Having a Good Foundation

Crack! Slide! Pop! No, it’s not a new cereal, but they are common happenings when your home’s foundation begins shifting. What causes foundation problems?

Some may be due to improper construction (wrong kind of mix, not poured or reinforced correctly), but most issues are due to the soil underneath the home’s foundation, and in Austin, we see a wide variety of soils depending on the area.

I’ve lived in three neighborhoods in Cedar Park in the last thirty years. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve tried to plant anything, I might get as far as four inches before hitting rock--if I’m lucky. Thanks to this, though, we might see less settling issues than other areas. That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, however!  As a realtor, I’m seeing some homes built in the 70s, 80s and 90s begin to show signs of what looks like settling issues. That doesn’t always mean our soil is changing; it could mean we’re not doing enough to take care of it!

According to Perma Pier, a professional foundation repair company, we can see issues pop up with homes’ foundations due to contracting and expanding of the soil underneath it due to too much or too little moisture in our soil. Too much water causes the soil to expand, or lift the ground--and your foundation. Too little causes it to sink. This continual fluctuation in your soil can cause minor to major damage to your foundation. Minor issues like tiny cracks in drywall are common and not necessarily a hint of anything more than minor settling. We see this happen with old and new homes alike. However, serious issues like large cracks, plumbing issues, or separation of walls are signs you need to call the professionals.

One great way to protect your home and its foundation is to have proper irrigation, landscaping and drainage installed, and then maintaining them. Now I’m a big DIY’er, and you may be, too. Before beginning any yard project, you can have a professional landscaper design plans for your yard based on its needs (the grading, type of soil, weather, shading, and how much/little you want to water). They aren’t expensive, and you’ll be ready and able to do things right the first time. Also, think about having a professional install your drainage system. Then, with those completed, you can DIY to your heart’s content--or hire someone and save your back.

If you’re already seeing issues (cracks in exterior/interior walls, doors/windows not closing properly), call in the professionals. While many different types of companies are able to install drainage systems, a qualified foundation repair company can correct drainage issues that are affecting the foundation. Perma Pier is one who offers a free evaluation, and there are others; just be sure to check the Better Business Bureau first to make sure you’re getting a reputable company.