What Dothan, Alabama Homeowners Need to Know about Foundation Repair
We get a lot of calls and questions from concerned property owners in Dothan, AL wanting to know what they can do to prevent and repair foundation problems. Due to the demand, and the need for quality work in the area, we now proudly service our neighbors in Dothan, AL with a dedicated crew of structural experts.
Foundation problems sometimes plague homeowners in the Dothan, Alabama area for a variety of reasons. If you suspect foundation trouble, you’ll want to get reliable information you can act on quickly to protect the safety and value of your property.
With the right professional advice and assistance you can ensure years of worry-free living, but it’s important to act early. The longer you wait to check out foundation damage, the more your repair costs can go up.
Consider the local soil conditions
Some people are surprised to learn that geologists classify wide swaths of Alabama land as coastal plains even though they may sit many miles from the shores of the gulf. This has more to do with the elevation of the land and the way it handles water than its physical distance from the ocean.
Coastal plain soils in and around the Dothan region tend to be a mix of clay, loam, and sand. Although building experts consider these broad soil types to be generally good for foundation support, the proportion and distribution (and, as a result, their water handling capacity) can vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood and even from house to house.
The reason this matters to you as a Dothan area homeowner is that water can be a big contributor to early foundation failure. Water can not only exert a surprising amount of strain on the structural elements of your foundation, but also erode the underlying soil to the point where parts of your foundation begin to lose their load-bearing capacity.
Over time, the repeated force of shifting ground water or accumulated storm water (often referred to as “hydrostatic pressure”) can eventually cause parts of your foundation to sink, heave, and drift out of alignment.
Watch for signs of water damage or structural failure
In just about every home, regardless of the way it was built, some settling is normal and will result in minor cosmetic issues that are relatively simple and inexpensive to repair. In many cases you can perform these appearance fixes yourself with affordable materials you can find at any local hardware or home improvement store.
In homes that sit in a coastal plain area, the gradual forces of water are usually among the top causes of shifting soil underneath your foundation. As parts of the foundation sink or shift out of alignment, other elements of the structure can weaken or separate. These are some of the most common warning signs you’re likely to see:
Inside the house:
- Windows or doors that stick or move out of alignment
- Uneven, cracking, swelling or tilting floors
- Separations where walls meet ceilings or floors
- Cracks in sheetrock or interior finish materials
- Musty odors, mold, water stains, or mineral deposits
Outside the house:
- Cracked bricks – especially jagged cracks larger than one-eighth of an inch
- Breaks or cracks in above ground foundation parts
- Separations around windows, walls, or garage doors
- Separating, deflecting, deforming, twisting, or tilting structural elements
- Condensation or moisture that collects in basements or crawl spaces
Most foundation problems can be taken care of affordably and quickly but you should contact an expert as soon as possible you see any of these classic trouble signs.
Understand your repair options
A reputable foundation repair company will most often provide you with a free evaluation. They’ll listen to your questions and explain your repair options in a way that helps you choose the remedy that’s best for your individual situation and budget. Beware of companies that pressure you to make a quick decision and don’t take the time to thoroughly answer all of your repair questions. Also make sure that the repair expert you choose stands by their work and provides reliable warranty protection (we offer a lifetime warranty on foundation repair).
The fact is that the most common foundation problems can be repaired at a reasonable cost using minimally invasive and proven methods. Here’s a quick summary of the most common ones:
- Helical Piers – Experts in the engineering community agree that helical piers are among the most versatile for a variety of common foundation repair situations. As with their steel and poured concrete counterparts, they’re designed to efficiently shift load from your foundation to deeper, more supportive layers of soil. They’re cleaner to install and customize, and penetrate deep into the stable soils underneath your home.
- Steel Piers – A big technical improvement over old-school concrete piers is the engineered steel pier. They’re effective for stabilizing a variety of foundation issues, but can be installed much more quickly than poured concrete and are a lot less disruptive to your landscape. But they are not as durable or effective as helical piers.
- Concrete Piers – Before steel piers, poured-in-place concrete piers were the go-to method for new construction and they can also be useful in repair situations. Although concrete piers are generally reliable and stable, they’re much more invasive to install and may be more expensive by the time you factor in extra labor and the necessary drilling equipment. The foundation repair industry has come a long way since this “old school” method of foundation repair was used.
- Spot Piers – For more lightly loaded areas, these smaller, shallow piers are normally hand excavated in engineered positions and then filled with concrete and backfilled. This method is best for minor corrections under lighter loads, such as supporting a carport or a patio cover.
- Slab Repair – Unsupported concrete, such as driveways, pool decks, sidewalks, or patios can be stabilized by injecting high-density polyurethane foam below the slab. The advantage of this method is that it’s relatively fast and low cost. In most cases you can drive on a lifted driveway the same day with no additional curing time needed. This same method can also be used on sinking foundations with very little mess, but is not as effective or long-lasting as piering.
Choose the right foundation repair partner
We have been delivering quality foundation repair solutions in Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery for years, and now, due to the demand for quality helical pier work at an affordable price in the area, we now proudly serve our neighbors in Dothan, AL!
One of the most important things to know about SouthernDry is that we’re family owned. We’re small enough to give you personalized service and big enough to provide experience and reliability you can count on. We’re a structural foundation repair company first, but we’re also proven leaders in crawl space repair, crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing services.
Ensuring decades of worry-free living in your home is the ONLY reason we’re in business. We offer transparent, competitive pricing, and we staff your job with people who care personally about delivering great work and great value. We’ll answer your questions, make the recommendations that are in YOUR best interests, and stick with you until the job is done to your satisfaction.
Homeowners choose us over the big box outfits because we’re relentless about quality. In the unlikely event that something’s out of order, we’ll come back promptly and make it right. For peace of mind about your foundation, schedule a free evaluation today.