Choosing a Houston Concrete Foundation Contractor

Choosing a Houston concrete foundation contractor can be a challenge as there are many to choose from. Before committing to a particular concrete contractor and signing off on the job, be sure to ask the following questions of any company you are considering:

  • Do they have experience with projects like yours in both type and scope?
  • Have they earned a strong reputation among previous clients?
  • Can they bring in a structural engineer for challenging jobs?
  • Do they have insurance?
  • Do they prioritize professionalism, proper processes, and communication?

The answers to these questions should provide a clear idea of which concrete foundation contractors should be considered. Here is why the answer to each question is so important:

1) Does the concrete contractor have experience with this type of project?

Concrete foundation contractors in Texas are not required to be licensed, so you will need to take a closer look at the company’s experience to get an idea of their qualifications.

As with many other industries, experience is everything in concrete construction. Skilled contractors are familiar with a variety of:

  • Concrete mixes
  • Project site layouts
  • Soil types
  • On-the-job challenges

Experienced concrete contractors have seen just about every possible scenario on the job, so they can prepare for anything that may happen on the site.

When assessing a concrete contractor’s expertise, make sure they have project experience in the Houston area. There are unique construction challenges in Houston, just like every other part of the country.

In the Houston area, soil composition is a major concern. Large parts of the city sit on top of clay-rich gumbo soils. Gumbo soil contains high amounts of clay and organic matter that swells when it rains and shrinks when it dries, putting intense tensile forces on concrete foundations.

There are steps that Houston foundation contractors can take to mitigate the risk of damage. For instance, the concrete contractor can replace unstable subgrade with something more reliable, stabilizing the existing soil with additives and ensuring it is adequately compacted. 

Your concrete foundation company should have experience with methods like these, or your foundation may be installed on shaky ground if ideal installation conditions and best practices are not present.

2) Does the concrete company have a strong reputation of high-quality work?

It is one thing for a concrete company to claim experience, but it is more important that they prove it through references from previous customers. Customer reviews are great, as is a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau, but to be completely sure of the company’s reputation, ask for references. Reliable concrete services will have no issue with handing over this information. You can imagine why a less reputable company might balk at the idea.

Better yet, ask if the foundation contractor can show you previous work around the city that is still in service. If there are any foundation installation or foundation repair projects you can physically inspect, you will be able to personally verify the quality of work.

3) Does the foundation contractor have engineering expertise on staff?

Structural engineers ensure the concrete foundation meets the load bearing needs of the overlaying structure. There is a lot of physics-based math to ensure the concrete foundation, and the soil surrounding it, is sound. Technically, a structural engineer is not required for every foundation project, but this expertise is vital if there are any doubts regarding the foundation’s future performance.

As every concrete foundation project has the potential to pose unexpected challenges – unstable soil, changing construction plans, extreme weather conditions – experienced concrete contractors in Houston ensure they can call on a structural engineer when necessary.

4) Is the concrete contractor insured?

Insurance is a critical layer of customer protection that every Houston concrete company should have in place. This includes general liability insurance – which covers the property owner if the concrete company causes any damage.

In Texas, construction companies are not required to hold workers’ compensation insurance, but there are risks involved if your concrete contractor does not have it. Specifically, if a worker is hurt during the job, the property owner may be held liable. Choosing a contractor with workers’ comp insurance will ensure the property owner is protected from anything that could happen, including on-the-job injuries.

5) Is the Houston concrete contractor a true professional?

There are processes and practices that all construction companies, including concrete foundation contractors, are expected to observe prior to and during the job. They include:

  • Providing a contract that specifies the project’s scope – The contract is a vital layer of protection for the property owner and the foundation company. This contract specifies what the foundation contractor will do, the materials they will use, the expected timeline and expected cost. These are high-level details that must be settled on before services are provided. If your contractor skips the paperwork phase, choose another Houston concrete contractor.

  • Pulling all relevant permits for the job – Houston concrete contractors don’t have to be licensed, but permits must be obtained from the city before work can begin. If the necessary work permits are not pulled, the property owner will be exposed to penalties, fines and potential work stoppages. Do not listen to a foundation company that says permits are not required, as they are absolutely necessary and reputable contractors will pull them early to prevent delays during the initial steps of the job.

  • Expecting payment only after work is complete – It is common practice for foundation contractors to request an upfront deposit before beginning work. This deposit says that the client is committed to the project’s details and is ready to begin, which is something that construction contractors must confirm before allocating resources to the project.

    However, reputable foundation companies will not request payment in full until the project is complete. If you are pressured to pay in full before work begins, you will have no recourse if the contractor provides low quality installation work.

The concrete foundation contractor should communicate promptly and clearly with their client. They should be willing to explain their thought process in detail. They should provide regular updates on the project’s timeline and be proactive in communicating any delays.

Choose a Reputable Houston Concrete Foundation Contractor for Peace of Mind

Concrete foundations are expected to last for decades before repairs are expected. They are permanent, so it is worth investing in high quality installation services to avoid ongoing maintenance costs from sloppy installation work.

The goal for property owners is to identify a reputable concrete foundation contractor in Houston. To do that, choose a contractor that has a history of relevant project experience, an impressive customer service history, structural engineering expertise, insurance, open communication, and professionalism.