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To See Part 1 Of This 2-Part Article Click Here: AlsPlumbing.com Slab Watering Part 1 of 2

 

This Is Part 2 Of A 2-Part Article Is About Slab Foundation Watering.  It’s provided as a public service by Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas.  Al’s provides repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s repairs slab leaks.  We also provide under-slab water pipe & sewer line repairs and replacements.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C provides repairs of all brands of Central A/C, Gas or Electric Furnaces, & Heat Pumps.  Al’s sells and installs new HVAC systems from American Standard (made by the same company as Trane), Ameristar (made by same company as American Standard), and Coleman HVAC (made by the same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you are having.  We can arrange an appointment at your convenience.

This article goes into notable detail as to how slab foundations become damaged, and why slab foundation watering can reduce the risk of slab leaks and slab foundation damage.  The same slab movement responsible for slab leaks is also what damages foundations.  We describe how to set up an Automated Slab Watering System for your home with a modest investment of time and money.  With this system operating correctly, the soil moisture-level under your home will stay much more consistent around the edges. Moisture-level stays consistent nearer the slab’s center without interaction from you.  Slab Foundation Watering reduces slab movement, slab leaks and slab damage.

If You Want Only The Information For Establishing An Automatic Slab Foundation Watering System, It Is Located At The End Of This Section.

slab leak due to cracked pipe

A Slab Leak Is A Fractured Water Supply Pipe Caused By Slab Movement

You Can Reduce The Risk Of Slab Leaks With Slab Foundation Watering

Steps Within A Foundation Repair (continued from Part-1):

  • Engineers Report This report is prepared by a licensed structural engineer, detailing what is wrong with your foundation and what steps must be taken to repair it.  Many DFW cities require engineer’s reports before beginning foundation repair. **  Check your city’s website for details.
  • Google Reviews can be a valuable source when choosing an Engineer.  Look for companies with high ratings + a large number of reviews.
  • If you want unbiased answers & advice, call an experienced foundation engineer.  He/ she can be of great value in helping you through the process and your repair options.  It’s especially helpful when the Engineer is independent from foundation-repair contractors.
  • When selling your home, it may be helpful to have an Engineer certify the foundation repairs.  It’s best to use the same engineer (or firm) that did the Engineer’s Report prior to repair.  This requires that the engineer make an additional visit(s) to your home. The engineer likely charges for these additional services.

TIP:  A Engineer’s Report is a wise decision, whether your city requires it or not.    It’s best to get a report that outlines needed repairs from someone who gets paid only for their report.  It’s best to choose an Engineer who is not affiliated with a foundation-repair company.

Note: Al’s does not provide Structural Engineer services, nor do we recommend Structural Engineers.

**  These cities require a Structural Engineer’s Report (the list may have updated):  Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Coppell, Dallas, Denton, DeSoto, Duncanville, Ennis, Euless, Farmers Branch, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grand Prairie, Heath, Hickory Creek, Highland Park, Highland Village, Hurst, Irving, Keller, Lancaster, Lewisville, Little Elm, McKinney, Mesquite, Murphy, North Richland Hills, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rowlett, Rockwall, Sachse, Southlake, Sunnyvale, Terrell, The Colony,  University Park, Wylie.   Check your city’s website for the most up to date information.

Foundation Repair Steps:

  • A hole is dug to gain access where new pier(s) will be installed.

foundation repair hole required

  • An Hydraulic Ram is used to drive the pier sections deep into the ground.  

foundation repair hydraulic rams to install pier sections 

  • Sitting Upon The Newly Installed Pier, Hydraulic Jacks lift the home to its correct position.

foundation repair with hydraulic jack still in place

  • Once the home is in its correct position, Concrete Cylinders or Brackets are installed and hydraulic jacks are removed.  

foundation repair showing concrete cylinders installed where hydraulic jack was  foundation repair clips attach to pier and foundation

  • The last step is lawn restoration.

 

Do You Need Slab Foundation Watering After Having Piers Installed?

