One of the things that set Perma-Pier apart from other foundation repair companies is our people. We never subcontract, we take great care in hiring the right person for the job, and we always ensure that the people we hire support our goal of making an effective foundation repair as painless as possible. One of those people is our in-house certified geologist, James Schmidt. Let’s learn a little about James, what he does, and why he’s a huge factor in why so many people choose Perma-Pier for their foundation repair.
PP: Why geology? What made you gravitate toward that subject as a field of study?
JS: I started collecting rocks and fossils at age 5. My grandmother used to take me “fossil hunting” so I was digging in the dirt from an early age. From there, I always had an interest in all the sciences, but geology was the path I chose.
PP: Where did you receive your geology degree?
JS: The University of Texas at Arlington.
PP: How long have you been with Perma-Pier?
JS: October of 2005, so almost 13 years!
PP: Why is it essential, especially in the South-Central US, for a foundation repair company to have a full-time geologist?
JS: There are multiple soil types across Texas. While the vast majority are expansive, many shrink differently, swell differently and transmit water differently. Therefore they affect your foundation… differently. Unless you are well versed in soil mechanics, it is near impossible to develop long-term solutions.
PP: Can you give us an example where a repair had to be customized due to a unique soil type – one that a foundation repair company w/o a geologist might have overlooked?
JS: Once, in the north Ft. Worth area a lady had two different foundation repair companies out. They both told her that her house was settling and gave her bids to lift it. One for $42,000 and one for $38,000. The Woodbine sandstone underpins that neighborhood. This sandstone is very porous and creates pathways for subsurface water. This, along with the distress present led me to believe the house had not settled at all but was actually heaving in the back. The correct answer was a french drain to capture the subsurface water and alleviate the heaving. She got the correct solution (and also $30,000 cheaper!) and couldn’t have been happier.
PP: What’s the ideal type of soil to have in this part of the U.S.?
JS: Sandy Loam. Sandy Loams are ideal because they contain far less expansive clay material and more non-expansive material like silts and clays. They are also ideal for most common landscaping plants, grasses, flowers, and shrubs.
PP: What’s the one thing that a homeowner can do now to help their foundation? (Maintaining soil moisture/proper drainage/etc…)
JS: Pay close attention to the west and south sides of your home as they get the most direct sunlight and evaporates the most moisture out of the soil. If the soil is pulling away from the foundation water more, if the soil is soggy, water less. Sounds simple because it is simple. Monitor drainage patterns around your home during heavy rains looking for signs of water pooling against your foundation. You may just need gutters or a drainage system.
PP: Finally, what does a geologist do for fun?
JS: Play in the dirt!
PP: Should’ve seen that one coming…
While just one part of our team of experts, James embodies Perma-Pier’s dedication to offering industry-leading expertise coupled with a service-oriented mindset, flexibility, and a willingness to work with our customers. You’ll find when you partner with Perma-Pier, that you not only get the best repair for your foundation, but you also get the best people.
If you suspect you might have a foundation issue, why not know for sure, for free? Contact us today to schedule your no charge evaluation.