Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 by Jess Lightner
Once you’ve identified that your home has foundation problems, the biggest worry is often associated with how much a proper repair is going to cost. It’s easy to understand that homeowners would prefer not to have to spend money on a structural issue. But once a problem is identified, smart homeowners acknowledge that that cost of repair is often times quite reasonable considering they’ll be protecting what is likely their biggest investment - their home.
Additionally, structural issues MUST be disclosed if you look to put your home up for sale. Buyers are rarely looking to purchase a home with an unrepaired structural issue, and definitely won’t consider paying anything close to the home’s full value. Foundation instability aside, structural issues often will also lead to unsightly visible damage to the home that is hard to miss and steals the sense of pride that comes with home ownership.
Given the above information, it’s clear that known foundation issues need to be addressed sooner rather than later. So, the question changes from if you need to repair the problem to how much the project is going to cost. The cost to repair structural issues can vary widely from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, and a professional evaluation is the only way to know exactly what it will take to stabilize your foundation. Below are some of the factors that you and your contractor need to consider when choosing a course of action to stabilize your home’s foundation.
Extent of the damage: No foundation problem will ever fix itself, and the longer you wait to fix the structural issue the more it will cost. It’s better to fix any problem as soon as you’ve identified that it exists. The longer that your foundation continues to settle, or a foundation wall continues to bow or lean, more time and work will be required to properly fix the issue. Cracks in the foundation, brick, stone, drywall, tile, and uneven floors are often common symptoms of structural issues. Doors and windows that don’t open or close properly are also common issues that can hint at a larger problem. Once the structural issue is addressed, all of these items will need to be repaired as well. As we mentioned above, structural issues will also cause cosmetic damage that requires finishing touches. Ultimately, the longer you wait, the more that will need to be repaired and this will drive up the cost of your project.
The method used for repairs: Like any home project, there are different ways you can approach repairs to foundation instability. What is important to consider is that there are only a few ways correctly and permanently fix these issues. You may be able to cover up the aesthetic signs and damages caused by foundation settlement or bowing and bending foundation walls, but without addressing the source of the problem, you’ll end up with further damage down the road. After pumping money into temporary or only aesthetic repairs, you’ll eventually have to put even more money into the structural repair and then fix the aesthetic issues for a second time. Small fixes may hide the problem for a short period of time, but using a cheaper or quicker method of repair often results in multiple projects to fix the same problem.
Who you choose to fix your structural issue: It is important that you consult a foundation repair expert to walk you through your options and help you determine the best way to repair your home. When selecting a contractor to complete your structural repairs make sure you do your research. Get online to check out customer reviews and ask your friends, family, neighbors and others that you trust for recommendations. Once you’ve selected a contractor, get details about the estimate they give you. Is their estimate the true final cost, or are there possible add-ons or line items to account for unforeseeable expenses? How long is the estimate good for? How soon can they begin work? Is there a warranty?
Like we discussed earlier, not fixing these issues permanently the first time leads to additional expenses. Make sure the foundation expert you work with takes the time to explain what is causing your home’s structural issue and lays out a detailed plan as to how exactly they are going to fix it. Once you have a plan outlined to your satisfaction, ask what type of protection you have for the future. Are annual maintenance appointments included? Is the warranty transferable to a new homeowner? What happens if the repair doesn’t actually fix the problem? Deciding to fix your foundation the right way and with the right company vs. going with the cheapest option will almost always save you additional expenses and frustrations later.
Exterior and Interior finishes: If the area of your home that needs repair is also a finished space - think dry walled family rooms or basement bedrooms - you’ll likely have some finishing that needs to be repaired after the foundation is stable. The same can be said for exterior finishes like landscaping, concrete patios or driveways. The additional demolition is unfortunate but unavoidable if the bones of your home are inaccessible. The most important thing here is that the foundation issue is addressed correctly the first time so once the exterior and interior finishes are restored, these items won’t need to be disrupted again for any rework.
Many homeowners even take the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade by updating or changing home finishings once their foundation work is complete. If you’re already going to be ripping up landscaping and tearing out drywall, it might be the perfect time to cross a few items off your home project to-do list.
Regardless of what path you decide to take, it’s clear that structural issues are important to repair, and repair the right way. If you have any concerns or questions whether you have a structural issue, consult a foundation professional before an easily repairable small project becomes a much bigger issue - and a much greater cost. Here are some questions to ask your foundation contractor:
If you're interested in learning more about the possible solutions for your foundation issues, give us a call at 800.827.0702 and schedule a free consultation and same-day quote before the damage gets worse.