How Foundation Issues Affect Properties in Texas
Texas is benefiting from a real estate boom, and cities throughout the Lone Star State are more desirable and popular than ever before. There are many redeeming qualities about homes in Texas. Responsible, in part, for the increase in interest. There is also a higher risk of foundation damage than in many other parts of the country. Understanding these problems and how to respond to them can help you limit damage to your home and reduce repair costs over time.
Below, we’ll be discussing the common foundation issues in Texas and how and when to look for problems under your home. We’ll also offer some insight into which issues you can fix yourself and which require a call to a local foundation repair specialist in Texas.
Most Common Foundation Problems In Texas
There are several climatic and geologic factors at play in Texas that promote foundation issues. We’ll discuss each of these below.
Texas soil is one of the most expansive varieties in the world. Expansive soil has a high ratio of clay to other particles. The tiny clay particles not only readily absorb runoff and hold it suspended for long periods, but the ground grows in volume when exposed to water as well.
As you can probably imagine, expansive soil is an issue for home foundations because the expanding soil can put immense pressure on the concrete. If the soil expands enough, it can cause your foundation to crack, which can lead to differential settlement, a process that can leave your home with severe and costly damage.
The absorbent clay soil in Texas will also likely hold moisture against your foundation for extended periods, giving it ample opportunity to work its way in through settling cracks or pores in the material. This could lead to interior moisture problems, including mold, excessive heating, and cooling bills, pest infestation, and water damage.
Although Texas weather is perhaps best known for its drought conditions, it has a wet season that brings concentrated rainfall. From April to September, residents can expect up to five times as much rain per month as during the dry season.
Concentrated rainfall in the late spring and summer contributes to issues with expansive soil, including a higher risk of soil movement and foundation cracks, water intrusion, mold growth, and high indoor humidity.
The wet season in Texas is punctuated by long dry seasons and, sometimes, severe drought conditions. During these dryer months, the soil is given the opportunity to dry completely. The volume gained from moisture is lost as the expansive soil dries, meaning it will pull away from your foundation and could lead to uneven support.
The cycle of wet to dry soil in Texas contributes further to the risk of inadequate foundation support and the resulting damages, including cracking.
How to Identify and Respond to Texas Foundation Problems
Your home’s foundation works tirelessly under intense stress, so seemingly inconsequential problems can very often worsen and become severe over time. Knowing how to identify issues and when to check for them could save you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs over time.
Complete a DIY Foundation Inspection
One of the easiest ways to avoid massive home damage from foundation problems in Texas is to monitor your foundation for changes or problems. You can identify the beginnings of an issue by completing a DIY foundation inspection once every three months or so.
Most homes in Texas are built slab-on-grade, so you’ll only have access to the exterior portion of the concrete. Start by examining this area for any new or worsening cracks, unevenness, or signs of settlement, including gaps between the soil and the concrete.
If you have access to the top of the slab under your flooring inside, inspect the surface for new or developing cracks or wet spots.
You can also identify foundation damage in your living space in some instances. Check for cracks in the sheetrock around wall openings, high indoor humidity, moldy smells, uneven or sloping flooring, pest infestation, and doors and windows that are challenging to open or close.
You can also head outside and look for wavy or uneven roofing, cracks in the chimney or siding, or a chimney that is leaning away from the house.
Implement DIY Solutions
In many cases, you can DIY a solution to ongoing uneven settlement and moisture issues. Solutions include installing gutters, downspouts, and downspout extensions to prevent runoff from pooling around your home and coming in contact with the concrete. You can also grade the soil away from your house to push the water away from the foundation naturally.
If you’re a handy homeowner and don’t mind a few hours of work, you can also install a French drain system outside to collect water near your foundation and move it to a safe area for disposal.
Contact a Foundation Repair Specialist
Your quarterly DIY inspection and DIY moisture solutions are some of the best ways to avoid severe foundation damage. If you find symptoms of serious issues, including wide or uneven slab cracks, obvious settlement or uneven floors, or large gaps in your interior sheet-rock around windows and doors, your best option is to call in a foundation repair specialist.
In most cases with clear signs of damage, it’s best to get a professional to assess the damage and extent of the issue and implement an expert solution for peace of mind and your family’s safety.
Wrapping Up: Foundation Issues in Texas
Texas has a lot to offer residents, but anyone living in the Lone Star State is at high risk of having to deal with foundation damage. Unfortunately, the climate and the geology in the area put home foundations at constant risk of issues.
Luckily, understanding the common foundation problems in Texas, how to spot them, and what to do about them can help you identify and solve problems before they become severe and require massive repair costs to fix.
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