Houston “Flash Drought” Reveals Foundation Repair Need

Houston TX street floodingFrom Flood To “Flash Drought”
Houston experienced record amounts of rainfall this Spring which created all kinds of problems for homeowners. Just ask those folks living without flooring and drywall since the Memorial Day storm and its flooding.

Since then temperatures have spiked into the 100’s and rainfall has been sparse or non-existent. Enter the flash drought. The opposite of a flood and less well known, a flash drought may prove just as damaging to Houston homeowners and reveal the urgent need for foundation repair. This quickly expanding drought comes only two months after Texas had its rainiest month ever recorded, with devastating floods that killed dozens.

Springs’s wet soil conditions caused our clay soil to swell like dough rising in an oven, flexing concrete slabs upward. Flash forward just a few weeks and quite the opposite condition exists. Soil that once rose like dough now shrinks like a dry sponge, becomes riddled with air cracks, and gives less support.

Unsupported foundations flex downward and stresses increase, cracking slabs and revealing foundation damage that was previously masked by our rain-swollen soil.

US Drought Monitor Map 30 June 2015US Drought Monitor map 11 August 2015As our foundations flex up and down existing cracks begin to propagate and become hinge points for exessive and progressive settling. This up and down movement and progressive settlement begins to tear drywall, crack tile and brick, move doors out of square and can get severe enough to begin negatively impacting frame, roofing and plumbing systems.  Click Here for Current Texas Drought Map courtesy of US Drought Monitor

Just a few weeks of flash drought conditions can do enough damage to keep a foundation repair company busy for months. And cost homeowners thousands.

Worrying Symptoms
Brown, crunchy lawns criss-crossed with air cracks, soil pulling away from foundations – these are strong signs that your foundation is highly stressed. Everyday now I see new cracks in brickwork, gaping expansion joints, and windows and garage door frames separating from their structures. These are often associated with visible landscape distress from lack of moisture.

If your grass is brown and the ground around your home is cracked,
foundation damage is not far behind. – Brandon Hoge

Proper maintainence such as consistent foundation watering and care of trees and shrubs can reduce the risk, although imposed water restrictions may make such action difficult. The best advice to homeowners is to maintain moisture consistency around your home. Use a soaking system as recommended by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and heed warning signs of a possible foundation problem.

Act quickly to stop the progression of this problem!
You can save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.

Schedule a foundation evaluation and
Get a free foundation watering plan

CALL US NOW – 832-230-5490

Pier and Beam Foundation Repair Houston

Many older homes in Houston, indeed some elegant newer homes, need pier and beam foundation repair.

Pier and beam foundation repair problems are quite different to concrete slabs, and, they require a different approach to restoration. They are usually composed of many vertical concrete bases which support the structure – called “piers”. This design approach lifts the support members of a structure’s floor, the “beams”, away from damp ground, thus reducing the likelihood of damage during flooding, and providing a convenient space for HVAC, plumbing and electrical wiring – a “crawlspace”.

Pier and beam foundations near Houston are constructed in two basic forms. The difference between the two is quite important when considering foundation repair.

Floors of a typical pier-and-beam-supported home rest on horizontal wooden timber beams often 6 inches square or larger. These floor-support timbers are raised off the ground by piers that are usually made of poured concrete or steel-reinforced concrete blocks. An interesting and important local variation is that many older homes in Houston used squared-off sections of rot-resistant Bois d’Arc tree stumps as piers.

Important Differences In Pier and Beam Foundation Repair
vertical concrete pier and beam foundation repair houston crawl space

Vertical concrete pier and horizontal wooden beam supporting floor joists in a Houston crawl space. Perimeter grade beam in background.

Distinguishing the two basic types of foundation construction is easy. Ask the question “what do the vertical piers sit on?”

Modern pier and beam construction uses a cast concrete “perimeter” or “grade beam” at the soil level. This surrounds your home providing a much larger bearing surface than the individual piers could provide. Most important, it ties together the vertical elements with a single horizontal unit.

