"We have seen it thousands of times in our 35+ years of service in Texas," says Martin Dawson of Dawson Foundation Repair in Sugar Land, Texas. "99% of the time, home sellers buy the cheapest, lowest quality foundation repair job available - and they are rubbish. The home sellers won't be around in a few years when the repair jobs fail, and cracks begin appearing in the same places."
Mr. Dawson refers to the common practice of home sellers making required foundation repairs to their properties before being accepted by buyers and mortgage lenders. Often home sellers have to make repairs to various parts of the house, such as roof replacement, carpet replacement, or new paint. And in east and south Texas, the clay soils are extremely problematic - shrinking and swelling with changes in moisture content. This soil movement cracks and damages concrete slab foundations - and homes - throughout this part of the country.
Minimally Functional Foundations
"Homeowners are hit with a triple whammy - minimally functional foundations from the get-go, dramatic and continuous soil movement, and overwhelming confusion about what constitutes a quality foundation repair job," declares Mr. Dawson, "and the result is that homeowners are wasting their money on poor, low-quality foundation repair methods that will fail and usually in short order. So that leaves home buyers asking themselves what they should do. Well, I have an answer. I'll tell you which companies install the lowest quality support structures during their foundation repair jobs. Then home buyers can tell these home sellers that they have purchased a low-quality foundation repair job that will probably fail in a few years and that the value to them, the home buyer, is close to zero since they will have to purchase another foundation repair job in a few years."
There is a lot of evidence to support Mr. Dawson's claim. First, almost every foundation repair contractor in the Sugar Land and Houston metro areas includes Mandatory Arbitration clauses in their contracts. The clauses work to the advantage of the contractor because homeowners forfeit their right to sue the contractor for shoddy work in a court of law. In addition, the contractor is allowed to select the "for-profit" arbitration company, which is an apparent conflict of interest. And the arbitrator working for the arbitration company is not required to be a lawyer, is not required to justify or explain his decision, and there is no appeal for the homeowner. Nationwide, consumers lose 90% to 95% of all arbitration cases. Second, virtually every foundation repair contractor requires the homeowner to pay for adjustments to the supporting structures installed under the home's foundation. When a homeowner has to pay for adjustments every year, it is a clear indication of a failed foundation repair job.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Crack In A Foundation?
There are a number of variables to consider, such as the Quality of the Foundation Repair Method. And the area to be supported is important. If interior piers are required, the cost is higher than strictly perimeter piers. Smaller foundation repair jobs in the Sugar Land area will cost $3500. The median price is approximately $17,500. Larger two-story homes with extensive foundation slab damage can cost much more.
When a concrete slab foundation cracks, it is usually an indication that the clay soils supporting the foundation have expanded or contracted due to changes in water content. Technically a foundation repair company will not "fix" a crack in a concrete slab. Instead, they will install support structures such as piers or piles to level and stabilize the slab. The goal is to re-level the concrete slab to the original elevation, assuming the original elevation was level at construction.
Bell Bottom Piers
Mr. Dawson's company installs Bell Bottom Piers exclusively because they are of the highest quality and permanent. When homeowners are educated on the differences and compare foundation repair methods, they will usually select a permanent solution. The low-quality foundation repair methods - called Pushed Pile - suffer from serious and inherent disadvantages. The structural engineers at A-1 Engineering has described foundation repair methods using Pushed Piles as Temporary and Useless.
Mr. Dawson has stated that Dawson Foundation Repair is the premier foundation repair company in Sugar Land, Houston, and Texas. They are one of the few contractors in Texas that install the high-quality and permanent Bell Bottom Piers.