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Continuing Drought Causes Foundation Problems Across Metro

clock February 14, 2013 14:31 by author
Ongoing droughts in Kansas City are responsible for foundation settlement.

Drought Causing Foundation Problems

 

The following post comes is reprinted from KC Fox 4 News website.

 

Click here for foundation repair video from reporter

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area is nearly 17 inches short of average rainfall for the year, and the ongoing drought is taking a toll on more than just crops and lawns — it’s hurting metro homes as well. Foundation and mudjacking companies say they are busier now than they have ever been, and with no major rainfall events in the forecast they say that they don’t expect to slow down anytime soon.

Homeowner Tom Kammerer has lived in his home for over 40 years but just recently he began noticing cracks — the tell-tale sign of a troubled foundation. “We noticed it in the garage, the floor, about an inch and a half had moved away from the wall there,” said Kammerer.

Dennis Morgan, the president of Pro Foundation Technology Inc., says that Kammerer isn’t alone. Morgan says that he hasn’t been this busy in 34 years of business. “I’ve never seen anything like it, nothing even close to it and our phones are still ringing and this is usually our very slow time,” said Morgan. He says that a year without rain is to blame for most of the major foundation problems homeowners across the metro are facing. “Our soil here is very plastic — it’s clay soil, it shrinks and swells,” said Morgan. “You need to have hydration in this clay to keep it stable. Unfortunately we haven’t had any water so the soil has shrunk. The footings are setting in that soil, consequently the house will shift and move many times.”

Morgan says that the average repair job can cost between $8,000 and $15,000, and that if you suspect that your home has a foundation problem, the first step would be to hire a structural engineer to evaluate your home, then pick a contractor to make the repairs. He says that his company is backed up into the spring with foundation repair work.

Kammerer says that he’s taking a big financial hit, but says that it could be worse. “It happened to us — otherwise we’ve been really lucky in life so I’m not complaining that much,” said Kammerer. “But it is a cost you don’t expect to get involved in.”



Concrete Foundation Cracks

clock February 13, 2012 05:01 by author
Foundation cracks don't just magically disappear. Hire a foundation contractor to find out the severity and cause of your foundation cracks.

Is That Foundation Crack Serious?

Concrete Foundation Cracks, Foundation Repair, ECP

In a recent article by Christopher Solomon, Is that crack serious? Foundation problems 101, the seriousness of foundation cracks was addressed. This article spoke to the severe drought that began in Southwest Texas and slowly expanded to cover, Oklahoma City, Wichita and Kansas City. In its wake homes have settled, cracked and crumbled due to the soil drying out. The article went on to report - "The drought that some are comparing to the Dust Bowl has homes rockin' and rollin' as the parched ground beneath them cracks and settles. Homeowners are watering foundations - to keep their abode in place - and forgetting about their grass"

Being in the industry of foundation repair I have noticed the effects from this most recent drought. As the drought has grown the demand for foundation repair products has grown with it. Calls from foundation repair contractors have expanded in volume, frequency and territory. By watching the phone calls you could see how the drought slowly moved from San Antonio, San Angelo and Lubbock to Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton then slowly towards Oklahoma City and Muskogee followed by Wichita, Emporia and Kansas City. More and more homes have been affected by the drought causing them to settle and crack. The soil has been so devoid of moisture that it and anything set upon it has settled downward at an alarming rate. It has affected slab on grade homes, pier and beam homes and full basement homes with equal abandon.

Solomon goes on to explain "The reason: a black gunbo clay that was brought down during the last Ice Age". It also exists in the Atlanta area and in pockets elsewhere, including St. Louis and Denver. But even bedrock can move. The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that one-quarter of the nation's homes have suffered damage caused by expanding soil". With numbers like this it is easy to see what a serious problem we have throughout the Midwest and beyond. As with any major weather event homeowners are subjected to unscrouplous contractors and bad advice. Be very careful of contractors that are very aggressive or new to he industry. They do not care about your home like you do and will be off to swindle the next homeowner after they have collected your money. The best way to protect yourself and your home is to hire a professional foundation engineer to oversee any and all foundation repairs. Often this expense is not only something that gives you peace of mind but also can save you money by preventing bad contractors from doing more damage.