Simply put, foundations with a perimeter grade beam can be lifted, leveled, stabilized with pilings, and warranted. Those without, cannot.

Adjustment of Floor Levels

An adjustment of the height of the floor is possible and can be done by raising the Continue reading

Foundation Drainage Solutions Save Foundation Repair

Why Would I Need A Foundation Drainage Solution?

Every home needs the right amount of foundation drainage. If you don’t have the right amount of drainage then you run the risk of needing a repair at a later date, something that you want to avoid at all costs. If your home does have poor drainage or if it collects within 4 feet of the foundation after heavy rain then you likely need a foundation drainage solution to relieve stress on the foundation of your  home.

Surface Drainage
Surface drainage solutions normally consist of 9″ by 9″- or 12″ by 12″ drains. A flexible PVC pipe is then added to channel the water away from the home. It should be noted that if there is not enough natural grade to drain the water away, you may need to invest in a pump and sump system.

Do I Need a French Drain?
A French drain is used to stop water from seeping into the foundation of your home. If water does seep under your home, it can move the foundation and this can cause a world of problems at a later date.


Foundation Drainage Terms

Collection Boxes
These boxes are normally 12″ x 12″ and they are set into the ground. The top is just below ground level and this is where the water enters. It is collected in the box, where it s then moved away from the home.

Combo Drain
This is a French drain and a surface drain that are used together to remove excessive water.

The water that is disposed by the drain

French Drain
A trench that is covered with gravel – the gravel redirects the water away from the area and into a pipe at the bottom. French drains are incredibly common and they can be used to relieve hydrostatic pressure from retaining walls as well.

A grade refers to the inclination of the ground from a horizontal perspective. If you have a negative grade, the slope is towards the foundation. If you have a positive grade, then it is sloping away.

Pop Up Valve
This is a drainage point where water can be allowed to flow from the pipe and away from the foundation. It consists of a spring loaded cap and it opens and shuts according to the flow of the water.

Retaining Wall
This wall is designed to hold in soil. It is normally present in home constructions that require levelling on the construction site. Without a retaining wall, the foundation could be compromised by slumping or soil erosion.

Root Barrier
This process involves cutting the roots of trees that are present near a foundation. A barrier is then installed to stop them from growing underneath.

Sump Pump
This is a pump that is normally used to remove water that has accumulated under or around the foundation. Water is passed through the sump and then the pump is used to move the water away from the site.

Surface Drain
A surface drain consists of several collection boxes and a pipe. They are designed to collect and move water that collects on the surface of the foundation.

Swales also play a part in residential rainwater. They direct the water from downspouts to a street storm drain. They are very similar to agricultural ditches and they are very efficient when it comes to controlling the water flow. They also help to carry any pollutants from the roof, garden and lawn, so there are many benefits to getting one for your own home.

Structured Foundation Repairs Houston is a proud member
of the National Foundation Repair Association.

Do I Need A Foundation Repair Company?

Home Foundation The foundation of a home is vital to the stability of the building but foundation repair or a foundation repair company is not something most people worry about on a day-to-day basis. Various factors can result in damage to your property’s foundation and it’s important to take action quickly if you notice any of the typical warning signs.

It can be difficult for the average person to determine whether any foundation damage has been sustained and if repairs are necessary. However, there are some classic tell-tale signs that could indicate that you do need some level of foundation repair in order to protect your home.

Warning Signs You May Need Foundation Repair

There are a number of clear warning signs that can indicate that a foundation repair company should be called upon for your home. Some of the key signs to look out for include: Doors and windows sticking:

Doors And Windows Sticking

Doors and windows stickingOne sign that you may require foundation repair is that your doors or windows appear to be sticking.

If you find yourself struggling to open and close them easily, it can be a warning sign your foundation needs to be looked at.

 Wall Cracks Suggest Foundation Repair Needed

Cracks in exteriorYou may notice cracks appearing on the drywall inside your home and on exterior concrete and brick walls. This includes cracks that zig-zag across the wall.

These cracks are another indicator that the foundation is settling and that you may need to arrange inspection and repairs.


