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Groundbreaking nds A number of structural and environ- mental factors can lead to foundation damage of a residential home, apart- ment or any other building. Soil con- ditions can cause shifting, expansion and settling of the ground the foun- dation is built on, depending on the weather, according to national foun- dation repair company Groundworks. New Braunfels is located over two geographical ecoregions—the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prai- rie—that feature varying amounts of clay. Clay soils are more prone to lose moisture during a drought, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. Soil conditions vary throughout New Braunfels due to the geography of the region, ranging from rocky and sti soils to clay and highly expansive soils. Because of this, some areas may be more prone to developing founda- tion issues, Collins said. “Your soil conditions are very important for the long-term health of your foundation,” Collins said. “And then that is why No. 1, in the city of New Braunfels, your foundation has to be designed by an engineer who has to have an understanding of those soil conditions at the site in order to do a good design. If you have highly expansive soils, [like] clay soils imme- diately under your foundation, you have a much higher chance of having foundation problems.” After nearly a year in Stage 3 drought restrictions, New Braunfels moved to Stage 2 on May 29. “The drier the ground, … the more it’s going to aect your foundation,” said Richard McCarter, co-owner of Ground Control Landscaping & Lawn Service. “You can actually go outside to your own foundation and look at
Foundation repair permits led in New Braunfels from 2018-22. Over the past ve years New Braunfels residents have been ling permits to repair their home foundations at an accelerated rate, data shows that foundation issues have been widespread throughout the city. TRACKING THE CRACKING
High concentration of foundation repair permits led Low concentration of foundation repair permits led
Cracks can be seen in the concrete slab of a newly-built home in New Braunfels.
SIERRA MARTINCOMMUNITY IMPACT
SOURCE: CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELSCOMMUNITY IMPACT
and beams are a better solution for [the east side of New Braunfels] really because you can adjust it easier.” Collins said although pier and beam foundations may be easier to repair, they may have more issues due to being too shallow, not being evenly spaced and bearing too much weight individually. Concrete foun- dations provide consistent weight distribution on the surface on which they are built. Ott Plumbing Co. owner Dallas Ott said foundation repair and plumbing companies often have to work along- side each other to repair broken pipes that may contribute to future founda- tion issues.
homes above the ground. Gregson said foundations are repaired with steel or concrete piers that are driven at least 12 feet below the foundation by using a hydrau- lic press to provide additional sup- port. Their repair jobs can range from $3,000 to $60,000, depending on the size of the home and the condition of the foundation. Gregson said he sees more of a need for the business’s services on the east side of New Braunfels due to the soil conditions of the area. “All the houses that were out in the country were all pier and beams; now, they’re all slabs,” Gregson said. “Pier
the dirt. And if you see a gap between your dirt and your foundation, you’re too dry, … [and you] need to get water
around that foundation.” Fixing foundation issues
According to Chad Gregson, vice president of Alamo Hy-Tech Founda- tion Repair, there are two dierent types of home foundations: concrete, and pier and beam. Concrete founda- tions are made on a slab where soil has to be pretreated to allow for the necessary drainage. Pier and beam foundations are typically seen in older homes and are built by using wooden beams on concrete piers to elevate
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