"Most foundation repair companies promote a slightly different repair method, but the truth is that virtually all of these repair methods are the same from an engineering viewpoint," said Martin Dawson of Dawson Foundation Repair in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas. "Almost every foundation repair contractor in Sugar Land, Texas uses the same basic repair method, which is the Pressed Pile method," he continues, "because it is fast, requires little skill, and is very profitable for the repair contractor. Unfortunately, these profit-generating features are not in the homeowner's best interest."
Do Foundation Repair Companies Have To Be Licensed In Texas?
No. The Texas legislature has repeatedly failed to require foundation repair companies to demonstrate knowledge, expertise, and satisfactory customer service. All required is a shovel, a hydraulic jack, and a pickup truck to enter this industry.
Mr. Dawson points out that homeowners are often confused about the benefits and quality of the different foundation repair methods. There are significant differences in the construction and quality of the most common repair methods. The various Pushed Pile methods cost the contractor about $100 per support column in materials and labor to install. In comparison, higher-quality plans cost the contractor about $300 per support column to install. The most common Pushed Pile repair methods are Pressed Pile, Pressed Pile with inserts, and Pressed Pile with cable. These foundation repair methods have significant disadvantages, and A-1 Engineering has called Pressed Piles "useless and temporary."
How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost In Texas?
The cost question is one of the first questions asked by a homeowner. The answer is "it depends." It depends on the extent of the concrete slab's movement (up, down, or diagonally) and how much the slab is affected. An accurate foundation repair cost estimate is made once the inspector has taken elevation readings of the entire house and inspected the home thoroughly. But one thing is very true, "You get what you pay for." A high-quality foundation repair method is permanent, has a much higher load capacity, offers more stability with a larger footprint, and can resist future soil movement.
How Do I Choose A Foundation Repair Contractor?
The internet makes it easy for homeowners to find foundation repair companies with complaints, lawsuits, and bad reviews with a minimum of research time. A simple Google search using "foundation repair complaints + company name" can reveal some fascinating information about a company. Once the homeowner has weeded out the companies with too many consumer complaints, the following factors are most important.
- Does the contractor offer a Warranty?
- Does the contractor's contract require the homeowner to pay for future re-leveling of the foundation?
- Does the contractor's contract require the homeowner to settle disputes with Mandatory Arbitration?
- Does the contractor have the technical ability to inspect his installed piers/pilings? Does mandatory Arbitration clause almost always govern them for proper Depth and Alignment?
- How do independent structural engineers rate the contractor's choice of foundation repair method?
One of the most troubling aspects of the foundation repair industry in Texas is how disputes over shoddy work and failed repair jobs are handled. They are almost always governed by the Mandatory Arbitration clause in the original contract. Mr. Dawson points out that there is an inherent conflict of interest from the beginning in that the process starts with the repair contractor selecting the for-profit arbitration company. Other aspects of mandatory arbitration are just as troubling - such as no appeal of the arbitration decision, the arbitrator is not required to have a legal background, and the arbitrator's decision does not have to be explained or disclosed. Overall, businesses win 90% to 95% of all Mandatory Arbitration cases. Mandatory Arbitration is a very effective tool in defeating consumer complaints.
"Every Sugar Land, Texas homeowner with a concrete slab foundation issue should do their homework before hiring a contractor. Read testimonials, talk to independent structural engineers, and scrutinize the contracts; if the contractor's contract has a Mandatory Arbitration clause, the homeowner is forfeiting their right to sue the contractor in a court of law sloppy work and a failed repair job. Most homeowners want a quality service at a fair price, but that seems to be increasingly difficult to find in Texas's home leveling and foundation repair industry. We install a high-quality solution, Bell Bottom Piers, and we do NOT have Mandatory Arbitration clauses in our contracts," stated Mr. Dawson.