Many homeowners worry about the severity of foundation cracks in the basement.
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Local Articles in Pittsburgh
Pouring a foundation is the first critical step in building your home, so make sure you know what to look for if you're hiring a custom builder or doing a portion of the work yourself. Here are some foundation basics.
Contractors say homeowners with this trait are the most satisfied with home improvement projects.
Measuring your foundation for levelness alone is not enough to determine if your foundation needs repair. A foundation expert will evaluate all the factors.
Each state has different rules on what "as-is" means, but almost all use the term when it comes to realestate sales. At two years, you are facing a hurdle that any issue could be the result of new conditions, acceptable wear / settlement, etc. Has there been any changes in the area? (New house built next door, new addition, earthquake, flooding, etc?)
While you may have been given a home warranty with the purchase (do check your sales paperwork to see if there is any warranty and what it covers for how long) the house is sold to you as-is; it is your responsibility to raise concerns prior to taking over the house, so going back two years later is a huge up hill batle.
The home inspector is also going to be found faultless, as their reports almost always have words like "consult with an expert. . ." after each report section and they have disclaimers for missed items, etc. I got certified as a home inspector and was surprised at just how little they actually require you to know to become an inspector. They are really just an extra pair of eyes to help inexpereinced home owners look where most people don't look or go. You even mention that the repair work was well masked, so you didn't notice it until you began looking for it. A good inspector might have caught it, but you won't win any court cases proving yours wasn't good enough.
The Seller will claim that any foundation issues were fixed and resolved, which is why they marked "No" on the foundation issue section. They fixed it; so it was no longer an issue. If it came back, that is a new issue. You and I know this is bogus, but to win in court you have to prove intent; and the builder can easily show they thought it was fixed. Or, they might even be able to claim they were unaware - the repairs were from the previous owner, and were hidden so well HE and YOU didn't notice them.
So the next step is to meet with your home insurance agent. As I mentioned above, if there have been any enviromental changes (a new house next door could have changed the underground water table flow or pressures, for example) you may be covered. Even if there are no issues, you still may have a policy that allows for major repairs to be covered after a certian cost threshold, etc. You'd be surprised at what your home owners insurance covers - find out first; they might have in house or low cost engineers who will do the initial inspection, etc. They also will provide advice on your home sale; if they think you have a case against the Seller.
Best of luck on this issue. Make sure any solution you pay for solves the cause (Stress on the wall), and doesn't just fix the results (cracks).
Foundation Repair reviews in Pittsburgh
They gave us a quote of $14,000 for interior french drains and a sump pump. I told the salesman that this system was out of my price range so then he proceeds to tell me about their financing and he starts calculating payments for me! When I saw those numbers I told him once again that it was something I could not afford. He then asked me why I didn’t want to use them and I said that they were too expensive. So then he tells me that if I sign up that day to be on their “stand by list” that he could knock off $2,000 from the price and then starts calculating that payment for me! Well obviously that was still too expensive. I
into signing a contract with them that day.
I told him that I had other companies coming out with quotes and that I would contact them if we wanted to use them. He asked me the names of those companies and I told him. He then searches in his bag and shows me the “materials” these other companies would be using. I
They called a couple days later at home and my husband told the lady who called that they were too expensive and how I had felt like the salesman was pressuring me. The lady then offers for someone else to come out and give us a cheaper quote. We scheduled for them to come back, but then decided we were no longer interested in doing the project. I called to tell them this and they still keep calling me on my cell phone and at home every couple of days. These people do not listen.
I was sorry to not be able to hire them for the job, but would definitely recommend them to others.
Sales Experience (8-2-2013):
The salesman (
After the fact I learned through internet searches that they usually quote a price of 300% higher and you have to negotiate and be hard nosed to get it down. People being initially quoted $20+K were getting marked down to $7K after HARD negotiating. I had been SCAMMED.
