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JustMe2 07-15-2009 10:46 PM

First time home buyer and foundation repairs
I have been looking at several homes for the past month and it seems as though my budget will allow me to purchase a home in the school district I'm wanting that have a few issues. What comes up the most is foundation repair. Most have transferable warrantees and may be able to finance, however, there was one I was thinking about making an offer on.

It's a two story brick home on concrete slab (clay soil) built aproximately 15 years ago. From the inside, there appears to be a crack in the sheetrock and appears the southeast corner may have dropped a bit. The house is raised a bit so runoff does go around the house into the planned alleys and into the street.

I can add the foundation repair to the mortgage and there has been an estimate on the home previously ($5k). It reports the house needs 15 piers around the perimeter and some root barriers (there is two young trees in the front yard).

This would be my first house and I am a single parent so I would appreciate any feedback and thoughts about houses that need foundation repairs.

inspectorD 07-16-2009 06:08 AM

As you already know, once you buy the own it.
Make sure you get a home inspection when you buy the house...and finding an inspector who knows these issues is very important.
Things with these fixes always "come up". There are unforseen issues that can raise the cost of repairs. My suggestion is to have extra money for the fix and get more than one contractor out there to look at it. Doing your homework is the most important.
If you are really unsure, get an engineer to give you the lowdown, advice from here is not site specific...only general. Each home is different and should be looked at by someone on the ground.
Sounds like you are doing OK by asking questions here first...I, don't know if this helped should be fine.
Good luck.

JustMe2 07-16-2009 01:58 PM

Thank you inspectorD. Your post is very helpful for I am not sure about what the proper inspection would be like. It seems as thought the houses I am looking at are not pricy so the inspection report is very simple and general.

Is there a way I can learn more about specific areas and foundation issues?

inspectorD 07-16-2009 04:58 PM

Call a contractor in your area and tell them what you are looking to do. They may give you answers to questions you have only because you may use them to fix any issues you find with a home.
As far as what those issues may be? There are to many to cover. What is the age of the home is the first one. Older homes may not be built to todays standards and have more issues. Soil types? clay soil is terrible , it shrinks in the sun and swells in the rain, cracking and moving piers and foundations.
My advice is to go to your local library and look up a book about what you want answered, specific to your area. Up here we have books on how to build a house in New England and winter climates. I'm sure your library will do the same.
Or contact an engineer for any ideas about what you may be looking for.
Soil conditions change dramatically all over. In my area alone we have aquifiers, sand, clay and granite ledge all within a 10 mile radius. That is probably why the big concrete companies and rock quarries are here.

The best info on foundations ,piers and concrete you will get from a book.
Good luck, hope this made some sense.:)

CyFree 07-17-2009 07:23 AM

As always, InspectorD is right on the money :)
You really need to do your homework and get a couple more opinions, specially when it comes to foundation issues.
However, since you are eager for more info, let me recommend this:

A colleague in the industry recently published a book about foundation repair and foundation issues, in everyday language, really easy to read, with a lot of pictures that might help shed some light on the matter. And the best of all, she made it available for free, online

Foundation Technology

Follow this link and you can read online or download the pdf into your computer.Hope that helps you understand the issues and make an informed decision

This other website also has some homeowner friendly information on foundations:

Sinking Foundations

Good luck!

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