How to Fix a Sagging Foundation
LESLIE: Don in Illinois is on the line with a foundation question. What’s going on at your money pit?
DON: Yes. I’ve got an old farmhouse. They started building it back in the 1800s and the foundation is red brick on a crawlspace. And it’s sinking in one area real bad. And I had a guy tell me that I – because I can’t dig a footing tier because there’s an old system back here, also. He said that I could pour a large pad, go underneath the house and come out and make it like a sidewalk on the edge of the house and then pour – actually pour – the wall up as high as I could and then possibly either put, as a last row, a block in. Is that possible to do something like that?
TOM: Maybe, maybe not. You know, you’re talking about a major structural piece of work here, Don. And the problem with this is – I’m going to presume you’re not a licensed structural engineer. If you start doing this kind of work on your own and then, sometime in the future, you want to sell this house and you’ve not had the right kind of professionals involved in this kind of a major repair, that’s going to be a huge red flag. That could make it very difficult for you to sell the house.
I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector, Don. And when I saw houses like this that had these kind of issues, I always recommended that the homeowner spend a little bit of money to have an engineer look at it and design a specific repair for that situation. Because this way, when you go to sell the house and if it becomes an issue, you can show that you had a professional review it and tell you exactly what to do and then you took action on that. And you can even have them come back and sort of certify that it was done right. Then you end up having sort of a pedigree on the quality of that repair, because this is not something to do yourself and get wrong. You could make it worse and you can devalue your house in a very major way.
DON: That’s what I was kind of wondering. It sounded kind of farfetched to me, in a way, and I was just like, “Well, I’ve been listening to you guys. I’m going to give it a shot, give you a call and see what you guys have got to say.”
TOM: Yeah. We’re glad you did and now we’ll get you on the road to recovery, OK?
DON: OK. I know a couple engineers. I’ll see if I can get one out here. I appreciate the information.
TOM: You’re welcome, Don. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.