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

repair

Drilled Bell concrete pier image

Drilled bell concrete piers are a common method of foundation repair, but are actually best suited for newly constructed homes and structures. The installation of bell bottom piers in previously existing structures presents a myriad of problems.

Installing Drilled Bell Piers

First, let’s take a look at how Drilled Bell piers are installed in a house. Shafts are dug diagonally underneath a home’s foundation from the exterior of the structure. Once they reach the appropriate depth, either stable soil or bedrock, the bottom of the shaft is widened using special bits to create a bell shaped “foot”. The shaft is often reinforced with steel rebar before concrete is poured into it (further reading). Once the shaft is filled with concrete, the concrete must cure for 1-2 weeks. Upon completion of curing, the house is lifted and placed on top of the Drilled Bell piers.

The numerous Disadvantages of this Method as it Relates to Foundation Repair:

  1. First, an enormous amount of excavation is required and the excavated soil must be redistributed somewhere.
  2. In order to drill underneath the house heavy equipment will be placed next to the home causing considerable disturbance to adjacent landscaping.
  3. Also the vibrations of the drills, depending on their intensity, can cause foundations to crack further.
  4. Water may seep into the shafts before the concrete is poured causing the bell foot (the support) to be compromised. Any water seepage must be addressed before the concrete can be poured.
  5. The presence of toxic or flammable gasses may prevent thorough inspection of the shafts (book: Design of Foundation Systems).
  6. Upon curing of the concrete, pressure is applied, usually using bottle jacks, to the outter edges of the foundation to lift the structure up onto the piers.
  7. It is not possible to install interior bell piers on existing structures.
  8. The process takes 2-3 weeks before it is completed

So it is easy to see that drilled bell concrete piers installed in existing structures are not a viable option of foundation repair. If your home or business was built on top of belled piers, you will have adequate support.

Steel Piers compared to Drilled Bell Piers

In comparison, Superior’s Steel Pier foundation leveling process requires minimal excavation, no curing time for concrete, the installation usually lasts no longer than 3 days, can be installed in the interior of the house, does not depend on soil for support, and causes minimal disturbance to landscaping around the house. Because our steel piers reach all the way to solid bedrock, your home is protected against the effects of expanisve soils prevalent in our area of Central Texas, thus effectively counteracting the most common cause of foundation problems in our area.

Further Reading on Drilled Bell Concrete Piers:

myfoundationrepair.com
foundationdoctor.info
theconstructor.org

{ 0 comments }

Simple Pressed Pilings - Foundation RepairSuperior Foundation Repair will be examining disadvantages of various foundation repair methods, over the coming weeks, with an in depth look at why these methods are inferior to Steel Piers. The first type of foundation repair we will expose is the often used method of concrete pressed pilings.

Disadvantages of Concrete Pressed Pilings

In homes with Simple Pressed Concrete Piling Foundation Repair, concrete cylinders are driven underneath the home’s foundation one on top of the other using the weight of the slab to press them down until they cannot go any further (known as the point of resistance). Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell what this point of resistance is, it could be bedrock, stable soil or unstable soil. Most engineers agree this method of Foundation Repair is not the correct solution for foundation problems because expansive soil will continue affecting pilings after installation. When the soil expands it can work it’s way in between pilings and completely nullify the support this method is intended to provide (see picture above for example of piling displacement).

There is no factor of safety built into Concrete pressed pilings

The factor of safety is defined as “the structural capacity of a system beyond the applied loads or actual loads” by Wikipedia. Because the weight of the structure is used to press the pilings down until they can go no further, simple concrete pressed pilings have a factor of safety ratio of 1:1 which means any significant weight additions, have a great potential to cause foundation instability. According to Wikipedia: “Buildings commonly use a factor of safety of 2.0 for each structural member.”  This means foundation piers should be able to support the sturcture’s weight times 2 at the least. Superior’s Steel Pier Method supports a structure’s weight comfortably with a safety factor significantly greater than 2 by anchoring the structure to solid bedrock, which prevents future additions in weight to a house, i.e. add-ons, new furniture, etc, from causing any negative affect on a home’s foundation. Superior’s Steel Piers are certified by Independent Engineer Consultants.

