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

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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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Happy New Year from Superior Foundation Repair

The Holidays are wrapping up and 2009 is coming to a close. New Years Eve is one of the most popular nights to get out and about in Austin. The easy choice is 6th street, but if you don’t want to fight the hundreds of thousands of people roaming the streets, here’s a list of 8 alternatives to 6th street for New Years Eve celebrations:

  1. First Night Austin 2010
    • An inter-generational, family friendly, alchohol-free celebration taking place at different location around Austin, download the complete Austin First Night program
    • Festivities start at 4 and include art, music, theater performances, workshops, and a parade among other things.
  2. First Night Austin New Year’s Eve Run
    • In conjunction with the First Night festivities, a 2 mile run starting at Auditorium Shores at 10 p.m. should get you in the mood for a fun and fit 2010
    • Registration
  3. The Eggmen at Jovita’s Mexican Restaurant
    • The Eggmen are an Austin Beatles cover band
    • They will be performing 2 shows at Jovita’s Mexican Restaurant on New Year’s Eve:
      • a family friendly show from 4:15-6:00 p.m. to commemorate the New Years in London. Price: $8 Adults/$5 Kids – available at the door
      • a New Year’s Eve bash featuring Ouch! (on at 8:15) & the Eggmen (on from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.) – Prizes, giveaways & food – price:  $25
    • Jovita’s Mexican Restaurant
      1619 South First St.
      Austin, TX 78704
      512-447-7825
  4. FINO Restaurant, Patio & Bar New Year’s Eve Dinner
    • A New Year’s Eve Dinner featuring Paella and New Year’s Eve Cocktails
    • Call for reservations, prices & more info
    • FINO
      2905 San Gabriel Street
      Austin, TX 78705
      (512) 474-2905
  5. Flying Saucer’s Annual New Year’s Eve Party
    • The Flying Saucer Draught House will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration with Free admission, a Free champagne toast, and party favors. Doors open at 11 a.m.
    • Inside the Triangle
      815 W. 47th St.
      Austin, TX 78751
  6. New Years Eve with Jimmy LaFave at Threadgill’s North
    • Join Texas music legend Jimmy LaFave at Threadgill’s North for a special New Years Eve concert and a delicious 4 course meal
    • Dinner from 7:30-9:30 p.m. download the menu (PDF)
    • Opening act:  Jess Klein
    • Main act:  Jimmy LaFave
    • Price: $75
      Music Starts at 9 p.m.
      call for reservations
    • Threadgill’s North
      6416 North Lamar
      Austin, Texas 78752
      (512) 451-5440
  7. Guy Forsyth and Sideshow Tragedy at the Saxon Pub
    • Legendary Austin Singer/Songwriter Guy Forsyth will be performing a special New Year’s Eve show at the Saxon Pub
    • Doors open at 8 p.m. & the show starts at 9
    • Tickets:  $20 (advance)/$25 at the door
    • The Saxon Pub
      1320 South Lamar
      Austin, Texas 78704
      512-448-2552
  8. New Years Eve Dinner at Lakeway Resort & Spa

Superior Foundation Repair would like to wish you and your family a prosperous 2010 and would like to thank all of our customers for helping make us one of the top foundation repair companies in Austin, Texas this year. We look forward to repairing foundations and leveling houses in the Austin and San Antonio area for many more years to come.

Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas from Superior Foundation Repair (photo courtesy of Thomas Stromberg)Christmas time is upon us. A time for family, shopping, and lots of food. This year, Christmas day falls on a Friday, and, typical for Austin, there will be things to do on Friday the 25th. Whether it’s a theater production, live music, or a movie, there is something for everyone. Especially those that enjoy the long Christmas day, but are usually antsy to get out and about by the evening. Following is a list of 5 interesting things to do on Christmas day:

  1. Antone’s Christmas show:
    • Carolyn Wonderland with Shelley King & Blues Mafia
      • “Blues-rocker Carolyn Wonderland is a singer/songwriter/pianist/ trumpeteer/guitarist from Texas. She began performing solo as a teen and then later with her band the Imperial Monkeys. While firmly entrenched in blues-rock, Wonderland and her group sport a diverse range of other influences, from country to zydeco to surf to Latin to boogie, and even jazz.” source:  Austin 360
    • Doors:  8 p.m. – Show:  9 p.m. – Tickets
  2. ‘Rockin Christmas Party’ @ZACH Theatre’s Kleberg Stage
    • “Austin’s rock-n-soul holiday spectacle, Rockin’ Christmas Party, celebrates a sweet sixteen years reigning as one of our town’s longest-running traditions!” (description from website)
    • Showtime:  8 p.m. – Tickets
  3. ‘The Santaland Diaries’ @ZACH Theatre’s Whisenhunt Stage
    • A comedy which tells the story of an actual Macy’s elf, Crumpet, and the difficulties of dealing with the demands of Christmas.
    • Showtime:  8 p.m. – Tickets
  4. Sherlock Holmes‘ – Opening day
  5. It’s Complicated‘ – Opening Day
    • With:  Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin
    • Theaters showing ‘It’s Complicated’

Superior Foundation Repair wishes you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holiday Season. Sign up for our RSS Feed and visit our blog again on December 28th for our recommendations for New Year’s Eve!

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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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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

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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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