I was looking at a map from the US National Weather Service that showed almost a third of the country in drought conditions that range from “excessively dry” to “exceptional drought.” Not good.
And to make matters worse, many areas included in the drought also have homes built on shrink/swell heavy clay soils. That means when the soils dry out, house foundations start moving, usually dropping.
Things the homeowner will start to notice are cracks in the sheet rock inside and in brick veneers outside. Doors and windows that don’t work the way they used to and are supposed to, and in the worst cases, floors starting to slope.
It’s happening again at my house too.
Extended dry conditions like this provide plenty of work for foundation repair companies, but what about the homeowner?
Here are 5 Foundation Repair Issues To Be Aware Of
It’s been a long hot dry summer over much of the U.S. and particularly so in Texas and it’s been hard on the home foundation built in those areas with expansive clay soils. We’ve seen a stretch of 100 plus degree days that flirted with the record books and hardly any rain.
That’s good for the foundation repair companies. But not so good for home owners who have not only had to endure sweltering heat but are now seeing signs of foundation movement.
Things you can do to avoid the cost of foundation repair
In fact here are 7 common mistakes homeowners make in regard to their concrete slab foundations that sit on heavy clay soils. I’m as guilty as the next guy as far as some of these missteps go, so don’t think I’m getting all high and mighty on you.
A friend of the family is down-sizing and has put his home up for sale. He and his wife have too much house and are looking to move into a condo. A real estate agent was engaged and the process started.
The home inspector said there was a “dome” on the floor of the master bedroom. Nobody else could see what he was talking about, but a foundation repair company was called to check the concrete slab. The inspector for the repair company didn’t find a problem with the master bedroom floor, saw no “dome” but thought the house could use 9 piers. He had used a Compulevel or similar tool according to my friend.
Wanting to verify the need for piers and having good sense, the real estate agent called a different foundation repair contractor who sent out an inspector we’ll call “Bob.” Armed with similar tools, “Bob” came to a different conclusion. (more…)
In 2006 I wrote about my then neighbor Dennis’ foundation repair job. The contractor used the “pressed piles” method of repair. He then sold the house to a young woman we’ll call Shelia and moved.
I was passing by last week and saw that a garage sale was going on at this same house. I figured this was a good opportunity to ask if the new owner was happy with the work done on her concrete slab. Apparently she is. “Shelia” was at work but her talkative mother was there running the garage sale.
It turns out “Shelia” had come into some money and let Dennis know she would be paying cash for the house. At that point Dennis, wanting to avoid complaints in the future, had the foundation repaired by a company that transfers a lifetime warranty to the next owner.
Mom says there has been no cracking or shifting, and “Shelia” is happy with the house. I thanked her for the information but didn’t buy anything at the sale. I have plenty of my own junk already.
The house behind and across the alley from mine is up for sale again. A fellow named Bobby used to live there but he just left one day. I know Bobby had once owned the house because he had converted the garage into a den, added a swimming pool and had made other improvements you just don’t do if you’re renting.
However, hard times came upon Bobby (largely self inflicted) and as luck would have it, the foundation went bad just when he needed to sell the house he could no longer afford to keep.
He didn’t get the slab foundation repaired and therefore the house did not sell. There are just too many other properties for sale around here for buyers to even consider a house with a bad foundation. (more…)