Foundation cracks are not something that goes away or fixes itself. The severity and cause of the cracks needs to be addressed by a professional foundation repair contractor or professional engineer. Then the right solution can be applied you your home to stabilize, lift or straighten your homes foundation. This is a highly specialized field to requires high quality products, professional training and a company that will stand behind what they do for years to come. This does not mean that the best solution is a written warranty that promises the moon in the large print and penalizes you in the fine print, but a written document provided by the foundation contractor that states he will stand behind his work and uphold his reputation. Dont fall prey to "lifetime warranties" that require arbitration and other tactics of poor contractors. If you have a future problem you need to know that the company will be around and willing to fix any unexpected problems willingly.

What to Look For

Later in the article Solomon goes on to say "Horizontal cracks across the foundation are often serious. Horizontal cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure - basically, too much water behind the foundation. It pushes on the foundation". "Here's a tip: Look down the outside of your house. Does the home appear to be hanging over the foundation, especially in the middle, as if the home is too big for it's foundation? That's a tell-tale sign." On the other hand, a vertical crack often indicates a more serious problem. Vertical cracks often are indicators of settlement, like what comes during extreme droughts. Is the crack wider at the top than the bottom? If so this is a classic sign of settlement. As the foundation tries to settle the concrete foundation starts cracking and starts "tearing" the wall from the top down. First and second floor windows and doors will start sticking, windows will become harder to open and close and drywall cracks will start popping up. These classic signs are indicators that you need to find professional help immediately. 

 



Most Popular Foundation Repair Products

clock January 7, 2012 20:50 by author blogadmin
A foundation repair contractor can determine the cause of foundation failure and provide foundation products to repair wall cracks.

Foundation Repair Causes

What causes foundation failure? There are many reasons why your foundation may be failing. Hot and dry weather conditions could cause soil to pull away from your foundation. This results to moisture imbalance causing cracks in the interior and exterior of the home. Your landscaping could also cause foundation failure. Trees and shrubs planted too close to the foundation causing transpiration. During transpiration, tree roots dehydrate the soil underneath the home leading to soil shrinkage and settlement of your home. Make sure all leaking pipes are repaired. Leaky plumbing can lead to foundation problems. As a homeowner, make sure you have the best waterproofing solution. Having proper drainage, can eliminate moisture build up that causes soil to expand. Clean all of your gutters and make sure you have the downspouts to redirect the flow of water away from your foundation. Poor building site preparation and ground preparation are also key factors leading to foundation issues. Knowing the causes of foundation failure will save every homeowner time and money in the long run. Repair these issues as soon as possible before it is too late.

Foundation Failure Signs

There are crucial signs to look out for when identifying foundation failure. These signs can be in the interior and exterior of your home as well as the garage. Walk around the perimeter of your home and look for cracks in the bricks, gaps around the window frames, a leaning chimney, concrete cracks, and garage column cracks. Look inside of your home for cracks in the drywall, sticking windows, concrete cracks, misaligned doors/windows, and sloped floors. Check your basement for cracked floors, water stains on floors and walls, and bowed walls. Don't forget to check your crawl space. It can be an area that many homeowners overlook. Inpsect this area for tilting or leaning walls, bowing walls, insect infestation, and cracks in the foundation. There may also be a musty odor due to high moisture and mildew.  Without foundation repairs, these conditons can get worse costing you time and money in the long run. Don't  jeopordize your family's health by exposing them to dangerous mold.

Foundation Repair Methods

When homeowners notice cracks in the foundation along with doors and windows sticking many realize that they know nothing about these structural defects nor do they even know what their options are. Just knowing your options can lead many people to a solution that fits their home, situation and budget. Knowledge is power when it comes to the structural foundation repairs.

The chart below provides which foundation repair underpinning and wall support products are used across the country. This data is a cross section of information gathered over the past decade.

foundation repair products

Contact your local foundation repair contractor or professional foundation engineer to find the best solution for your foundation problems. Your foundation repair contractor will inspect the situation and repair it.



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