Most people walk around without giving much thought to the earth beneath them, upon which they don’t just walk but also build their houses. Dirt is dirt. Isn’t all soil the same?
You might be surprised to learn that what we call earth, or soil, is granular three-dimensional particles that differ from one another depending upon their geographical location. Additionally, soil composition within a particular geographical location often varies considerably as well. Such is the case in Lockhart, TX, where many homes stand on soil that threatens their very foundation.
The Foundation’s Foundation
The ground beneath our feet isn’t necessarily as firm as it feels firm most of the time. The one thing we wonder is this: Will it stay that way? How do we know? Why does the earth beneath one’s home matter?
It matters because it is the support that underlies the foundation of your home. It’s what keeps the windows opening smoothly and keeps the walls free of cracks. It keeps the doors from sticking and the floors from canting. The ground is the foundation’s foundation.
The average person living in Lockhart, TX, expects to live in a level environment. It is something that people take for granted until suddenly, something changes. Perhaps an earthquake occurs.
One’s home is not secure if the ground beneath it doesn’t remain still. The land that heaves and hoes won’t do the foundation that sits upon it any favors. Unfortunately, earthquakes are not all that is capable of moving the dirt around beneath our homes and feet.
Before purchasing a home in the Lockhart, TX area, those shopping for a home should consider hiring a professional to perform an inspection of the home’s foundation. Foundation inspections allow people to be informed as they enter into a purchase agreement.
Any homeowner with reason to suspect the ground beneath him is rising and falling, as evidenced by symptoms occurring in his home’s foundation, should schedule an inspection too. An accurate assessment of a home’s foundation allows people the opportunity to make responsible decisions concerning it.
Expect the Lockhart, TX professional who comes to your home to inspect it for symptoms that indicate foundation problems such as uneven floors, sticky doors and drawers, cracks, leaning, and the like. The inspector should measure and draw your home to scale and indicate any areas where the elevation is high or low. Finally, this individual will sit down with you and discuss any problems found and help you find workable and affordable solutions tailored to your home’s foundation repair requirements.
Fortunately, Foundation Repair services are available for all types of foundation problems. Most home foundations fall into one of two kinds: concrete or post and beam. The diagnosis of foundation issues is as individual as a person’s home. They depend upon how the earth moved down below and upon the home’s foundation style.
Concrete foundations are slab foundations, and buildings are constructed directly on top of them. Building a foundation strong enough to support a home requires the creation of a steel rebar frame. This frame gets lowered over a depression of prepared sand, which cushions it. Next, concrete is poured into the depression to the thickness desired, usually 4-6″.
Sometimes the choice is made to employ tension cables alongside or instead of rebar for added strength. Grade beams are standard beneath perimeter and loadbearing walls. Concrete slabs are a common foundation type in areas such as Lockhart, TX, where there is no permafrost. (Frozen ground is another source of soil heaving, in climates where it becomes cold enough, long enough to be a threat.)
Should a concrete foundation in Lockhart, TX become compromised due to soil movement beneath it, effective remedies are available. One is installing a center pier beneath the support beam or traditional pressed concrete pilings, which has the added advantage of being inexpensive.
Pier and Beam Foundations
Pier and beam foundations in Lockhart, TX are the traditional type involving multiple posts or piers installed in holes dug beneath the building. First, the piers get created and leveled, and then steel beams are installed on top of them to provide the building’s foundation. This means is an ancient style of foundation and found throughout the country.
This type of foundation generally affords the home crawl space beneath it, an area whose size varies but provides access beneath the home. Pier and beam foundations are as vulnerable as any other to dirt movement below the ground’s surface.
Pier and Beam Foundation Repair involves first removing the skirting and temporarily shoring the foundation. Next, two-foot holes are dug and reinforced with rebar and poured over with concrete to create pads. The home is leveled mechanically with hydraulic jacks and then forms placed in the gap between the original footing and the new beam. Tiny discrepancies are shimmed, and the house, at last, rests levelly.
Repairs to the foundation of one’s Lockhart TX home become a permanent part of the home’s necessary paperwork. Look for a company that will stand behind the work they perform to level your foundation. Also, reputable companies are generally willing to stand behind their work by issuing a fully transferrable guarantee to anyone who purchases the home.
It took knowledgeable planning and hard work to level your home, and just as new homeowners should receive the paperwork for the roof over their heads, they should receive the warranty for the work performed to keep their foundation level below. Be aware that the work the company performed is warrantied, not the entire foundation of the home.
Just as a Lockhart, TX homeowner must watch out for slow-growing algae making their steps slipper or the fact that their shingles are beginning to show their age; they must also watch out for signs that the foundation of their home is experiencing distress. If in doubt, call for an inspection. Foundation problems left untreated are prone to causing more damage inside the house when the issues go unaddressed.