Austin is an interesting place for a foundation repair company. There is a variety of soil types depending on what part of Austin you are located. Each of those soil types impacts your foundation differently.
In the Austin area, one piece of property may have one kind of soil and the one next door might have something different. It makes construction difficult and can be really hard if the contractors don’t know what they are doing. The west side of Interstate 35 has a layer of limestone about a half a foot under the soil, whereas east of the interstate it is mostly a clay soil that will settle depending on the weather. You can really see the difference when driving on roads around the area. Some portions of the road are nice and smooth, other parts are cracked and bumpy. The USDA Soil Conservation Service has put out a soil survey that you can read here.
Some areas of Austin that seem to have more trouble than others include Zilker, Shoal Creek, and Scofield. If you have any concerns, you should schedule a free inspection. A reputable contractor will be able to determine if there are any current or future problems with your foundation.
How does the type of soil impact your foundation? Nothing is 100% stable, there are just too many variables that can come into play with a foundation’s stability. Clay soil can be affected by too much rain or not enough. If clay soil gets too much moisture, it can get oversaturated and push against the foundation walls. This hydrostatic pressure is very strong and can push walls out of place, causing them to bow or lean. On the reverse side, if there isn’t enough rain and the soil dries it out, it can remove support from the foundation. The house can settle unevenly, causing cracks and other damage. Either situation, if ignored can lead to your home or business collapsing.
Just because your home or business is built on expansive soil or clay doesn’t mean that your structure will fail. If the home has already had foundation repairs, those repairs should be covered by a lifetime warranty by the contractor. If the home or business has not had repairs, it would be a good idea to have a free inspection. A professional will be able to determine if there are any problems and the best way to repair them.
There are a few things you can look for that are warning signs that your foundation is damaged. These signs include cracked walls or floors, sticking doors or windows, uneven floors, and wet basements. Any one of these problems can be an indicator of a weak or damaged foundation and it is important that the damage is repaired. The longer a problem is ignored, the more money and time it will take to repair.
Because the ground under Austin, TX is so varied, the average homeowner isn’t going to know what kind of problems they may have. It’s important to talk to foundation contractors, structural engineers, realtors, and your neighbors. There are steps you can take to help keep your home or business stable. Make sure that you have clean gutters and that the downspouts drain far from your foundation. Landscaping and trees should be away from the foundation. Tree roots can suck the water out of the soil or push against the foundation walls. If there is a drought going on, try and keep the soil moist. Many people in the Austin area use soaker hoses, being mindful of city restrictions for lawn watering.
Keeping your foundation strong and stable will keep your home or business safe and comfortable for years to come. Finding a reliable and experienced foundation repair company will give you the peace of mind of a secure structure.