free foundation repair estimate
Austin: 512-320-1911
Toll Free: 877-302-5111
San Antonio: 210-220-1911
  • 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

home owners

Image: Daniel Rizzuti

This blog post will examine some of the factors that contribute to how foundation repair estimates are priced and educate homeowners about how foundation repair estimates are formulated.

  1. The Extent of Foundation Deviation

    Deviation refers to the extent that a structure is unlevel. If the home is experiencing severe signs of foundation problems, such as bowed walls, large cracks in the ceiling or walls, or doors that will not open or close properly in a majority of the house, it is feasible that the foundation will need to be stablised with interior piers to a greater extent than houses with a lesser deviation. The more stabilization a house needs, the more the repairs will cost.

  2. The Stability of the Soil

    In Texas, houses situated atop a great amount of unstable soil tend to need more interior piers to counteract the shrink-swell characteristics of soils. Each house sits on a unique mixture of soils and some soils have greater shrink-swell potential than others (read our article about soil types in Central Texas). Another factor that contributes to the stability of the soil is proper drainage. Improper drainage can cause erosion underneath a structure which will adversely affect the foundation, and cause it to sink. Naturally if the drainage problem is affecting the entire structure. More interior piers will be needed to counteract the erosion.

  3. The Size and Weight of the Structure

    Other major factors in determining the cost of foundation repair are the size and weight of the structure. Heavier structures will need more piering closer together to adequately support the weight of the structure. The size of the ground floor of a structure also contributes to the amount of piering that will be needed to adequately solve foundation problems. Larger homes will need more piers to provide support over a wider area.

Contact Superior Foundation Repair today for a free estimate on repairs. Superior’s Steel Piers are certified by Independent Engineer Consultants as required, and, all foundation repair work is backed by a lifetime transferable warranty.

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image courtesy of *Sally M* on Flickr

A list of 5 resolutions Central Texas Homeowners should take to heart to help protect their home investment and insure a healthy foundation:

  1. Know the signs of Foundation Problems

    There are many telltale signs of Foundation problems, which homeowners may not be aware of. Early signs of foundation problems may be chalked up to faulty construction, poor materials, or general wear and tear. But left unchecked may lead to major structural damage in the future. Read Superior Foundation Repair’s Top 10 signs of Foundation problems and check your home to see if it is starting to show any signs of these problems. Most foundation problems begin to manifest themselves within 3-4 years of construction, and when ignored can adversely affect the price of a house.

  2. Find out what type of soil your house is built on

    Austin is home to many expansive soil types. Expansive soils wreak havoc on home foundations, as they expand during wet periods, and contract during dry periods. All this expansion and contraction leads to major stress on home foundations, and over years can seriously damage a buildings structural integrity. Read Superior Foundation Repair’s blog post about expansive soils in Central Texas, and contact your builder or a certified geologist to determine what type of soil your house is sitting on. If you know you are in a potential danger zone, Superior Foundation Repair’s Steel Piers can counteract the effects of expansive soils on your home by anchoring your home’s foundation to bedrock.

  3. Learn how to avoid causing foundation problems

    Oftentimes Home Owners undertake remodeling or landscaping projects at home which adversely affect their foundations. Read Superior’s blog post about how home owners cause foundation problems, before making additions to a home or property. Well planned projects can save a lot of money and headaches for the future. Use certified contractors to complete any additions and do not opt for the cheapest option. Check the contractor’s standing with the BBB before agreeing upon any contract, and ask for a list of references.

  4. Maintain a healthy foundation

    As homeowners, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that minimal stress is put on a home’s foundation. Superior Foundation Repair’s Foundation maintenance tips are a good start for learning how to care for a home’s foundation. Follow these steps to counteract typical causes of foundation problems and to protect your home investment. Even if a home has previously had foundation repair (Spread Footer, Drilled Bell Concrete Pier, Simple Pressed Pilings, Concrete Pressed Pilings, etc.) these are not permanent fixes, and the home will most likely need foundation repair again in the future. Superior Foundation Repair’s Steel Pier House Leveling Process is the only solution for permanent foundation repair. By lifting a home’s foundation and anchoring it to bedrock, the home will have a secure foundation for a lifetime.

