Posts Categorized: Foundation Repair

Soaker Hose Use in Dallas, Fort Woth, Plano, and Surrounding Areas

Another day in Dallas-Fort Worth…….another day of 100 degree heat……another day with no rain. As this Summer of 2011 turns into ground hog day I am often asked what a homeowner should be doing in regards to maintaining their homes foundation. The answer: Water the foundation. If you are from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex then the idea of watering your foundation might not seem so strange. Want to see a dumbfounded look on someones face? Find someone new to the area and tell them they should “water their foundation”. They will definitely look at you like your crazy!

The #1 thing a homeowner can do to avoid foundation repairs is make use of soaker hoses. There are only a few set in stone rules regarding soaker hoses:


1- Do not connect multiple soaker hoses together(nothing over 50 ft). This will cause a loss of water pressure towards the end of the line thus leading to uneven watering.

2- Place the hose 12-18 inches from the foundation. DO NOT place the hose against the foundation – this will lead to the water collecting at the bottom of the foundation beam and destabilizing the foundation. It can also lead to deterioration of the concrete.. The idea is to swell the dirt back into the house. This can be accomplished by placing the hose the proper distance from the house.

The most obvious question at this point: How often should I run the soaker hose. This is trial and error and highly dependent on the weather. The goal is to keep the soil surrounding the foundation damp. Not muddy, damp. Also, make sure the water is not ponding. The soaker hose should be dispensing water at a slow enough rate that the soil can absorb the water in its entirety. If the water is ponding then reduce the frequency and or pressure with which you are watering. A quick test: Go outside and try to place your fingers between your foundation and the soil. Is there a space? If so then you aren’t watering enough. There should never be a space between the soil and the foundation.

The bottom line: Soaker hose use prevents foundation problems and may prevent you from needing foundation repairs. It may also correct existing foundation problems.

Soaker hoses are recommended for all of the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex including Plano, Allen, McKinney, and Frisco.

Getting Your House Ready For Spring

Winter is over and flowers are blooming, with a new year and beautiful weather around the corner homeowners are in the initial stages of planning for their yearly spring cleaning. Before you start throwing your sweaters and jackets to the backs of closets, perhaps you should first consider preparing your house for the rainy and following dry seasons. For most people, spring chores include resurrecting their lawns and gardens. If done in addition to the aforementioned task you can cut down on the time and money invested towards your maintenance of your foundation.  With proper foundation maintenance you can stave off another brutal Texas summer and save yourself thousands of dollars in repairs.


Proper Drainage

During the rainiest season of the year for most of the country, it is especially important to focus your attention to your drainage. Poor drainage can leave a few minor and major problems with your property. For beginners you probably have noticed that poor drainage can be an eye sore for you and your neighbors. Not only that, but it can also become a safety concern. Standing water can become a breeding zone for mosquitos and mold. Taking care of a few things in relation to drainage will help protect you, your lawn, and help maintain the stabilization of your foundation.

First thing you will want to check is your home’s first defense against drainage, your gutters. Check to make sure all of your gutter’s pathways are free of debris. It might also be wise to consider gutter guards, a fairly easy DIY project that can dramatically cut down the frequency you will need to service your gutters. While inspecting your gutters, if you come across a section of your house that does not have gutters installed, check the soil near the slab. If it is dried and cracked away from slab, revealing below the skirt of the foundation, you should seriously consider installing gutters above this location. Check to make sure that all downspouts are connected and extend away from the building. Check that all concrete surfaces are not slanting towards the building so that no water can be directed under your foundation.

Proper Watering

Now after reading the drainage section you might be thinking to yourself, “I thought water was good for my foundation.” This is both true and false. In this situation I refer you to a classic childhood fairy tale “Goldilocks and The Three Bears.” What we are looking for is the perfect amount of consistent water saturation around the entirety of the building. In order to achieve this, we must subtract and limit any unaccounted for watering. Once we have a blank state, we can begin a watering regiment that is best suited for both your landscaping and foundation.

The best method for watering your foundation is to install a soaker hose around the perimeter of your building. This is another fairly easy DIY project that your home and yard can benefit from greatly. Along with the hoses, you can also pick up some timers and splits for your outdoor water spigots. These will allow you to create a set and forget watering routine. Also keep in mind the part about consistency. For instance, your front might require more watering than the back and sides of your building, due to more landscaping. Also you sides might require less watering than your back, due to your neighbors sprinkler system reaching the side of your house. Try to notate any such factors when setting your timer and be ready to tweak it the first week or so. You don’t want to water so much that you have standing water and you don’t want to water so little that it’s being evaporated before it saturates the soil.