GapsWhen gaps appear in certain places in the home, it may be a sign that foundation repair is necessary.

This includes gaps between the caulking and windows or doors, as well as gaps between crown molding and ceilings.

Sinking Floors

Sinking floorsYou could find yourself facing a major foundation repair issue if you discover the ground sinking close to the foundation.

If you notice anything of this nature you should contact an expert or repair company right away.

In Your Wallpaper

If you have wallpaper in your home, you might notice creasing and wrinkling, separation, or tearing for no obvious reason.

This is indicative of shifting caused by problems with the property’s foundation.

Sloped Floors Indicate Foundation Repair Needed

Sloped floorsFoundation problems often result in significant problems with floor sloping.

If you find that the floors are sloping more than one inch in every fifteen or twenty feet, you may need to have repairs carried out on the foundation.

Basement Walls

Soil expansion can create foundation problems for homeowners and one of the signs is where basement walls start to bow inwards. This is caused by wet soil putting pressure against the foundation and then pulling away again once it becomes dry.

These are some of the key warning signs that can indicate issues and problems with your foundation. If you notice any of these issues, it is important to speak to an expert in the field in order to get advice. Arrange an inspection so that any necessary repairs can be carried out as soon as possible. Taking fast action when it comes to foundation repair can save you a lot of hassle, time, stress, and money in the long run.

The Effects Of Climate Changes On Your Home’s Foundation

rainfallAnother key point to remember is that the climate in which you live could have an impact on your property’s foundation. In areas such as Houston, extreme changes in climate and weather are common. There is often heavy rainfall over a short period of time and this moisture is absorbed by the clay soil that is common in this area.

This then results in expansion of the soil, which results in increased pressure on the property’s concrete slab. During the summer, temperatures can rocket and there may be minimal rainfall. This then dries out the clay soil causing it to shrink following its expansion during the wet weather. This then reduces the lift for your property and can lead to extensive damage to your home’s foundation.

Protecting Against Foundation Problems

There are a number of steps that you can take in order to protect your home against serious and costly foundation cracks and issues. If any issues do arise you can get them sorted out sooner rather than later. Some of the steps you should take include:

Familiarize Yourself With The Warning Signs And be Proactive:

foundation wallsIt is important to familiarize yourself with the warning signs mentioned above, as these can be clear indicators of foundation issues. This will enable you to take speedy action and speak to experts if you do notice anything suspicious.

Also, make sure you are proactive rather than waiting for the signs to become obvious. For example, do regular checks on your foundation walls to make sure that no cracks are appearing. Or have a repair company perform a regular foundation inspection.

Clean And De-Clog Your Guttering

Gutters that are filled with debris and clogged up will not drain water away efficiently. This increases the chances of water collecting around the foundation of the property, which can then lead to considerable damage over time. With this in mind, you should make sure you clear debris from your guttering and keep your gutters de-clogged to aid the drainage process.

Check For A Positive Slope Outdoors

porchIt is important to ensure that outdoor areas such as the driveway, porch, patio, and yard have a positive slope. This indicates that they are at a lower point than the foundation. This means that water will flow away from the foundation, just as it should.

Call A Foundation Repair Company

If you do notice any problems or believe you may have damage to the foundation act quickly! This can make a big difference to the amount of corrective work required. The longer you leave it the worse the problem can get. Seek expert advice straight away. Call your local foundation repair company today for a free estimate for all your foundation problems.


Concrete Foundation Repair Techniques

Pier and Beam Foundation Repair“Pressed Pilings” are one of the most used common techniques for concrete foundation repair in Houston, Texas. The steel-threaded concrete piling and its installation method was specifically designed for the clay soils found here and in various areas throughout Texas. Take a look below to find out more.

How Long Would It Take To Repair?
The average concrete foundation repair project in Houston can be finished in one or two work-days. The installation is quick and efficient. This also helps to give any plants that have been removed a good chance of survival.

How Do You Install The Piers?

We will start by digging a hole with a shovel. This is normally around two-foot in size and it will be four to five feet below ground level. This hole will also extend under the beam of the home so it can be lifted with safety in mind.

