Hays County — A local foundation expert provided tips for residents who may still be in the process of recovering their homes from the recent ice storm.
There are two main types of home foundations in Texas: pier and beam and slab.
Pier and beam, also known as post and beam, are often found in older homes built before the 1960s. They are slightly raised off the ground and contain a crawlspace. This type of foundation is built by driving rebar and concrete beams into the ground until the beam reaches the bedrock. Beams that extend from one pier to another are added to provide support.
“Those homes can be affected the most by ice storms because you have an open area underneath your home,” said Paul White, production manager for Foundation Support Specialists (FSS).
“You’re going to feel those temperature changes inside of your home; you might have a harder time warming your home up.”
There’s only so much that people can do to control the temperature, White said, but the best thing is to ensure the home is insulated properly while also keeping the floor and spaces warm as possible.
“Your energy costs might be going up in your home because your crawlspace isn’t sealed properly or the insulation isn’t working effectively,” White said.
“You’re going to see that the energy charges just increased because your home is trying to keep up with what’s going on beneath the home. You are trying to warm up your home but the space below isn’t temperature controlled or humidity-controlled at all.”
Slab foundations are thick slabs of concrete poured directly onto the ground all at once. They are typically used for homes that are built on flat lots and are commonly used for construction in warm climates like Texas.
Water, including that from an ice storm, can cause movement in the foundation.
“When you’re dealing with a freeze, a lot of the times, water is the enemy,” White said. “Natural groundwater, if you’ve had a lot of rainfall, the freezing temperatures will cause the ground to swell. And so what that can cause is movement in the foundation. You’re going to see a lot of the same things if we were in a drought, which Texas recently went through, where it’s also retracting and the ground is shrinking.”
Signs to look out for include cracking in drywall/tile and issues opening and closing doors or windows.
White suggested that homeowners who are starting to see movement in their foundation call FSS to come out for a free inspection to measure the home and see the parts of the home that have been affected.
Homeowners can reach FSS by calling 281-532-8636 or visiting the website at www. foundationsupportspecialists.com.