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Eagle Foundation can keep your house from cracking up

When the black clay that makes up most of the ground in the Coastal Bend goes without water for too long, it cracks and can destroy a building’s foundation. Dean Johnson, owner of Eagle Foundation in Corpus Christi, offers tips on how to keep the moisture around your home consistent and stable. Courtesy photo

People have to water their houses in the Coastal Bend, and if that doesn’t work, they can always call Eagle Foundation. The hydrophilic clay-based soil in and around Corpus Christi expands and contracts depending on moisture, said Dean Johnson, owner of Eagle Foundation and an expert when it comes to preventing and fixing cracks in a building’s foundation.

“When the black clay you find in this area gets dry, it shrinks,” Johnson said. “When it gets wet, it will heave, causing more issues. You need consistency in the soil. If you wait on Mother Nature, Dean’s going to be selling a lot of piers.”

Johnson came to his career reluctantly. He started out doing plumbing reroutes, which is where he learned about issues with the local soil and how to deal with them. He then went to work for a foundation company that preached: “We don’t work for free, and it’s not our fault” as the best way to deal with customers.

“That’s why I quit them,” he said. “They were only concerned about the money and didn’t care about the people or the house. I can’t work like that.”

Within a few months, a Realtor friend convinced him to start his own foundation business that he could run his own way.

“It was like I was meant to do this,” he said. “It’s been awesome.”

Eagle Foundation offers services that other companies don’t. When Eagle fixes a property owner’s foundation, that work carries with it a Lifetime Transferable Warranty.

“If you sell the house, you can transfer the warranty to the new owners,” Johnson explained. “If it ever fails, we come and adjust it for free. The only cost is a $200 transfer fee every time the house is sold.”

Johnson has a two-part motto. One, though not necessarily the first or most important, is to fix what’s broke and maintain the rest. Along with that is to provide quality work and exceptional customer service. For Johnson that means conducting his business with honesty and integrity.

“Most foundation companies are pier salesmen,” he said. “Their job is to sell you piers. I sell inspections. If you need piers, I’ll sell them to you, but not if you don’t.”

He doesn’t even really sell inspections, since customers get a free inspection when they call. Johnson suggests looking him up at the first sign of foundation trouble, which could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Here are a few tips from Eagle Foundation for Coastal Bend homeowners who want to prevent cracked foundations:

• Look for cracks in sheet rock or brick and notice how doors are closing. When interior or exterior doors begin to stick, you might have movement in your foundation. Johnson’s advice is to call him to take advantage of his free inspection.

• He also suggested paying the minimal fee for a set of elevations for your building, whether home or business, so you have a record of how the foundation is supposed to be if something does go wrong in the future.

• If you have water standing around your house — a situation known as negative drainage — you need to put up gutters and direct water away the foundation.

• If the dirt around your foundation begins to pull away from the concrete, you need to water it. Johnson suggests using soaker hoses, turning them on for an hour a week.

Consistency in the soil’s moisture is key to preventing cracks.

“It’s the constant up and down that will break these foundations in half,” he said, pointing to the drought of 2013 as an example.

“We did 10 inspections a day back then, and nine of them were broken in half,” he said.

Rains in 2015 and 2016 made foundations too wet, causing the ground to pick up the outside of the houses.

“The ground in this area is always moving,” Johnson said. “You have to try to keep the moisture consistent so it doesn’t get worse.”

If it does, however, or you suspect trouble could be on the horizon, call Eagle Foundation for your free inspection at (361) 888-7738. You can also email Johnson at info@eaglefoundationrepair.com. Visit the website at eaglefoundationrepair.com.

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