We will then take a concrete cylinder that is 6 x 12 inches. This will have a ¾ inch hole and it will be placed directly underneath the grade beam. After this has been done, we will then take a hydraulic ram, establishing it between the cylinder and the initial beam.

Once the ram has been engaged, the concrete will be pushed into the ground. Every cylinder that we use will also be connected with a steel rebar but eventually they will be pushed until they can’t go down anymore. This is because it would take more force to push the piling than it would to lift the entire house, and when we are at this stage, we can then begin to install the required pilings.

Capped With Concrete
Of course, every piling that is installed has a concrete cap. After this stage has been completed, we will then lift the house by using a bottle jack. We will always make sure that the house is lifted to its original position, and this is done to try and stop any irreparable damage to the home or the structure.

Two cylinders are then set on the cap and steel shims are used to fill the gaps between the piling and the beam. Any holes that are present are then filled to ensure a top result every single time.

Before and After Houston Foundation Repair

Do You Offer A Warranty?
We offer a transferable Lifetime Warranty on pilings that we install. We want to make sure that your home is permanently stabilized on the foundation and we pride ourselves on the quality service that we offer to our customers.

Steel Pressed Pilings

Concrete Slab Foundation Repair Ram EngagedConcrete Foundation Repair with Steel Pressed Pilings
Steel Pressed Pilings
Steel pilings can be used in place of concrete pressed pilings and in some instances they may even offer a better solution. This is especially the case where the soil is notably sandy or where there are harder sections of strata between the layers of clay. If concrete piling is used in this instance then they may cause what is called a “false refusal point”. Steel on the other hand can penetrate through this without any notable difficulty.

How Long Will It Take To Make The Repair with Steel Pilings?

The same concept applies with concrete pilings; the average foundation repair can be done in one or two work-days.

How Do You Install The Pilings?
The installation process is exactly the same as the concrete piling installation, but instead of using a concrete cylinder, we will press one foot sections of steel pipe. These steel pipe sections are double walled for extra stability.

We offer a Transferable Lifetime Warranty to every single person who hires our pressed piling services and we aim to stabilize every portion of the foundation where piers may be installed.


Concrete Foundation Repair Terms

Builders Piers
Piers are normally poured before you lay the foundation. They are spaced around 4 feet apart and they are very shallow when compared to other structures. The piers are made to help hold the beam into place but due to low placement, it’s not uncommon for them to fail in this. For this reason, you may need to put more pressed pilings in place to stop any unwanted movement from occurring. In some instances the piers may be attached onto the foundation, and if this is the case then they might need to be removed.

Drilled Piers
Drilled piers have a concrete section that is put into place. This can be done in Situ or a steel casing, and you may have either a straight shaft or a bell bottom

A footing is the support base that is usually done for a wall. It can also be a reference to a shallow pier.

Differential Settlement
This term is used to describe a problem where one part of the building has moved at a different level when compared to the other foundation or walls.

Interior Pier
This is when the foundation might have settled more than usual and the elevation in the property needs to be raised in order to install the piers. The piers are normally placed underneath an interior beam however this depends on the original condition. They can be placed in a steel angle iron under the slab and once this has been done, you can replace the floor that covers this with ease.

Mudjacking is where you pump water, cement and dirt under the concrete slabs to fill in the gap as a result of the lift. The mixture is often referred to as being a slurry and the exact ingredients used can vary depending on the company and the job. You may also call it pressure grouting, but it is important to make sure the plumbing has been fully tested before you mudjack anything or else the slurry may go into the plumbing.

Concrete Piling
The piling method is when you use concrete cylinders to push into the soil. Eventually the piles get to a point when they can’t be pushed down any more, so they lift the building enough for us to get the hydraulic jack underneath instead.

Post Tension Slab
Post tension constructions help to create a grid of cables and these help to support the slabs.  Unlike inactive rebar constructions, this method also helps cover the cables, ensuring that they are protected from any corrosion.