Proper Landscaping

Trees and large bushes are one of the leading factors that cause the structural integrity of your foundation to weaken. When it comes to landscaping, the most important factors are location and volume. We typically recommend keeping any bushes or trees that are higher than 4 feet tall more than 10 to 15 feet away from the foundation. Use bushes close to the house that require little water and maintenance. Trees are typically the biggest offenders when it comes to foundation problems. Trees, more specifically the roots of trees, can reach out towards and under the building and leach large amounts of water from the surrounding soil. It is important to keep the tree and bushes properly trimmed. If you suspect that a tree’s roots are close to the foundation of your building, you might consider having a root barrier installed in between the tree in question and your building.

Adding these hints, tips and tricks to your honey-do list will definitely increase the lifetime of your foundation throughout the spring and the upcoming summer.

Stratum Foundation Repair provides residential and commercial foundation repair & root barriers to the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We have an “A+” rating on the Better Business Bureau with zero complaints. We strive ourselves on our customer service and would never let it get to point that you would even think of complaining. With over 13 years of experience we are committed to providing the absolute best service all the way around. For additional information about our company, products and services check out our website at or call us today for a FREE estimate at (214) 683-2956.

The Top 10 Mistakes In Foundation Repair Maintenance

1. Inconsistent Moisture Control

When using a moisture control system to water around the perimeter of your property, remember to account for anything that could lead to inconsistent moisture levels. Too much or too little moisture can cause the soil around the perimeter of your property to swell or shrink, respectively. When inconsistencies arise, you are more likely to see settlement in that particular area. Take into account concrete surfaces, landscaping, trees, run offs, down spouts and even your neighbors own watering habits.

2. Lack Of Rain Run Off Management

It is essential to allow rain to be directed away from your foundation. Inconsistent pooling near the slab can cause settlement issues in those areas. Use downspout extensions and underground tubing to move that water away from your house.

3. Improper Drainage Slope

It might not be enough to just have a drainage system installed. To ensure that all waste is able to pass through the drainage and no blockage can occur, it would be wise to have the drainage system slope away from your foundation at three inches every 5 feet.

4. Directional Sprinkler Systems

When using a conventional sprinkler system, make sure you have heads that are also pointing towards the foundation. You don’t want to over water, but you do want to assure your foundation is getting watered regularly. If using a hose-end sprinkler, make sure you are using one that also drops water directly onto the ground rather than shoot it in the air.

5. Watering While Windy

Even wind can have an adverse effect on foundation settlement. While watering a decent breeze can cause a sprinkler system to not hit its mark. If it is noticeably windy outside, change the timer or delay watering until it dies down.

6. Watering Mid Day

The hotter it gets outside, the faster water can evaporate. If you are watering when the sun is out, there isn’t enough time for the water to soak into the ground to help stabilize the foundation. Try watering when it’s the coolest outside, like at night or in the morning.

7. Landscaping Too Close To The House

Plants require much more water than homeowner think. By placing too many or a certain plant in the wrong place can leave the ground in that area undersaturated. Believe it or not, but a simple oak tree can drink up to 100 gallons of water in a day. Make sure large trees are further from the house than their roots can reach.

8. Soaker Hose Location

Placing a soaker hose up against the skirt of the slab can cause water to seep under the slab or cause it to evaporate too soon. Try placing your hose 12-18 inches away from the slab and 3 inches below the surface.

9. Believing Rain Is A Solution

Many People believe that rain is a means to an end and forget to keep up with their maintenance programs. However since it is dry most of the year, rain can actually be a catalyst to bigger problems. What expands must then contract back to it’s normal state. Remember to maintain your moisture levels even after a storm.

10. Ignoring Warning Signs

Don’t assume that any new crack, separation, door or window that doesn’t close is because of “normal settlement.” It is important to have a professional access whether or not these new cracks are going to get bigger. If you wait till they are, you will end up with more expensive repairs.


If after addressing these common mistakes you still are seeing movement, contact Stratum Foundation Repair today for an expert technician to come by to give you a FREE estimate to repair your home.


Free Foundation Inspections in Plano

Stratum Foundation Repair Dedicated to Restoring Foundations

Press Release January 5, 2016, Plano, TX – Stratum Foundation Repair in Plano TX has announced that their company is now offering free foundation inspections in Plano, Texas. This free service is part of the company’s overall mission to help Texas residents get the proper foundation maintenance and repair services they need.

“The first step the Stratum team takes to fix any foundation problems is to identify the true cause and nature of the problems in the first place,” explains Ryan Hise, the owner of Stratum whose background in real estate has helped clients make sure that their homes are structurally sound and upholding their value. “We offer our foundation inspection services freely so that homeowners can get a truly accurate picture of what the problems are, and the repair solutions are needed.”

