The article also discusses the cost of foundation repair to homeowners and estimates that around $4 billion dollars a year are spent repairing foundations, a much more conservative figure than the $12.5 billion purported by the Foundation Repair Association. Regardless, foundation repair is a multi-billion dollar industry which people often tend to ignore until they see the signs of foundation problems.

The author also points out, “Subsidence is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies in the United States.” This topic has already been covered by Superior Foundation Repair in a previous blog post and readers should be aware of this fact already (read about insurance and foundation repair).

Another aspect covered in the article is proper techniques for maintaining a healthy foundation.

Landscaping should, as a rule, be installed so that water slopes away from the house and gutters should discharge at least five feet from the house to avoid oversaturating the soil. (read more about landscaping and home foundations) During droughts, experts recommend placing soaker hoses around the perimeter of the house and turning them on for 30 minutes a day. “The idea is to maintain a constant amount of moisture in the soil,” said Tom Witherspoon, a foundation engineer in Dallas. “If you can do that, your house will never move.” (read more about maintaining a healthy foundation)

Among other things there are a few personal stories mixed in with the article which highlight the hardships endured by various families who have dealt with foundation problems.

The article makes some good points about the foundation repair industry and the severity of problems caused by expansive soil throughout the United States, even if the article is loosely based around the idea that climate change may be the cause of foundation problems. However, the author also brings into question whether or not poor construction habits, the increase in new homes, or the availability of good quality soil have contributed to the increase in foundation problems across America. In all the article is an excellent read for anyone interested in understanding foundation repair and how it affects families.

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Dan Golding - Austin RealtorFirst of all – Definitely use a steel pier foundation repair system instead of concrete piers. Steel piers are more stable in the long term and they don’t settle like concrete piers do. Concrete piers are bigger and heavier and therefore naturally settle over time if not driven all the way to the bedrock. Concrete piers are also more invasive to your property. They are much bigger in diameter than steel piers, so they require a much bigger hole to be dug around your house or cut inside the slab of your house. Superior Foundation Repair in Austin uses quality steel piers and they drive them all the way to the bedrock!

As a residential remodeler and licensed Realtor here in Austin I have dealt with many of the local foundation companies and if you are looking for a reliable, Austin foundation repair company that stands by their word and takes pride and care in their work then Superior Foundation Repair is the one. I have worked with them on several houses and been satisfied every time. If you really want to find out why Superior Foundation Repair is the best then compare their honest, lifetime, transferrable warranty to those of other companies whose warranties are full of loopholes and pages of legal disclaimers.

Another thing is that when you use the biggest foundation companies in town then that company’s marketing costs, advertising costs and office expenses have to be factored into the prices they quote you. I recommend spending your dollars more wisely.

If you want a quality, pier house leveling system that is expertly installed by a company that stands behind its warranty then call Superior Foundation Repair.

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Dan Golding is a Certified, GREEN Designated Realtor & Residential Remodeler working for Casa Grande Realty.

Contact Dan via email:  DanGolding.Realtor@gmail.com

or phone:   (512) 590-2786

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