Slab Foundation Repair – Houston

The need for slab foundation repair and leveling is unfortunately, a common problem in the Houston area. In fact, some estimate that there is more foundation repair work done in Texas each year than all the other states combined!

Since the mid-1950s the slab on grade foundation design has become the norm for almost all residential buildings in the area. A few custom builders will install basement designs with pier and beam internal supports, but that is the exception.

There are three types of basic slab designs; however, most builders today install the monolithic pour as the standard in our area. Newer homes can include pre-stressed concrete techniques in the design to increase the strength of the concrete and better control the spreading of cracks. But don’t be misled by the age of your home – according to Consumer Reports, about 15% of new homes have foundation issues too!

Cracks and Gaps Are the Signs of Slab Foundation Settlement

Cracks will show up at high stress points…look for these clues:

  • Cracks appearing in the concrete floor
  • Gaps between the floor and adjacent wall
  • Uneven or sloping floors
  • Interior walls separating from the ceiling
  • Interior wall cracks, particularly around doors and windows
  • Visible exterior cracks, particularly in brick homes – walls, doors, windows and chimney

Slab Foundation Repairs

Causes of Slab Foundation Failure

Slab foundations work by distributing the weight of the building directly to the soil beneath the foundation. The key reason many of the Houston area foundations crack and fail is because the soil underneath is or becomes unstable. The soil movements forces the concrete foundation to shift vertically or laterally beyond design specifications causing cracks in the concrete – snap, crackle pop!

What causes the soil to become unstable?

Extreme cycles of moisture – During any year the soil becomes very wet and expands and later it becomes very dry and shrinks.

Do you recall the weather pattern here in 2011? It was the year Texas had its worst drought in history, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As the soil beneath the home dries and shrinks, gaps form creating a void. The weight of the home is no longer supported and the slab foundation will crack and fall until it reaches some support. Many homes throughout the Texas experienced severe foundation damage as a result.

The opposite condition occurs when the soil beneath or adjacent to the slab foundation becomes saturated with water. This causes our expansive soils to swell and heave which can also lead to lateral and vertical movement of the foundation. High stress points and gaps are created resulting in foundation failure. See the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Guidelines for Pipe Bursting report.

The excess water can come from a variety of sources – slab leaks from plumbing (water supply and sewage drains), HVAC ductwork leaks, rain downspouts (or lack thereof), and ponding. Water leak detection and drainage management is the obvious answer to these common problems. At Houston Foundation Pros, we make this issue the first priority – we will identify the presence of these problems as part of our free, onsite evaluation of your foundation.

Slab settlement can also occur in instances where the structure has been built on poorly compacted or poorly drained fill material. In either case, the slab foundation will fail as the underlying soils shrink and settle. The concrete cracks as it falls / settles until it reaches support – the shrunken soil.


House Leveling and Repair for Slab Foundations

Identification of the causes and locations of your slab foundation problems is the key to a successful repair process. Many options are available, depending on the site specific issues identified at your location. Potential repair techniques include the following:

  • Drilled Bell Piers
  • Concrete Piers
  • Concrete Pilings
  • Helical Piers
  • Pressed Piers or Pilings
  • Steel Push/Resistance Piers
  • Mudjacking

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options. We will evaluate your situation carefully and honestly to recommend the best and most cost effective solution to your foundation problem. Our solutions are always based on proven, patented technologies, materials or systems to insure a permanent solution with a Lifetime Service Agreement.

Give us a call today and we will assist you with your slab foundation leveling and repair project.


Related: Root Barrier Protection