  5. Check your landscaping and remedy potential problems

    Check existing landscaping at home to avoid potential structural damage caused by poorly designed installation. Read Superior’s tips about Landscaping and Foundations to learn how to properly install landscaping additions to a home or remedy current problems a home may be experiencing. Inattention to Landscaping problems can seriously affect a home’s foundation, while proper care can help homeowners avoid headaches in the future.

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A frustrated home owner with foundation problems

  1. Overwatering

    Overwatering a lawn is a common cause of foundation problems in areas with Vertisols (Expansive Soils).

    A frequent source of damage is the differential swelling caused by pockets of moist soil adjacent to dry soil. For example, lawn and garden watering creates a moist zone on the exterior of a foundation, whereas the interior is dry; this creates differential swelling pressure on foundation elements.

    source: Damage to Foundation from Expansive Soils (pdf)

    Texans tend to overwater due to the unpredictability of the weather patterns. However, maintining a constant moisture level in the soil surrounding your foundation is imperative for home owners. Overwatering exerts added pressure on foundation walls which can cause them to swell upwards, thus causing the infamous, unsightly cracks to appear in walls.

    Watering – Year-round watering should be planned to avoid too much moisture in the rainy season and too little in the dry season. Automatic watering systems may help, but they can require a seasonal adjustment and attention to maintenance. If the valve accidentally sticks open, major damage could result.

    source: Living with Expansive Soils (pdf)

  2. Installing Landscaping too Close to a Foundation

    When considering landscaping for your house, it is important to keep plants a safe distance from the foundation, usually 5 feet or more. Landscaping planted too close to a foundation can cause the soil to expand through overwatering, deprive the plants of moisture (when the roots reach under the foundation), or in cases of trees cause foundation problems because of their roots.

    How Close to the House Should You Place Foundation Shrubs?

    Having shrubbery right up against your house isn’t good for the house, the shrubbery, or for you! So keep the following guidelines in mind when planning a foundation planting:

    Locate good-sized shrubs (6 feet tall or higher at maturity) in such a way that their mature foliage will remain at least 5 feet away from the house. You can get away with planting shrubs that stay shorter a bit closer to the house. Where you live also makes some difference. In hot, humid climates, you’ll want more air circulating between the house and the foundation shrubs, to discourage rot. Adequate spacing between the plants themselves, too, is important, to reduce disease and maintenance.

    source: David Beaulieu – About.com:Landscaping

  3. Improper Installation of Swimming Pools

    Swimming pools installed improperly can lead to water seepage into the soil. In Central Texas, the expansive soils will absorb this water and put increased pressure on your home’s foundation. Insure that proper waterproofing has been installed when purchasing a home with a swimming pool

    As swimming pools are always in direct contact with water and the hydrostatic head is very high, the waterproofing of swimming pools has to be considered very seriously from beginning and adequate steps are to be taken to ensure their water tightness.

    source: Swimming Pool Protection System (pdf)

    Diagram detailing pool seepage Pool shells always leak some amount of water from natural percolation through the structural gunite skin. If the pool is close enough to adjacent foundations, the entire building can be lifted differentially.

    source: Damage to Foundation from Expansive Soils (pdf)

  4. Improper drainage

    Proper drainage is an essential part of any home design. Included in this are gutters which deposit the water far enough away from the foundation to prevent it from influencing the foundation. Also a proper grade in which the land around the house gradually slopes downward, away from the house and deposits runoff water on the streets.

    The foundation should always be provided with adequate drainage, and the soil properly prepared to minimize changes in soil moisture and differential movement.

    source: US Department of Defense: Foundations in Expansive Soils (PDF) section: 7-1

    Superior Foundation Repair recommends depositing water from gutters and downspouts 10 feet (or further) from home foundations located in areas with expansive soils. Superior also recommends a grade of 3-5% sloping away from the foundation.

