Texas Foundation Problems

Home Inspector with Premier Property Inspections

     Texas is well known for Foundation Problems.  Some of the causes could be:

  • Sources of water such as leaking faucets.
  • Neighboring Properties drainage water onto your property.
  • Improper placement of soaker hoses.
  • Inadequate gutter systems and drainage systems.
  • Overgrowth of Tree root or bush roots.
  • Proximity to to Swimming pool, ponds, etc.

Do you think you have foundation problems?  Here are some things to look for:

  • Roof leaks when the roof material is still in good condition.
  • Check the house after a rain.  Does water puddle up next to the foundation?
  • Check for cracks in the concrete at the base of the house.  Small cracks could be non-structural, but larger cracks will be a definite sign.
  • Check gutters and downspouts.  Do they empty onto a splash block?  They should!
  • On the exterior of the home, check the bottom corners of the windows and doors.  Are there cracks along mortar joints in the brick veneer?
  • Raise and lower the windows in the house.  Open and close all the doors.  Are they sticking?
  • Look for nails popping out of the gypsum board.
  • Look for cracks in brick fireplace walls.
  • Look for interior cracks in walls.  Examine areas where walls meet walls.  Are they pulling apart?
  • Cracks in tile floors.

Because of the expansive clay soils in Texas, you must be very vigilant to make sure you do not end up with foundation problems.  If you choose not to "worry about it", you will probably being paying a large sum of money in the future to have your foundation repaired.

Here are some things you should do to maintain your foundation:

  1. Keep the water around your foundation at a consistent moisture level.  You dont want the soil to get too dry but you don't want water standing around your foundation either.  If you don't have time to check it periodically, you can put soaker hoses around the foundation. Do not put them right against the foundation.  These should be set about 16" to 18" away from the foundation.  You can also have an automatic sprinkler system put in just for the foundation.
  2. Never plant trees or large shrubs to close to the foundation.  The roots will eventually grow up under the foundation and the roots will also suck up all the water that you need for your foundation.  Trees should be planted at least 10 to 15 feet from the house.  Small shrubs are ok but larger shrubs such as red tip photinias and crepe myrtles can really damage your foundation.    
  3. Maker sure you gutters work properly and you have a splashblock to carry the water away from the foundation.
  4. Make sure the surface around the foundation drains away from the house. 
  5. Plumbing leaks/problems should be fixed immediately.

If you are willing to take the time, you can properly maintain your foundation to avoid any future problems or expensive repairs.

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