You may not! Many times, a visible crack is only superficial, while aesthetically not pleasing, it may not need more than a cosmetic repair. Only a site visit can determine the cause. Unlevel floors and or cracks in doorway headers often indicate a slightly more serious issue. The remedies vary and can be as simple as improper or crushing 'shimming' at piers or supporting posts. Sometimes floors sag or deflect due to age and or dampness, the repair for which varies. In some situations, girders rot, roll or twist and in extreme cases piers may have sunken. While causes vary, solutions are generally the same. Shoring temporarily supports the floors system while the piers are enhanced or replaced. Girders, floor joists and load centers are also addressed in this way. Do not trust this to someone without the correct credentials.
There is a huge array of problems that can affect foundations. We have repaired everything from minor foundation cracking to major structural deficiencies and done complete wall replacements caused by improperly compacted fill and or uncured concrete walls, to include complete basement replacements for failing foundations. No two homes are exactly alike, therefore no two foundation repairs will be the same. The original design of the home, the building standards at the time the home was built, previous repair history, and subgrade conditions are some of many factors that must be considered when determining the cost to repair a foundation. Therefore, as standard practice, a licensed structural expert from Hale Built will personally visit and evaluate each project before we issue a quote.
There are several steps that can be taken to find a reputable foundation repair company, or any contractor:
Check years in business, licenses, complaints, and litigation history.
Licensing and registration procedures vary by state and municipality, so be sure to check your local government websites for specific requirements. A Google search of the company and or ownership should reveal much of what you should know. Ask for references specific to your issue.
Be sure to meet with a Qualified operator, not a salesman.
This is one of the most important things to understand. The temptation to send out a salesman, not formerly trained in foundation repair, is the complaint we hear most often regarding our competitors. If they have not applied a carbon fiber strip, tied back a wall, driven a helical pile, leveled a floor or held a masonry trowel in their hand, they are simply relaying information to someone else - who 'might have'...
Check that a contractor has the appropriate insurance coverage for their trade.
Any reputable contractor should be willing and able to furnish a certificate of insurance upon request. Review all certificates of insurance thoroughly to ensure the contractor's policy is current and appropriate for the type of work they will be performing. Many contractors attempt to undercut the competition by carrying less expensive, inappropriate policies. Anyone involved in the use of even as little as a bottle jack should carry 'Riggers' and or 'Care, Custody and Control' Insurance. Shoring of any type also necessitates these higher insurance levels, per most state statutes
Ask For A Detailed Contract
No one likes to read the fine print, but the terms and conditions of a contract can make or break any construction project. Less detail leaves more room for interpretation and can often lead to disputes. We make it a point to include as much detail as possible in our scope of work
Ask For References
Word of mouth is often a great way to find a reliable service professional. Ask family, friends, or neighbors for recommendations. For some extra due diligence, when you are getting close to hiring a contractor ask them to provide their own professional references
The repair solution to fix a foundation problem depends on so many conditions and vary greatly. The good news is there are limited ways to correct these concerns properly. The right answer rarely varies much. Most engineers will arrive at a very similar solution, unless of course you are being 'up-sold'. Our solutions are all engineer reviewed. While many companies quip 'I'll need to run it by our engineer', we run every solution through our engineering team.
In our experience, most homeowner's insurance policies exclude coverage for issues such as foundation settlement or cracking. Average policies in New Jersey protect against losses from fire, wind and hail, water damage and freezing, theft, and personal injury liability. If there is a problem with your home's foundation, be sure to review your policy carefully or contact your carrier. If your home is newer than 10 years, most states mandate a 10 year new home warranty provided by the builder. We are happy to forward quotes or discuss the proposed scope of work with your insurance company.
Many foundations have been repaired, like cars have. Don't despair. We do not discourage buyers from pursuing homes which have been repaired. We very often provide estimate to sellers. Sellers are wisely fixing their home's foundations prior to listing because it is well known that buyers will want multiple bids which they average to the high side, which in turn gives them the best discount on the home. Sellers who repair and can evidence a proper documented engineered solution are in the driver's seat. They can prove it was done correctly and reviewed by both a certified installer and often a township code official. You would rather buy a home repaired than find out something was masked later.
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