Issues with property foundations are commonplace in Plano, Texas because of the soil content and climate of the region. In North Texas, the soil contains a significant amount of clay, and it contracts and expands depending on the temperature and moisture levels. The constant changes result in pressure exerted on the concrete slab of a house or commercial building.

“In Plano, pier and beam foundations are commonplace, and the slab sits directly on top of the soil,” explains Hise. “That means any expansion or contraction of the soil will directly affect the concrete slab foundation.”

A foundation inspection can help find signs that may indicate a problem with the foundation. Such signs can be found on the exterior of the property, while in other cases the signs may also be inside the home.

“Our experts are very experienced and well-trained, and they can find subtle indications that homeowners may miss,” says Hise, who still personally makes some of the home inspections to this day. “We can therefore identify problems so they can be repaired right away.”

Signs that foundation problems exist can include cracked drywall, along with windows and doors that no longer close as easily as before. There may also be some separation in the fascia area trim or brick lines. The free inspection provided by Stratum Foundation Repair in Plano TX involves a close look at the entire lot, and it includes inspection of the trees on the property as well.

“Depending on what we may find during the inspection, the solutions we may propose include putting in barriers for tree roots and correcting any drainage and grading problems,” says Hise. “We fix any current problems, and also recommend measures to avoid any damage to the house in the future.”

About Company

Stratum Foundation Repair, the highly regarded company for Foundation Repair in Plano TX, is owned by Ryan Hise. With several DFW locations, they can be reached at their Plano location.

Stratum Foundation Repair
Stratum is a family owned foundation repair company serving Plano, TX and the surrounding area. We can help you diagnose house settling issues, drainage problems, and fix your foundation problems right the first time.
101 E Park Blvd STE 600

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media
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Spot Signs of Foundation Problems in Plano TX

7 Signs Your Home’s Foundation is Failing

The foundation is one of the most important components of your home. Walls, rooms, insulation, furniture and more are all located on top of foundation, so it is crucial that the foundation of a home is laid correctly. Even the best-laid foundation can be shifted by the elements and disturbed by growing urban landscapes.

What to Look for When Inspecting Your Foundation

Good news for homeowners; the signs that your foundation is failing are usually fairly obvious and can be easily found and inspected by a foundation expert. Want to know if your foundation is failing? Keep reading below.

  1. Uneven floors – Uneven and sloping floors are clear signs that a foundation is failing. Walls can slope away from the floor, producing cracks and gaps between baseboards, tile, hardwood, concrete and carpeting. This can happen after flooding, from a burst pipe or other environmental factors.
  2. Exterior and interior hairline cracks – Clearly visible to the naked eye, hairline cracks on the interior or exterior of a home is another obvious sign that there is trouble below. Cracks can exist in the middle of bricks and mortar, near doors and floors as well as anywhere on the exterior of a home or building.
  3. Cracked molding – Much like hairline cracks that are visible on the exterior and interior of homes, cracked molding can be a sign that the foundation of a home is in trouble. This can be seen through a separation of crown molding, baseboards shifting and cracks running the length of molding to the ceiling.
  4. Cracks in tile- This is a concerning circumstance for homeowners. If the home is occupied cracks in tile can expose the damaged foundation below. Cracks in foundations are also visible from the outside of the home and can run from short to long lengths.
  5. Doors and windows that become stuck- When you find yourself heaving and pushing a door or window open to no avail you might have a problem with the foundation. As the base of the home shifts so do structures like door frames and window sills.
  6. Complete separation- Complete separation of walls, doors, windows and garages can occur in severe foundation disruption. This, in part, is due to the material that is impacted as well as the severity of the failing foundation. Cracks and gaps are obvious and should be treated immediately.
  7. Separation of walls- Walls made of brick, concrete, stucco and other materials are all susceptible to affects caused by foundation failure, including cracks and gaps. This can be seen when walls separate from one another.

The Next Step

When you find a crack it is important that a foundation repair contractor in Plano be called right away as the problem will only get worse as time passes. Yearly environmental conditions such as flooding and drought are two main environmental factors that impact the integrity of your home’s foundation. If you see or sense a problem it is crucial that you call a foundation repair specialist today to get repairs going.

About Company

Stratum Foundation Repair, the highly regarded company for Foundation Repair in Plano TX, is owned by Ryan Hise. With several DFW locations, they can be reached at their Plano location.

