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Most Foundation "Repair" Leveling Will Not Work

Leveling a foundation or, part of it, should not be considered a "repair". It's a leveling job. Leveling the floor by adding piers or piles is similar to major surgery on a foundation. Homeowners should be well informed about what type of foundation repair system is being installed to lift or level a house. Don't be fooled by a sales pitch or the Life Time Foundation Repair Warranty with the fine print.

There is likely a percentage of homes sold that have had some foundation leveling but you'll never know for whatever reason.

If you are getting a foundation repair based on the premise that a foundation repair contractor is going to "stabilize" your foundation from moving any further, then you are being misled. Before you decide on getting the foundation lifted, be fully aware of what type of system is being installed, what it can do and what voids the warranty. Don't let price alone be your guide. Contributing causes need to be corrected. Piers will not stop the contributing effects of tree roots, improper drainage or drought. (see image)

Just ask the civil engineer that called us in early 2016 about buying a home in League City that has was recently "fixed" a second time and put up for sale.

The new flooring and paint that was done may be nice but the way I look at it as an inspector the flooring was done because of the foundation cracked the floor tiles and walls were painted to fill in the drywall cracks. (Of course, to be fair, people do live in houses with deferred maintenance and need to do some cosmetic work to help sell the house.) It's generally a cosmetic cover-up of an underlying problem. *I didn't do this inspection. Emotionally attached buyers in a low inventory market usually don't always make good purchase decisions.

In this one and almost every case there is no foundation documentation available or provided to the buyer of where the work was performed, how it was performed or whether it was designed and more importantly approved by a structural engineer. They claim a Lifetime Warranty but can't provide the documentation. Who do you call?

One could see by the listing photos where the trees were and that would be the side of continual foundation differential movement regardless of any pier attempt or "adjustment".

Also water is not free and some people can't afford to water around their foundation especially in cities with water rationing. A structural engineer was obviously not used on either of the "repairs". Foundation contractors are not licensed and there are loopholes to any limited warranty. Foundation repair contractors don't offer a permanent repair as a permanent repair is not being done.

It's not hard to opine on the underlying reasons of why a foundation moves.

Each property has a different set of factors that contribute to foundation movement. It starts with the expansive soil the foundation is placed upon. I will also refer to the area property map of the many fault lines. There are also properties that have voids under the foundation where the load-bearing earth has shrunk away due to previous droughts and tree roots.

In 2016 more inspectors are seeing significant foundation movement in less than one year old homes. If the foundation was designed per a 2009 state law requirement there should (never) be movement. It appears to be either bad engineering or bad workmanship but in either case it sould not happen.

More New Homes Appear to Have Foundation Movement

Since 2015 more inspectors are seeing significant foundation movement in less than one year old homes. If the foundation was designed per a 2009 state law requirement there should (never) be movement. It appears to be either bad engineering or bad workmanship or supervision but in either case it should not happen.

Majic Inspections

There is no majic instrument that inspects foundations.

There are many ways to check a foundation but what is true is that unless you have an original baseline surface elevation to compare the existing to everything else is moot and not accurate. It becomes a guess. Period.

The real performance of a foundation is what is expected by its owner.

The real majic is to extract a little extra money or dazzle you with a marketing gimmick.

Foundations are not necessarily poured level and they can be 1-2 inches off and not be a problem.

Home inspectors are not the engineers that you may want them to be.


Watering Foundation: Protecting Foundations during Drought and Water Restrictions

How To Water Around a Foundation Properly

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