3630 FM 2181 Ste 103

Hickory Creek, TX 75065

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FOUNDATIONS 101

What is a slab foundation

What is a “Concrete Slab” foundation? 

A “concrete slab” or “slab-on-grade” foundation is a common foundation type in North Texas where homes are built in expansive soils. Benefits of concrete slab foundations are that they’ve proven to be long-lasting, quite sturdy, & (depending on the design) relatively inexpensive to build. Overall when engineered & built correctly, slab foundations are considered to be very reliable. 

Slab foundations are built by pouring concrete into a mold set in the ground, with no space between the ground & structure. The foundation mold is designed with a steel-reinforced beam system that includes a thick perimeter grade beam (or footing) & matching interior beams spaced in a grid-like pattern every 10-15 ft over & across.  Upon completion, this concrete beam system serves as the structural backbone of the concrete slab, which then of course serves to support the entirety of the structure. 

The downside of a concrete slab is that it rests directly in the soil which means the foundation can be directly impacted if changes to the soil occur. 

what are the causes

What causes concrete slab foundations to fail? 

Expansive Soils– Many North Texas soils are primarily made of clay, which expands & contracts when exposed to extremes in our climate. This directly impacts a foundation by causing it to rise or fall depending on the amount of moisture (or lack thereof) in the soil. Excessive periods of rain, drought & temperature like we’ve experienced recently only serve to accelerate these issues. 

Plumbing Leaks– Undetected leaks under the foundation can cause the structure to either rise or fall depending on the leak’s size, severity & duration. For this reason, AlphaLift includes plumbing testing as a courtesy as part of our repair process. 

 Erosion/Improper Drainage– Structures built on the low side of the street or on lots where water sits for long periods of time often experience foundation problems more quickly than those on the high side of the street or lots where water drains quickly. Maintaining functional gutter & drain systems positively impacts your foundation by helping keep moisture levels balanced. 

Poor Construction– Improper soil testing many times contributes to inadequate foundation design. Even when designed properly, designs may not be properly followed or concrete allowed to cure before proceeding with next phases of construction. Any of these can contribute to foundation failure.

Signs of foundation problem

7 Signs of foundation problems

  1. Cracks in foundation, bricks, sheetrock, or flooring
  2. “Sticking” or hard to open windows & doors
  3. Gaps around expansion joints, windows, doors or molding
  4. Tilted or cracked chimney 
  1. Sagging, bowed or uneven floors/ceilings
  2. Roof separation or leaks
  3. Plumbing problems or leaks

    7 tips – what to do

    7 Tips for a healthy foundation

    1. Don’t ignore foundation cracks- Early indicators of foundation issues can be cracking on the side of your foundation or on the seam where concrete meets the brick/stone veneer. If indeed you see cracks occurring in this area, it’s best to have your home inspected to make sure your foundation is performing properly. 
    2. Inspect & maintain drainage systems- Regular maintenance of your gutter systems ensures the system is functioning properly & directing water away from the foundation. 
    3. Keep moisture levels balanced- Maintaining balance around your foundation is critical if you live in an expansive soil zone. Engineers recommend utilizing soaker hoses around your home’s foundation 2-3 times a week for 1-2 hours during dry periods. Hoses should be placed around the home at 12-18 inches from the perimeter grade beam. 
    4. Monitor trees & landscaping- It’s important to avoid planting trees & shrubs too close to your foundation in addition to monitoring both tree & shrub root systems. Installation of a root barrier or removal of problematic landscaping may be required to avoid future foundation damage.  
    1. Properly grade perimeter of foundation- Making sure the soil around your home is properly graded is essential. Water should always flow away from the foundation, not towards it. This can be properly achieved by making sure the ground always slopes away from the foundation. 
    2. Perform annual plumbing inspections- It is essential to check for leaks, water pressure, and water flow to ensure your plumbing system functions correctly. A plumbing leak can cause significant damage to your foundation, and early detection can save you from expensive repairs.
    3. Perform annual foundation inspection- Regular inspection of your foundation ensures problems never take you by surprise. If drainage or other problems with your home occur, repair them immediately & always closely monitor the foundation for signs of movement. If you believe foundation problems may be occurring, please call our team of friendly professionals to schedule a free inspection/estimate. 

    SCHEDULE YOUR FREE ESTIMATE

    Whether your foundation needs repair or nothing at all, AlphaLift is here to help. To get the process started, simply fill out the estimate form and our team will reach out shortly.

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