Spread Footing
A wide and shallow footing is made up from reinforced concrete. They have a very high rate of failure as a piering system because of how shallow they are.

Steel Pilings
This pressed method uses a variety of interlocking parts that are pushed into the soil. They will then get to a point when they cannot be driven any more, and this is called a refusal point. Once this has been done, the next step can then commence.

This occurs when the foundation is moved upwards because the clay soils have swelled because of increased moisture content. Upheaval can lead to plumbing leaks and poor drainage. Upward movement after this point can distort the foundation and create various cracks in the finishes, which is something that you want to avoid at all costs.

Structured Foundation Repairs Houston is a proud member
of the National Foundation Repair Association.

Houston Foundation Repair for Savvy Realtors and Homeowners

Structured Foundation Repairs Houston Serves Savvy Realtors and Homeowners!

Our whole process is designed for the quick response you need as a realtor, and, to provide you all the documents lenders need to close your sale.

Other Houston foundation repair companies may quote realtors 2 or 3 weeks to evaluate a home.
They are telling you “No Thanks realtors, we’d rather work directly with homeowners, so we’ll just delay until you go away.”

Structured is different – we LIKE realtors!

And we’ll complete your foundation evaluation quickly.

Continue reading

COVID-19 • Structured Foundation Repairs Houston Remains Open

Structured Foundation Repairs Remains OPEN

In compliance with Harris County directives, Structured Foundation Repairs Houston remains open as an Essential Business during the COVID-19 epidemic.

In light of the current health situation in our country and around the world,
Structured Foundation Repairs Houston remains open, and, is taking the necessary steps to protect our customers and our employees.

masked foundation repair covid19

Mauricio Marroquin, Oscar Garcia and Francisco Hernandez protecting your health while getting the job done.

1. Any employee that feels ill or shows symptoms of illness is instructed to remain at home and seek any necessary medical attention until it can be established that they are healthy enough to return to work.

2. Surfaces and office equipment in our office are cleaned and disinfected routinely throughout the day.

3. Field vehicles and equipment will be routinely wiped down following use.

4. All employees are instructed to wash their hands frequently and to maintain safe distance between themselves and others.

Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees and that of our customers. As a customer, please do not hesitate to inform us of any illness that may necessitate the postponement of any of your established appointments with us.

As we continue to monitor the situation we continue to provide the best service in the foundation repair industry and will proceed with assisting your foundation and drainage needs while keeping the health of our customers and employees a top priority.

Call Us Now!
(832) 230-5490‬

Thank you!

houston foundation repair expert brandon hoge
Brandon Hoge

5 Questions You Must Ask About Foundation Repair

Your realtor, your electrician, your plumber, even your hair stylist 
must meet educational requirements and be strictly tested before being issued a required license to practice their trade.

Not So For Foundation Repair

Foundation repair is an unregulated industry in the State of Texas.

  • No licensing procedure for a foundation repair contractor.
  • No educational requirements for foundation repair personnel.
  • No warranty of work is required.
  • No requirement for liability insurance or dishonesty bonds.

Nothing prevents any individual printing up a business card, hiring a group of inexperienced day-laborers, and then beavering away on your most valuable possession – your home.

For Foundation Repair In Texas, You Are On Your Own!

Protect Yourself!  Become An Informed Consumer – Ask These Questions Continue reading

Foundation Repair: Savvy Realtors Avoid 3 Closing Pitfalls

Proactive, savvy realtors who know how to handle foundation repair issues gain the trust of buyers and sellers alike. And they will close more sales.

Foundation repair is a common closing issue in Houston due to expanding clay soil near the surface. Become successful as an agent and you will encounter transactions that hinge on foundation repair issues.

During a property sale, it is important for the buyer and seller to determine what will be done with any foundation repairs before closing. Here are three (3) foundation issues that realtors should avoid or have the expertise to handle:

  • 1. Buyers thought sellers would complete repairs before closing
  • 2. Certified Professional engineer did not certify the repair plans, nor the as-built work
  • 3. Contractor did not acquire the proper permit

Continue reading