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Cracked Foundations Due to Texas Drought

September 2, 2011

While the rest of the country is in economic crisis, foundation repair companies in Texas are doing a brisk business. Record dry conditions cause foundations to settle as clay-rich soil contracts, twisting house frames, causing cracks in walls, and preventing doors and windows from closing properly.

Homes built on concrete slabs which were placed on heavy clay soil are likely to see their foundation sink, crack and shift, causing multiple problems. When the weather is dry for a long time, the soil shrinks and pulls away from the foundation causing it to settle, or drop.

The most common fix for cracked or sunken foundations is pier underpinning, which can mean one of the following options: drilled bell bottom piers, steel, helical, and pushed piers (concrete cylinders that are “pushed” into the ground) – but this is expensive and may not be successful if the clay soil continues to destabilize around the home.

A licensed professional engineer will tell you that soil stabilization is the first step. A product like Condor SS can be used to bond with clay soil and make it less susceptible to water retention and loss that causes it to swell and contract. Once the ground under your foundation is stable, you can use foundation drip irrigation to keep your foundation from drying out and cracking.

Homeowners in North Texas with cracked foundation should consult an engineer first before jumping into a re-leveling of their house or a pier underpinning. Only a house on stable soil will benefit from foundation repair!

ABOVE: Workers from Lee Engineering in Arlington, Texas stabilize soil by chemical injection with Condor SS, an environmentally friendly chemical soil stabilization product.

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