Installation Day - Take One (9-2-2013):
The installation crew showed up in the window promised and I went over the plan with the foreman. We looked at the basement and garage and walked the outside of the house. He had to double check his work order because he was confused on why we were having the full basement done, since half the basement is above grade (just like I had said to
Installation Day - Take Two (9-21-2013):
A new installation crew showed up and I went over the plans with the foreman. The installation required breaking up existing 1-ft vinyl tiles where the drain was to go. I planned on retiling myself when the work was done. They performed the work quickly and efficiently. They were very polite. They cleaned up really well when they were finished. I even tipped them before they left. They told me to give it a few days before walking on it. After they left and the concrete had time to cure I noticed some problems. I have some knowledge of concrete work and I noticed two problems:
1. Dusting problems: Too much water was used in the cement mix when leveling. This results in a week, powdery top coating of the cement surface, when the bleed water seeps to the top leaving excess paste on the surface. This made it impossible to
2. Second problem was that the new concrete was a solid 1/8th inch too high all-around, with the differential equaling 1/4 inch or more near the corner with the sump pit. I know it doesn't seem like much, but you try retiling over an uneven surface. I called and asked about the issues and what they could do. They offered to come out and look at it the following week, however delays already put me behind schedule and I had to get the floor installed that weekend (within the next 24 hrs) to meet my schedule before I was to be laid up from surgery I had scheduled. I asked him to talk to the manager to discuss possible financial compensation to make up for the extra work needed by me to get my floor corrected. I never received a call back. I spent about 9-10 hours total that weekend grinding down the concrete to clean up the dusting issues to level it out. And I still couldn't get it perfectly level. So my basement has a permanent ridge around half the perimeter.
Pump not working, the Saga continues (11-22-2013 to present):
So I noticed after multiple heavy rains that the pump was not engaging. I attempted several tests to get the pump to kick on. First I filled the sump pit with a bucket. The pump never kicked on. (important to note that this pump uses a digital pressure sensor and not a float. They claimed to be better and more reliable) If I unplugged the pump and sensor, reset the sensor at the pressure port, and plugged it back in the pump would turn on...once and only once. So I filled the sump pit again, and once again it didn't turn on. I repeated this process several times. Each time I had to such on the pressure port for the sensor to get it to work. It would never go just on its own. I also tried filling the sump pit with a hose. It still never worked. I turned on the hose and let it run for an hour, all the time overflowing out of the sump pit and into my foundation. It still would never turn on. I called and explained this to
I will skip ahead to a bit now. Their customer service is horrendous. Over the next 4 months there have been 6 scheduled appointments, of which the service guy,
* First visit was to check the system and replace the sensor. He couldn't get it to work, even with the new sensor.
* Second visit he came out with QC guy to check it (I wasn't present. My father-in-law covered for me). they were able to get it to work, but only after using the hose on full blast and letting the sump pit overflow for 20 minutes. I should also note that there were heavy rains for 2 days prior to the visit which helped to saturate the soil.
* Third visit they installed a completely new pump. A different kind of pump that is intended for
Where we go from here:
Following the third and final visit, I was still not satisfied.
After carefully looking around the kitchen, the 2nd floor room above, and the basement, he realized that the problem was not the foundation or the footer, but actually the kitchen subfloor. Our initial misconception was that it would take piling and jacking up the footer to fix this issue;
Even though we won't need their services, they were honest and upfront about what the problem really was. That type of honesty is rare, so I feel it should be shared so you know you are dealing with an honest company when you deal with
was very insightful with explaining structural load calculations and the reason that the basement was wet despite having a pre-existing interior drain was always bone dry. I went with his bid, which was the lowest; the high bid was $22,500.
His team was busy, but I wasn't in a rush since Fall had arrived and the area had largely dried out, so we agreed to a date a few weeks later. His team worked for one week and completed what appears to be a very good job - I won't know for certain until we have big storms in the Spring.
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