Foundation moving in Texas

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Old 07-09-11, 09:08 PM
J
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Foundation moving in Texas

I have a question regarding timing of foundation repair. We live in Houston, TX, where we're been having a bad drought and lots of ground movement (clay soil). Our house is a mid 1960s house on a slab foundation. From what we've heard from our neighbors and from our experience in the house is that some movement especially when the weather is either really dry or wet is to be expected, but we had a lot of movement (cracks in the walls, gaps in the flooring). It looks like the house has had foundation repair on parts previously with piers, but not others, which are the areas with the most movement. We are considering getting it repaired, but I am concerned that since the ground is so dry things will move again when it starts raining again.

Two questions
1) is it OK to get the foundation repaired when we are in a drought?
2) Can the foundation move so much that it is not repairable?

Thanks,
J
 
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Old 07-10-11, 12:29 PM
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You mention "slab" and "piers" in one post. Slabs don't have piers, unless it is a horizontally poured floor. Can you fill us in a little?
 
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Old 07-10-11, 12:38 PM
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I've seen a slab foundation in TX get repaired on TV one time. The areas that had sunk down, they dug underneath, jacked up the slab, then inserted a premade concrete pier to hold it up.
 
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Old 07-10-11, 01:09 PM
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Yes, that is my understanding of how the slabs are often repaired in our area. The original foundation is just slab. The foundation repair people recommend putting in piers in the areas that are sagging. I think we will need to get this done, I am mostly concerned about the timing. Can the foundation move so much that it can't be repaired?
Thanks.
 
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Old 07-10-11, 02:08 PM
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I am not an expert, but I would think that it is possible to reach a point of no return. Have you asked the foundation repair people their thoughts on what happens when the ground gets wet again?

I guess this is what happens when you don't have deep foundations. I would think they would move to require them if this is such a wide spread issue. In the cold climates, we have to put or footings below the frost line. It's really basically solving the same problem that you have down there: soil expansion and contraction. For us it is caused by freezing water. For you, it's the complete absence of water.
 
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Old 07-10-11, 11:59 PM
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I think they have improved things alot recently with house pads in Texas, as now all use a pre-tenstioned cable system for one thing to help support some limited and expected movement. Texas is a little unique in some regards also. Texas clay is nothing like what is seen up in the Northern States and Canada and that is why they don't routinely dig out basements. It often resembles concrete more than anything else and makes digging almost impossible at times, and when it moves, it can litterly move walls, not only lift and lower a pad.
 
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Old 07-11-11, 07:10 PM
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Thanks for the input. I'm originially from up north and I when I moved here I couldn't believe how much the ground moves in the wet/dry seasons. I've seen some of the newer homes with the cable system, but our home is an older one.

Thanks again
 
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Old 07-17-11, 06:19 PM
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Foundation moving in Texas

We live in San Antonio & are experiencing the same problems as jkh772. Our house is built on a slab too & is about 30 years old. We have accumulated several small & annoying cracks in the walls, but this year I have noticed a very small crack in the foundation which extends from one side of the house to the other. I have also noticed a 3' crack in a bedroom ceiling. Some of the doors have had to be adjusted so that they can be closed. Floors are level & no wall involvment. Foundation repair with piers, etc is very expensive & not always a permanent fix. We are trying to decide wheither to live with it & just fix the cracks or spend the money. We haven't had it inspected by a foundation company infear that they are in it for the money.
What is the worst that can happen if we "just live with it" ?
Any suggestions ?
Thanks,
Roger
 
 

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