Most of us will never have the problem of a shifting foundation, as it is a rather rare occurrence when the incident is compared to the millions of homes that never have this problem all across the US.
However, anyone who suddenly experiences a foundation cracking, moving or sinking will readily tell you that it can be one of the more frightening experiences of their lives. In this day and age when we see devastation all over the world on television in regard to storms and earthquakes, you will probably wonder if something like that is happening to you. And if you don’t take care of things, it just might be happening to you.
An individual might notice a crack in the foundation, an inside door that won’t close anymore, or a picture hanging crooked on the wall. These can all be signs that your foundation might be moving or shifting.
Underground rivers, contracting and expanding soil, underground earthquakes, old mines below the surface beginning to fall in, and many other things that may have not been evident when a house is purchased, can all be the culprit.
The questions is, who do you call, and how do know if they will be able to get the job done. First of all do a little detective work. Call your insurance broker, and find out if you’re covered. Your broker may recommend someone, as the insurance company may already have contacts.
You can also check out the local Better Business Bureau, just to see if there are any unresolved complaints against any of your prospective companies.
Check with a well-know consumer’s directory, who already has a record of a company’s good or bad results. A good foundation repair company should be willing to come to your home and do a free inspection of the damage. Ask before they come if they have an engineer, and if the is coming. If they don’t have a structural engineer that they use or they don’t have one on staff, find someone who does.
Once your home has been inspected ask for a very detailed explanation of what has just occurred, and what they are going to do to fix it. Find out how long it will take, and whether or not there is a warranty. You should have an idea of how they are going to shore up the foundation, and have a grasp on the mechanics of remedying the situation.
You will also want to know if the warranty can be transferable, should you want to sell the home eventually, should you choose to sell our house during the warranty period.
You will also need to be sure that the foundation repair company is licensed, bonded and insured, in case one of their workers is injured on the job, you won’t have to stand for their worker’s compensation claim.
Most foundation repair companies will use a concrete under-foundation, a steel beam under-shoring, or a pillar support system. There can even be a combination of these systems.
Most situations are fixable without any further problems, but just be sure you understand how it works so you will understand if the work is properly completed.