Stratum Foundation Repair
Stratum is a family owned foundation repair company serving Plano, TX and the surrounding area. We can help you diagnose house settling issues, drainage problems, and fix your foundation problems right the first time.
101 E Park Blvd STE 600

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media
Google +

A Visual Guide to Understanding Foundation Problems

5 Common Causes of Foundation Problems

We had this amazing infographic designed as a handy reference for property owners in Plano and the Dallas-Fort Worth area highlighting potential areas of concern that can lead to foundation failure.



Key Takeaways

  1. Most Foundation Problems Begin with Water and Moisture Issues
  2. Property Owners can reduce the chance of foundation problems by ensuring the abutting ground has the proper slope and grade to direct water away from the foundation

About Company

Stratum Foundation Repair, the highly regarded company for Foundation Repair in Plano TX, is owned by Ryan Hise. With several DFW locations, they can be reached at their Plano location.

Stratum Foundation Repair


Stratum is a family owned foundation repair company serving Plano, TX and the surrounding area. We can help you diagnose house settling issues, drainage problems, and fix your foundation problems right the first time.
101 E Park Blvd STE 600

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media
Google +

Dangers of an Un-Fixed Foundation

Discover the Importance of Prompt Foundation Repair

Imagine you are walking through a potential new home. For you, as the buyer, you want to know all of the ins and outs of the place. As you walk outside with the realtor you notice a crack in the exterior wall of the home. Is it a big deal? Should you say something? If you aren’t looking for a new home perhaps you have noticed a gap in between the flooring and base board molding of your kitchen. Do you need to be concerned?


The simple answer is yes. Foundation problems that go untreated can be massively damaging to your home in the long run. Often these details go unnoticed when you are going on a walkthrough of a new home or spending long periods of time in an existing home. Experts claim that a crack that gets any larger then 1/16 of an inch is cause for concern. This is a crack that can widen exponentially over time allowing water to creep in, and we all know how expensive water damage can be. Extreme temperature changes from cold to warm can split a crack that is only 1/16 of an inch into a much, much bigger issue.

The most obvious dangers of an unfixed foundation is the cost that is associated with repair. There is no small cost when it comes to real, actual foundation correction if the problem has been allowed to persist for a long period of time. An unfixed foundation might start as a small crack in the wall, but soon it can spread around the house and start to damage aesthetic portions of the home. This includes windows, doorways, crown molding, fixtures, walls and more.

Concrete Slab-on-Grade Repair Options

A foundation that has been left untreated can ultimately cause tile and flooring to cave in or allow nasty bugs like termites to invade your home. Termites live in the ground and only travel up through the walls once or twice a day. By leaving cracks in the foundation of your home you are making an easy termite highway to exist in the walls of your home thus causing even more structural damage in a completely new way.

More importantly, over time these cracks, gaps and fractures can be safety hazards for you and your family. Left untreated a poorly constructed or damaged foundation can split wood, crack tile and create an environment that isn’t suitable for children. If the problem has persisted over a longer period of time you might end up dealing with extreme cases of bowed flooring and large gaps in the floor of your home that can create expensive problems and unsafe living conditions.

It is incredibly important to contact a foundation repair specialist AS SOON as you see a crack, hairline fracture or gap in the floor or walls of your home. An expert will be able to logically assess the damage and give you a better idea of a plan of action that is needed to create a safe, functional home once again.

About Stratum Foundation Repair

Stratum Foundation Repair, the highly regarded company for Foundation Repair in Plano TX, is owned by Ryan Hise. With several DFW locations, they can be reached at their Plano location.

Stratum is a family owned foundation repair company serving Plano, TX and the surrounding area. We can help you diagnose house settling issues, drainage problems, and fix your foundation problems right the first time.
101 E Park Blvd STE 600

Follow Stratum Foundation Repair on Social Media
Google +

The 6 Steps of the Foundation Repair Process (3/4)

After you understand the basics of your home’s foundation and you’ve learned the signs of foundation issues, you will be able to assess whether or not your home may have a foundation problem. But, once you suspect that your home has foundation issues, it’s time to look into both the foundation process and finding the right foundation expert.

It’s important to understand the foundation process in case you may have in issue. That way, when you consult a foundation expert you will be able to correctly assess the situation, ensure you understand what’s going on with your home and prepare for the changes an expert will implement.

  1. Home Assessment

This consists of a walk-through by a professional foundation consultant. During the home assessment, experts create a visual map of the home. They’ll look to see where the damage exists in order to determine the cause of the issue.

Experts approach this foundation inspection with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Usually, by noting where the cracks or other type of damage has occurred, experts are able to determine the root area.

  1. Dig Into the Numbers

Once they assess the damage to the home, they move on to the next step of the inspection, which allows a more precise assessment of the damage through measurements.