Pressed Pilings installed in dry or unstable soil may sink upon the introduction of moisture

Because Texas experiences long periods of dry weather followed by wet weather, the soil moisture content is continuosly changing, causing expansion/contraction of soil (further reading: Article from Geology.com, Blog post on Expansive Soils in Texas, Article from USinspect.com). Therefore pressed pilings inserted into dry soil are unstable from the start. If the point of resistance is on unstable soil, increased moisture can cause the piers to sink further into the ground, or, if the soil is stable, expansion will cause the piers to move.

Oftentimes companies will pre-soak the soil to drive the pressed pilings as deep as possible. This is to prevent the pilings from sinking in times of increased rainfall. Introducing large amounts of water into soil is not good for any home at any time, under any circumstances. Superior’s Galvanized Steel Piers are driven through the soil until they reach the bedrock up to 100 feet below the surface, effectively securing a home’s foundation to a solid rock, which is unaffected by shrinking and swelling.

Further Reading on Simple Pressed Concrete Pilings:

An excellent article on the disadvantages of Simple Pressed Concrete Piers from myfoundationrepairs.com

{ 0 comments }

an old dilapidated house courtesy of godogo on flickr

  1. Cracks in walls allow water to seep in to sunken areas & basements

    • As a child our house outside of Houston, Texas, had a sunken living room which was built about 3 feet below ground level. Every time we had considerable rain (several times per year in Houston), our sunken living room filled with dirty water, saturating our furniture. The problems worsened year after year, until we hired a foundation repair company to come out and repair our foundation. After the repairs, water seepage was effectively stopped. Water can ruin furniture in sunken areas, damage carpeting and flooring, and cause mold to form, leading to health problems.
    • Is your home experiencing seepage? Read this article for a diy guide to identifying water seepage
  2. The condition of your foundation directly affects the price of your home and oftentimes affects the status of your home’s eligibility for a loan from potenial home buyers.

    • “Foundation cracks and settlement problems are viewed as serious defect to a home. Most homeowners realize this and simply will not purchase a home unless proper repairs are made. In addition, many lending venues (FHA,VA,Conventional) simply will not lend on a home with these defects.” source: www.repairfoundation.net

    • The FHA may categorize your house as a “Fixer-Upper” requiring the purchaser to get a special type of loan, subsequently lowering the value of the house. The VA has special guidelines pertaining to foundation repair this example details guidelines for a loan term of 30 years on a manufactured home:

      “To be eligible for a VA loan term of 30 years, a manufactured home must be

        • classified and taxed as real property

        • properly affixed to a permanent foundation (Section 12.10)

        • substantially conform with VA MPRs (Chapter 12), and

        • conform with applicable building code and zoning requirements for real estate.”

          For more information on the VA and foundations download this PDF (over 600 pages) and search for the term foundation

  3. The longer one waits to repair a foundation, the more repair will be needed in the future

    • Logically, the more a foundation shifts the larger the cracks in walls and flooring become, thus the more the costs of repairing your house increase. Stop foundation problems early to avoid future headaches.
    • Typical repair costs for repairing cracks
  4. 25% of homes across the United States will experience foundation shifting, a higher percentage can be expected in Texas due to the high concentration of expansive soil

    • “Expansive soils are present throughout the world and are known in every US state. Every year they cause billions of dollars in damage. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 1/4 of all homes in the United States have some damage caused by expansive soils. In a typical year in the United States they cause a greater financial loss to property owners than earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

      Even though expansive soils cause enormous amounts of damage most people have never heard of them. This is because their damage is done slowly and can not be attributed to a specific event. The damage done by expansive soils is then attributed to poor construction practices or a misconception that all buildings experience this type of damage as they age.”

      source – geology.com

  5. Repairing your foundation and the damage associated with it can help you lower energy costs.

    After reading Superior’s 10 signs of Foundation Problems it is easy to see how repairing shifted windows and cracks in a structure can affect energy costs.

    • Percentage of energy lost from different areas of a home:

      “Heat is lost to infiltration and air loss by over 3 times the amount it is lost due to ceilings. These categories generally stack up this way in terms of % heat loss in a home:

      • Infiltration / Air Leakage: 35%

      • Windows and Doors: 18%-20%

      • Floors and Below Grade Space: 15%-18%

      • Walls: 12%-14%

      • Ceilings: 10%”

        source: About.com

    • Perform an Energy Audit on your home to determine how much energy you are wasting

If you think your house is experiencing foundation problems then contact Superior Foundation Repair today for a free foundation repair estimate, if any are needed.

Further reading:  article about how to properly maintain a foundation

{ 0 comments }

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.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

{ 0 comments }

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.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

{ 0 comments }