How to Get Good House Foundation Advice

“Hey Carl,
We love your website! It's so informative. We are first-time home builders
planning to build a 1600 sq. ft. 2 story barn shape home on a beautiful hill,
in a level spot, overlooking a pond on my husband's grandparents and
great grandparent’s land.

We were advised by the first contractor, a fellow from our church, that he highly recommended we have soil sample tests and an engineered foundation even though we live outside the city limits and they aren't required.

Being naive concerning such matters, we jumped to have it done and signed a contract.

Since then we have talked to 3 other contractors who have built homes here in N. Texas for years who say that they know what the soil is like and that we wasted our money on soil testing.

Two contractors recommend a conventional slab with lots of metal in it. The other two say we should go with the post tension method.

We received the results of the soil tests, (mostly clay with a little sand) but have not had our foundation engineered yet because the company who is doing it has given us the responsibility of choosing how we want to go.

We are only a month into this process and are already ready to throw up our hands. We don't know who to believe, but we feel that a good foundation is essential. We are not flush with cash and it's tempting to go with the conventional slab method.
Do you have an opinion? We are in stalemate.
Thanks ever so much,

Debbie & Larry”

Hi Debbie & Larry,
Yes I have an opinion. My opinion is that too many people who should know better have too many worthless opinions.

To categorically state that because they have built homes in N. Texas and therefore they know what the soil is like everywhere in N. Texas is stupid.

Your first contractor and fellow church member is giving you good advice. Pursue that route, as you have, but go one step further and have an independent “structural engineer” (NOT a company that builds foundations) recommend what you need for your foundation.

You are wise to believe that a good foundation is essential for it certainly is.
A few hundred dollars more spent on research can save you a lot of trouble (money!) down the road. You would not believe how many foundations fail every year.
Good luck,
Carl Heldmann,