Unless the entire foundation is supported by piers, it’s important to continue slab foundation watering.   Foundation repair is only performed where it’s needed and  that seldom includes the entire foundation.   Continue slab foundation watering to minimize the chance of your home needing foundation piers in additional areas.

 

Slab Foundation Construction Methods Over The Years

photo of newly built concrete slab foundation

How well a DFW slab foundation handles expansive soil depends on when it was built.

  • A DFW 1950’s — early 1960’s concrete slab consists of only 4-inch concrete pad with a beam around the outside edges.  No reinforcing rebar metal was requried.  The expectation was the slab would “float” on top of the soil.  Due to lack of rebar reinforcement, these slabs are not strong enough to accommodate uneven soil movement.  Soil movement can easily cause these slabs to crack, heave or settle.  The weaker the foundation, the more important slab foundation watering becomes.

floating slab diagram

  • In 1968, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Established Minimum Standards for residential concrete slab foundations.  This gave way to Universal Design Standards.

In 1968, Three Slab Classifications Were Created:

  • Type I     4″ pad with a perimeter beam along the outside edges.  Beam size = 10″(deep) x 6″ inches (wide).  No requirement for rebar.
  • Type II   4″ pad + rebar metal.  Perimeter beam increased to 16″ x 8″.
  • Type III  Rebar metal is required in both pad & beams +  Internal Beams are required every 15 feet  +  Beams increased to 20″ x 8″.

photo of rebar in slab foundation  diagram showing perimeter beam for slab foundation

Rebar Steel added to strengthen the slab.       Perimeter (outside edge) Beam was enlarged.

 

Later Version Slabs

  • Post-Tension Slabs are a Variation Of Slab Type III.  Post-Tension Cables are added & up to 65% of the rebar is eliminated.  Spacing between beams is also reduced.
  • Within these slabs are steel cables stretched to create very high inward pressure.  These cables hold the slab in a state of very strong compression, making it stronger.

diagram of post-tension cable used in slab foundations cable tensioning machine for post tension slab photo of post tension slab before cement is poured showing post tension cables

Diagram of post-tension cables.                             Hydraulic machine stretches cables extremely tight.   ^ Foundation before cement. The Post-Tension Cables are visible.

 

In DFW, new home builders generally use Stiffened Slab On Grade Foundations.   These foundations have a waffle-pattern of interior beams, in addition to the perimeter beam.

photo of post tension slab before cement is poured showing post tension cables

Stiffened Slab On Grade Foundation

When cement is poured, the gaps (see photo) form a waffle-pattern of a perimeter + interior beams.

 

  • Pier & Slab   A relatively new type of slab.  The entire slab sits on piers.  Once completed the slab is elevated above the soil to isolate it from soil movement. 

 

Tella Firma’s System Lifts The Slab Slightly Above The Soil.  Here’s How It Works:

  • Before construction begins, a Geo-Technical Engineer takes a soil sample to calculate how much the soil can rise & fall.
  • The choice of best piers is made.
  • Piers are installed in the ground prior to slab construction.  The piers carry the load of the foundation, below the soil’s Active Zone, to either stable soil or bedrock.
  • When the slab is poured, it includes the hardware to lift it above the ground.
  • After the slab is completed, it is raised above the ground enough to accommodate that particular homesite’s soil expansion & contraction properties.

Pier And Beam Foundations

  • Pier And Beam Foundation Is Not A Slab.  The home’s foundation (made of wood beams) is above the ground and sitting on piers.  These homes have a crawl space beneath the home.

diagram explains pier and beam foundation  photo of pier and beam foundation before home is built  photo of pier and beam foundation after home is built

Diagram Of Pier & Beam Foundation                                                               Pier & Beam Foundation                    Pier & Beam Foundation – Home Construction Complete

CREATING YOUR OWN SLAB-WATERING SYSTEM

weeper hose

Reduce The Risk Of Foundation Damage By Keeping The Soil-Moisture More Consistent With A Pre-Programmed Slab-Watering Schedule 

Due to importance of slab-watering, the North Texas Municipal Water District exempts slab watering from watering-restrictions.  But, there are likely times of the day when you cannot slab-water.  Check your city’s website for details.

