The Process of Foundation Repair

Physical damage to your home, such as cracks, sticky doors and leaning cabinets, may indicate that you need to look into a home foundation repair plan. Foundation repair can sound like a daunting, intimidating project, but if the appropriate steps are taken, you can avoid potential future damage and protect your home’s structure.

If you suspect or identify damage to your home foundation, the first step is to contact a licensed and qualified independent foundation engineer. The professionals at Crosstown Engineering specialize in damage forensics, and can offer an unbiased and professional consultation. In most cases, our professionals can schedule the inspection within the week that you are calling. For slab foundations of a reasonably sized home, the cost per foundation inspection and engineering report are $400. For pier and beam homes, the foundation inspection and engineering report cost is $500.

If you have already had your home inspected by foundation repair companies, show the engineer their recommendations so the engineer can help you choose the foundation company that understands your foundation repair needs. Many times, homeowners will hand a contractor the engineering report and ask them to fix it. This presents a problem if the contractor isn’t experienced or caring enough to implement the plan with care and expertise. We will talk about choosing a contractor later in this article.

Upon your home’s inspection, an engineer will observe the pattern and extent of the damage to the home, collect floor elevation data, analyze the terrain and drainage patterns, determine the cause of the damage, and create a foundation repair plan if one is necessary.

Based on the inspection, the engineer will create an engineering report that will include the damage forensic analysis, the drainage and vegetation observations, and the floor elevation data. Then engineer will also convey an opinion regarding the performance of the home foundation. The length of this report, and the time it takes the engineer to prepare the report, will vary depending on the extent of damage. However, the engineering report is usually ready within one business day via email. 

Once the inspection report is finalized, the engineer will present it to the homeowner to review findings and propose a recommended foundation repair plan. Typically, the inspection report outlines the scope of services and provides the engineer’s specific recommendations, inspection points and a conclusion.

How Long Does Foundation Repair Take?

The specifications of the foundation repair depend on the extent of damage and the findings that were uncovered during inspection. On average, the repair process takes two to three days. Piers, concrete slabs and beams are the most common repair procedures that have a short installation period. However, if the damage is more extensive, the repair can take longer.

When To Get Foundation Repair

The summer is normally the busiest time of year because the soils dry and new cracks arise thus causing more foundation repair orders and foundation repair companies can be booked for up to two to three months!  We do not recommend choosing a foundation repair company based on availability.  Many times, the company that is most available is the least desirable company.  Do not put your foundation in the hands of an amateur.  The winter and springtime are a little bit slower and your repairs can be completed quickly (barring weather delays).

How To Choose A Foundation Repair Contractor

Word of mouth and referrals from friends or colleagues are great places to start. But before you move on to hiring a foundation repair contractor, ensure your inspector did a good job. If the inspector only spent 15 minutes with you at the home and does not provide an elevation map or a sound reasoning behind his or her assessment, do not trust them. If they cannot clearly explain and show documentation of how and why they would like to implement their foundation repair plan, there is a considerable chance that it is flawed. Don’t let price or availability be your #1 priority.

After The Foundation Repair

After the foundation repairs are complete, always have the work reviewed for quality by an independent engineer. Final elevations should be obtained to prove that the foundation has been supported and lifted in the areas of concern. Do not pay your foundation repair company until they show you the final elevation, an installation log of where piers were installed, and how many pilings were “pushed” and at what pressure.  If you do not understand this data, consult with your structural engineer.

If you have questions about how to fix your home’s foundation problems or to find a structural engineer, contact the professionals at Crosstown Engineering today.

Photo Credit: La Citta Vita