Discover Why Texas is a Difficult Environment for Foundations
Texas is the #1 place for foundation repair. What we mean by this is that Texas is one of the states where foundation repair is most necessary. And because foundation repair is so common in Texas, as a result, we have developed unsurpassed expertise in this area of home repair. The two go together since expertise doesn’t grow in a vacuum. The severity of the state’s foundation problems has honed the knowledge, skill, and technology of the Texas foundation repair industry.
Why is Texas such a difficult environment for foundations? There are three elements that produce the perfect storm for foundation problems in Texas. These are a large and growing population, a variable climate, and a large belt of unstable soil.
Large and Growing Texas Population
Job growth in industries such as technology, manufacturing, business services, and energy, as well as a lower cost of living, make Texas a land of opportunity for many. In addition, many large companies have moved into the state because of its favorable business climate. Texas has highly urban areas as well as rural areas and is multicultural — broadening its appeal to many.
What does this have to do with foundation problems? It’s a simple matter of numbers. If the state had a sparse population, then regardless of its climate and unstable soil, foundation problems wouldn’t be much of an issue because so few people would live there to experience it. On the other hand, a large and growing population means more homes are exposed to and are affected by the area’s unique foundation challenges.
Variable Climate in Texas
Large areas of Texas commonly have hot dry summers and have been hit by protracted droughts in recent years. These droughts then subside and are followed in the spring by heavy rains that often cause extensive flooding. Sometimes flooding occurs in the fall as the result of the hurricane season. While hurricanes affect coastal areas, their remnants move inland and may cause extensive rain and flooding. Most people understand flooding damages foundations but it may be less clear to some why droughts would matter. The next section explains how the dry/wet weather cycles interact with the soil and cause foundation damage.
Unstable Soil in Texas
The Texas Blackland Prairie is good farmland because of its fertile soil. However, it is this very same expansive clay soil that makes it anything but perfect for development purposes. The soil expands when it absorbs water and shrinks when it dries. This wouldn’t present too much of a problem to home and building foundations if the soil’s moisture content remained constant. However, the variable climate patterns found in Texas means that the soil is either in a state of shrinkage during droughts or expansion during wet seasons.
While expansive clay soil doesn’t cover the entire state, it does encompass many areas of Texas with large and growing populations. This area includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and surrounding cities and towns.
If the soil expanded and shrank evenly, homes and their foundations would only experience slight seasonal changes in their elevation, but nature doesn’t work that way. The moisture content of soil is never consistent because the presence of thirsty tree roots can make some soil areas drier than others. Soil with constant sun exposure is drier than shaded soil. The soil beneath the center of your home’s foundation will be more moist during drought and drier in wet seasons than the soil at the foundation’s edge. The difference in moisture content means that some areas of soil are shrinking or expanding faster than others.
This means that the soil under some parts of your foundation shrinks or expands faster than in other areas. The foundation could be supported by the soil in some places while having no support in other places where the soil shrank. The soil may also heave against the foundation in other spots. The resulting forces can snap your foundation like a pretzel. Although concrete is strong, the forces from differential soil movement are stronger.
In spite of this, the foundation repair industry in Texas has successfully repaired and stabilized thousands of residential and commercial foundations over the last several decades. You can’t become the best at something without the challenge of difficult problems and years of experience. We at Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas have been in the foundation repair business for 3 generations with over 15,000 foundation projects in residential and commercial markets to our credit. For more information or inquiries, please contact us.