Experts will work to create a diagram of elevation – mapping out inconsistencies within the home, which they will then compare to the visual inspection map that was created within the first step.

Then, they’ll take any roofing problems and humidity changes into account because those factors can cause cracking issues as well.

  1. Determining the Cause

With both the visual map and, now, the actual measurements, the consultant will likely be able to pinpoint the actual cause of the foundation damage, if any. Comparing the discrepancies or overlap in the two mapped diagrams will help them scientifically calculate the roots of the damage.

They’ll also take the aforementioned factors of other damage, like roof damage, along with weather changes, like humid or a dry season, watering changes to determine which factors are contributing to the foundation problems.

A foundation expert will ask a lot of questions. It may be helpful to think about some of their questions. While they will likely ask themselves these, it’s helpful if you have any information that may help them pinpoint any contributing factors to the foundation damage.

They’ll ask questions to gather information (from both you and the home), such as:

  • Where is the most damage?
  • Has it rained a lot this season?
  • Has there been a drought?
  • Is there any erosion in corners?
  • Plumbing damage?
  • Where do overlaps exist between the visual damage and measurements?

All of these can determine why a slab or foundation is moving. It must be a comprehensive approach that looks at all potential factors to determine the true cause.

  1. Assess the Damage

If the expert determines there is, in fact, foundation movement, they’ll need to judge how many piers will be needed, based on where your home’s concrete beams are located.

What’s a “pier?” Piers are large cylinders that are driven into the ground that support the foundation. These cylinders, or piers, are installed by digging out near the foundation every six to eight feet, which normally resolves the foundation issue. These are usually placed around the perimeter beams, not the internal beams.

Based on your home’s measurements and the extent of the damage found, experts will be able to determine how many piers will be necessary to level your home’s foundation.

When developing a repair plan, there are two main factors to address: the level of the foundation and stabilization. Not only does the foundation need to be leveled, it needs to stay that way. A great expert will develop a plan that addresses both factors. (See here for details in Allen or Frisco.)

  1. The Foundation Repair Process Implementation

The actual repair process is rather straightforward and doesn’t take as much time as you would think. Experts begin the process by digging holes straight down along the foundation, next to the spots they’ve determined piers should be placed.

Once they have created an accurately sized hole, they begin to install the piers. The piers are installed in sections, starting directly under the slab with different types of locking mechanisms keeping them aligned.

Piers need to be installed one at a time because the goal is to place as much weight as possible on each pier when it’s installed, to disperse the weight between each pier installed.

At that point, experts use a tool called a hydraulic ram, which is basically like a car jack but a lot more intense. This tool is able to expand and push the installed piers. At this point, the process becomes an applied math equation between the weight of the house and the force of friction.

Through the pier’s interlocking mechanisms, there’s a point where the friction is greater than the weight of the house, causing the house to rise, which is when experts must calculate when the home is level.

Then, the hydraulic rams are replaced with a different type of jack that allows more precision. The next step is to level or lift the house where the piers are. By lifting across multiple piers at the same time (just like you’d make level a picture you’re hanging), experts will stick a level into the ground where the piers are to ensure the home is level.

As the foundation gets closer to leveling, you’ll be able to visibly see the signs of repair, such as cracks closing and doors working again. That’s because when everything was originally installed, it was level and it’s returning to that same level.

Given the cooperation of weather, the average job is about 12 piers, which is enough to span across the front of the home (the most common area that needs work) which is about how many piers that can be installed in a day. The average installation job (digging, installing piers, etc., replacing/filling in holes) takes about one day.

  1. Creating a Long-Term Plan to Avoid Future Damage

Remember, leveling the foundation is just the first of a two-step place. The next is stabilizing the foundation in order to ensure this issue doesn’t continue in this area or other parts of the house. Installing the piers do help with this but you want to address why this issue happened in the first place.

Do you need a root barrier because it was cause by the tree? Do you need to install gutters to stop erosion? Are you watering correctly? These are the types of questions experts will ask to help you create a plan in order to avoid future damage from occurring.

It’s important to remember that, within the foundation repair process, you’ll need to work with the expert to both fix the issue (by leveling the home) and ensure you know the root of the issue to create a plan that corrects whatever caused the issue in the first place.

While the piers will correct the issue for a while simply with installation, issues can arise again if you do not seek out the root of the problem and correct it so it doesn’t occur again down the road. Seek out the right foundation repair company, where experts will work with you to both correct and address the issues.

Learn more about what you can expect from a good foundation repair expert and what you should look for in a foundation repair company within the last part of this series, coming soon.


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