Shifting House Foundation: How to Fix
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Tommy on the line, who is dealing with a foundation issue. What can we do for you today?
TOMMY: Yes. Thanks for taking my call. My wife and I recently moved into our rent house and we’re slowly but surely realizing all the problems with it.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
TOMMY: And we had it leveled three years ago and it’s already worse than it was before and our contractor told us that the dirt underneath the house is really soft and moves around a lot. And so I had him put one foot – like a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half – concrete pads underneath, where it touches the ground.
TOMMY: And then I wanted to know if that’s going to solve the problem or if we’re going to expect more movement in the future.
TOM: Is your contractor a certified structural engineer?
TOM: Yeah. And that’s the problem. You have a lot of contractors out there that offer engineering solutions without having the technical knowledge and training that they really need to do that. So, if you’re dealing with a structural issue, I would stop dealing with contractors. I would hire a professional engineer to survey the problem. Spend the money on the advice; this way, you won’t waste the money on a repair that you don’t need or one that you’re going to have to repeat.
TOM: But have an engineer analyze the situation and prescribe a specific repair for you. This is important for a couple of reasons. Not only is it going to be the right thing to do, it’s going to solve your problem. When it comes time to sell that house, Tommy, with a professional engineer, you’ll have a report that can show a prospective buyer: “Look, we had an issue. We had an engineer review it. Here is his report. He made a specific recommendation about how it should be fixed.”
Then, you bring the contractor in; have them fix it according to the engineer’s plan. Then, you can have the engineer come back and certify that it was done right and that’s essentially like a pedigree. So whenever you have a severe, structural issue like that, you don’t want to leave it up to the contractor to try to figure something out.
TOMMY: Right. That’s great advice and that’s why I called you guys. (chuckles)
TOM: (chuckling) Alright, Tommy. Good luck with that project.
TOMMY: (overlapping voices) Thanks.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.