Why Slab Foundations are Popular Throughout Central Texas
Slab foundations are very common in Central Texas, especially in cities such as Austin, San Marcos and the surrounding areas. The climate in Texas ranges from hot summers to mild winters, which allows slab foundations to adapt to the temperature quite well, especially in warmer temps.
Texas has a very shallow frost depth, which is why the slab foundation is extremely popular here. If you had a slab foundation in the Northeast, you’d probably experience more problems than usual as it’s very cold in the winter months. Most slab foundations can crack in temperatures below zero.
However, the mild Texas weather doesn’t mean that your foundation is fully out of the woods. Over time, slabs can experience problems and may require necessary foundation repair. Like other types of foundations, a slab can experience issues caused by shifting soil, house settling, and a variety of other problems that can cause damage over time. The good thing is that the majority of these issues can be easily repaired.
How a Slab Foundation is Created
Slab foundations are extremely large (depending on the size of the house) slabs of concrete, that usually have a width ranging from four to 6 inches in the center. The concrete is poured directly into the ground at one time. The slab’s edges tend to be thicker, up to 24 inches in width, which helps provide extra strength around the foundation’s perimeter. Some slab foundations will use post tension cables, while others may use rebar, or steel rods. Both the cables and rebar can dramatically help to reinforce the foundation, making it very sturdy in order to bear the weight of a house. Most concrete slabs are poured on a layer of sand, to help with drainage and as a form of cushioned support should there be any land shifting.
One thing to be aware of is that slab foundations do not have crawlspaces beneath them. Unlike a home that has a basement, slab foundations do not allow for this, which makes it harder in some circumstances to access if there is an issue.
Grading the Property
Prior to the pouring of a concrete slab, the property should be graded, which helps the land slope downward from the house. This is necessary to help prevent any excess water from affecting the integrity of the foundation. A poorly graded foundation can cause major headaches, such as gradual sinking and settling based on inadequate soil compacting.
Grading involves removing any unnecessary debris that can affect the foundation. Items such as tree roots, plants and weeds can decompose to the point where it affects the evenness of the foundation and can cause sloping and stress on the home. It’s an important element as it can help direct where water winds up on your property. During the grading process, you’ll need to consider things such as landscaping, the placement of trees, driveway location, patios, and potential gardens. All of which should be taken into account prior to laying a slab foundation. Proper drainage will help prevent a whirlwind of potential foundation issue from happening.
Positives and Negatives of Slab Foundations
Cost: Slab foundations are relatively less expensive than other foundation types. The lack of a crawlspace and additional materials such as wood, render it a far less expensive alternative for a home foundation. You’ll also find that without a crawlspace, you’ll have greatly reduced heating and air conditioning costs.
Quick Assembly: A slab foundation is fairly easy to create. While there will clearly be fair amount of prep work before pouring the slab, the actual pouring itself can be done within the course of a day, and depending on the weather, the full procedure should take no more than four days to accomplish.
Lack of Insects and Other Critters: Being firmly secured to the ground, a slab foundation will reduce guest visits from rodents, bugs and other creatures we’d rather not have in our house. A slab foundation also greatly reduces the chances of mold and mildew, which attracts these creatures, since there is no crawlspace for them to find refuge.
Lack of Storage: Due to the absence of a crawlspace, a home with a slab foundation will clearly prevent extra storage. It also limits the ability to create spaces for utilities, such a water heater. Any type of ventilation or duct related work must be installed within the walls of your home or your attic.
Plumbing: This often tends to be the major cause of most foundation repairs. With a slab foundation, your plumbing will be located underneath the concrete. Any potential plumbing issue or leaks will need to be addressed by breaking into the slab with a jackhammer and determining the source of the leak. If you have a home with a slab foundation and you’ve noticed higher than normal water bills, then you may have a leak underneath the foundation.
Cracks: Concrete can crack normally over long periods of time due to weather and excessive moisture, such as long periods of rain and occasional snow. This is just one example, but there are many others as to why a concrete slab will crack. Temperature changes, a lack of proper reinforcement, improperly laid reinforcement and even poorly mixed concrete can be the cause of cracks in your foundation. Even the smallest crack can be the source of something more problematic down the road.
Of course many small cracks can be easily repaired, but if you notice the cracks expanding and if cracks start appearing in walls and window joints, then the foundation repair needs to be tackled right away, before it gets worse.
How We Can Help
If your home has a slab foundation and you’ve noticed cracks and other problems with your home, contact Done Right Foundation Repair We can fix small and large cracks in concrete slabs as well as repair any substructural slab plumbing issues.
In regards to under slab plumbing repair, Done Right’s team of specialists will use specialized tools to locate your plumbing damage as accurately as possible. By getting a pinpoint read on the location of the damage, we can minimize the amount of digging involved.
Our team will dig through your slab in the location where we have determined major damage exists. Once we reach the area in question, we’ll make repairs to both your foundation and the damage caused by these foundation issues, while also finding the source of the problem.
Once we’ve completed all necessary repairs, we’ll restore your foundation and your flooring, while also properly sealing your foundation to avoid any future problems.