For A News Article About Slab-Watering, Click On This Link: DallasNews.com Fend Off Foundation Troubles By Watering Right

Many Underground Lawn Watering Systems Are (or can be) Designed To Water The Slab Too  

If you are not sure yours does, call a lawn-watering systems company to inspect your system.  If your existing lawn watering system does not provide foundation watering, you may be able to add that capability.

Create An Above-Ground Slab Watering System

If you don’t have an underground watering system, you can create an automatic, above-ground watering system for your slab foundation.   Follow the steps below, and you will have everything you need with a modest investment of money & time.

  • Place “Weeper-Hoses” 20-24 inches from the edge of the foundation on all sides of the house.  Use 1 hose for each side of house to avoid connecting additional hoses.  When weeper-hoses become too long, the far end of the hose does not get enough water.

picture of weeper hose  weeper hose for foundation watering  close up of weeper hose during use

Weeper Hose                                                    Place hoses 20-24 inches from house.                                                  Shown: A weeper hose during use.

 

  • Connect hoses to automatic timers designed for garden hoses.

one hose automatic shut off timer four hose automatic shut off timer

Single-Hose Timer                                Four-Hose Timer

How Long To Water

  • A rule of thumb is to water for 15-20 minutes a day, 3 to 5 day per week during the summer.
  • In spring & late fall, the summer schedule may need to be reduced.
  • Watering early in the morning helps minimize evaporation.
  • Check your city’s website for the hours when you cannot slab-water.
  • If the soil is too wet,  the ground near the foundation will be squishy.
  • It the soil is too dry,  there will be a gap between the foundation and the soil.

pic shows gap between house and foundation showing soil is too dry  < This soil is too dry. There is a gap between the soil and the foundation.  (Also, this hose is too close to the house)

 

Soil Moisture Meter

photo of moisture meter pushed into the ground

If you prefer more precise soil moisture-content, a modest investment for Soil Moisture Meters can give you just that.  TIP:  Choose a Soil Moisture Meter with a “Wet / Dry” reading, versus a digital readout.  With only a number, you must then determine what the number means in the Wet/Dry spectrum.  We have provided a link to the one shown just below ($9).

soil moisture meter

Amazon.com Soil Moisture Meter $9

 

Prefer Not To See Hoses & Timers?

Inexpensive Covers For Hose-Faucets & Timers

It’s no secret all those hoses & timers can become an eyesore.  Below, you will see solutions to cover everything.  We also provide links where to buy the products.

hose faucet coming up from the ground plastic hollow rock cover

Hose Faucet Coming From Ground             Plastic Hollow Rock Cover    For More Details Click Here:  Amazon.com: Landscape Rock or Cover. Asst. Sizes From $25.00

hose faucet coming from wall air conditioner unit cover                                              fake ivy screen

Hose Faucet Coming From Wall                           4-Panel Plastic A/C Unit Cover (comes assembled)                 Artificial Ivy Screen (asst. sizes)

For More Details Click Here:                        Amazon.com A/C Unit Cover $70.00                                          Amazon.com Fake Ivy Privacy Screen. Asst. sizes from $50.00

 

To See Part 1 Of This 2-Part Article Click Here: AlsPlumbing.com Slab Watering Part 1 of 2

 

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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C provides repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s repairs slab leaks.  We also provide under-slab water pipe & sewer line repairs and replacements.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C provides repairs of all brands of Central A/C, Gas or Electric Furnaces, & Heat Pumps.  Al’s sells and installs new HVAC systems from American Standard (made by the same company as Trane), Ameristar (made by same company as American Standard), and Coleman HVAC (made by the same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you are having.  We can arrange an appointment at your convenience.  Al’s also has Emergency 24/7 Service.