  5. Interior Remodeling

    When remodeling your home, it is important to understand why your home was designed the way it was in the first place. A major remodeling project which shifts the load of the house significantly, can adversely affect the original design of a foundation. Removal of supporting walls can wreak havoc. Also installing add-ons to a house situated on expansive soil can have the reverse effect intended, if not properly desinged for expansive soils. Make sure your contractor uses a design which will not be adversely affected by shrinking and swelling.

    Interior finishing. One of the most costly mistakes a homeowner or careless contractor can make is to defeat the design purpose of a floating floor slab. A floating garage or basement floor slab is designed to move freely. Therefore, any furring, paneling, dry wall, or interior partitions added to a basement or garage must maintain this freedom of vertical movement. Any added walls or wall coverings should be suspended from the existing walls or ceiling, and should not be attached to the floor slab. A minimum void space of 3 in. should then be provided just above the floor slab. This void space may be covered with flexible molding, or inflexible molding attached to the floor rather than the wall. Although these recommendations provide for 3 in. of upward swell of the soil beneath the floor slab, more void space may be necessary in areas of highly swelling clay. source: Colorado Geological Survey: Mitigation and Land Use (Swelling Soil)

Should your house experience foundation problems due to improper maintenance. Contact Superior Foundation Repair immediately for a Free Foundation Repair Estimate on the extent of damage done to your home.

Read our Foundation Maintenance tips for more information on maintaining a healthy home foundation

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home owners insurance won't cover foundation repair

Home Owners Insurance typically won’t cover foundation repair

In most cases, foundation repair is not covered by Home Owners insurance. Insurance is designed to cover unexpected/sudden problems which may occur, while home Foundation Problems generally occur over a longer period of time. In certain instances, however,a policy may cover home foundation repair.

Instances where Insurance may cover house leveling costs:

  1. Poorly designed plumbing system causes unsuspected foundation problems, normally seen as an unexpected/sudden problem which has to do with the construction of the house rather than the soil it is sitting on.
  2. In cases of earthquake, if a home owner pays a premium for Earthquake insurance, and needs foundation repair due to an earthquake, repairs will usually be covered by the insurance company. (More information on home owners insurance)
  3. sometimes flood insurance covers foundation repair costsIn some cases of flooding, if a home owner pays a premium for flood insurance, policy may cover foundation repair to problems associated with flooding, however, home owners should check their policy and/or contact their insurance provider to clarify the extent of coverage. (FEMA’s National Flood Insurance program)

Home owners should know their policy

In all cases, home owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of their coverage, and shop around for the best deals on insurance. Know what types of foundation repairs may or may not be covered by a home insurance policy.

Home improvement financing

In cases where home owners insurance does not cover structural foundation repair. Many home owners opt for home improvement financing to pay for foundation repair/house leveling services.

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Houston's Tier 1 research institution-Rice UniversityOn Tuesday November 3, voters in Texas approved an amendment which frees up $500 million for Texas Universities trying to become tier 1 research institutions. Texas is already home to 3 tier 1 schools: UT, A&M, and Rice, and there are 7 schools looking to make the jump up to tier 1 status: UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, UT-El Paso, UT-San Antonio, Texas Tech, Houston, and UNT.

Why is this good for Texas Home Owners?

Aspiring Texas University-Texas TechMore individuals with higher education, means a higher quality of life, better infrastructure, and more skilled workers. More skilled workers raise wages across the board, and improve the quality of work in the state. All 3 things lead to higher home prices in the future.

Also:

More engineers, scientists, and researchers improve our knowledge about our world, which leads to new innovations, better construction methods, and more efficient work models. In the future Texas will be better prepared and informed in the construction of new homes as well as business practices.

Better construction practices means less foundation repair

While this may not be good for companies like Superior Foundation Repair who focus on remedying foundation problems, Superior will do fine and expand our business model to meet our customers needs.

All in all more tier 1 universities in Texas, makes sense.

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