Jun 28

Today’s main story: the Beware Foundation Repair Lifetime Warranty. What it doesn’t do is what makes it almost worthless.

But first... Today's Homeowner tip: I would like to point out a very important homeowner tip that many people know, but most don’t really understand and often ignore. That is, the soil level around your home which is very important in preventing termites.

Termites live in moist soil. Termites can jump a couple of inch's. Most homes are frame construction meaning even “brick” homes are supported by wood members. Termites can enter very small areas. Termites destroy wood. Conclusion: do not let your soil get too high next to the foundation. It is wise to leave at least two to three inches between soil and top of concrete foundation.

If soil level is low enough that it holds water next to home, do not raise soil level to near brick. If soil height is a problem, it must be addressed to avoid foundation issues, but not at the risk of termites. There are way to avoid both primarily improved drainage. Contact me and I will be glad to help you figure what works best for you.

And Now: Famous foundation problem!

13-storey apartment building collapsed in Chinese city of Shanghai, which was almost finished. It fell without being destroyed, like a domino.
It gives the impression as if the building was razed as a tree and was laid down...
According to the official version, the reason of the building collapsing was the construction of the underground garage and the loose soil.




The "default" LIFETIME WARRANTIES in the foundation repair business are pretty much worthless. Read on and learn why!

The "default" LIFETIME WARRANTIES in the foundation repair business are pretty much worthless. Read on and learn why!

I have been dealing with foundation repair contractors in North Texas for over thirty-five years, first as a foundation repair contractor and since 2004 as an Independent Foundation Repair and Drainage Consultant. What I have learned is: Foundation Repair Contractors sell piers.

I have been dealing with foundation repair contractors in North Texas for over thirty-five years, first as a foundation repair contractor and since 2004 as an Independent Foundation Repair and Drainage Consultant. What I have learned is: Foundation Repair Contractors sell piers.

Those that don’t promote piers to lift, either promote mud-jacking or foam injection to accomplish the lifting. ALL OF THESE PROCEDURES ARE HIGHLY PROFITABLE TO THE CONTRACTOR AND ALLOW FOR HIGH COMMISSIONS TO THEIR SALESMEN!  That's why they do it, and in spite of what they advertise, that is about all they do, lift buildings. Many of which do not need lifting. 

What must be understood is,  most foundation movement in areas of highly expansive soils come from upheaval and not settlement and upheaval does not react well to piers. When part of a building is temporarily above grade you do not permanently lift the rest of the building up to match, when instead, you can get the high part back down with minimal expense.

Signs of foundation damage from upheaval and bad drainage.

The problem is, unless a home or other building has experienced a severe earthquake, or support has been removed by a mudslide or a sink hole or other traumatic natural, or man made earth shift, the chances are slim that piers, or any kind of lifting, would be helpful. In fact, the lifting of most foundation damaged structures in Texas can cause additional problems at a later date.

Foundation damage due to sinkhole

Serious Foundation Damage

What most people don’t understand is that piers, when used correctly to replace lost support, seldom fail.  In the great majority of cases where "piers fail", the piers should not have been installed in the first place.  Most foundation movement outside of earthquakes, mudslides, sinkholes and other traumatic shaking of the earth is the result of upheaval. 

That would mean most foundation repair failures, without obvious trauma, do not need piers, are not helped by piers, and are not covered by the popular  LIFETIME WARRANTIES. 

How it Works

Here is the story of the FOUNDATION REPAIR LIFETIME WARRANTIES. Most foundation repair warranties are written with the intention of protecting the contractors. They wrote them, so why wouldn’t they cover their own butts as much as possible. When I got into the business in 1980 most foundation repairs were warrantied for one to three years. As the years went by, some contractor, usually a new one would raise the length of time in order to have an advantage. First to five years warrantie and everyone followed, then to ten years, then fifteen and on and on up to twenty five years. Well the rest of us had to follow to be competitive. Then it was inevitable someone said I'll guarantee it for the life of the structure. Now during this relatively short period of time a couple of things happened. First, a lot of contractors that tried to honor the long term warranties fell by the wayside because many repairs didn't last and they couldn't afford to make the customers happy. Secondly the contractors came up with a contract that forced the customers to agree to go to arbitration instead of suing when foundation repairs failed to fix the problem. The arbitrators following the wording of warranties are unable to rule in favor of the customer unless the piers which are what is warrantied drop into a hole allowing the foundation to drop with it...and that seldom happens.

Let me explain: All of the foundation repair, lifetime warranties, that I have seen in the last thirty years COVER ONLY vertical settlement of the piers. In other words if the piers don't drop into a hole, taking the foundation down with it, the warranties are a non-issue, in spite of what the foundation does, on or around the piers. Think about this: the job is not covered, just the piers, and the piers are only covered if they fall into a hole.If the piers heave you are not covered, if anywhere else, away from the piers moves up, down or sideways your not covered. In areas of severe earthquakes, sinkholes or mudslides those occurrences are  usually not covered. 

THE SCAM: The first thing the foundation company says is let's look at the elevations, Everything is based on elevations, and guess what. the elevations are a fraud. I have explained this in detail on my website (www.repairfoundations.com). The short of it is; without elevations based on a sea level benchmark, from the day the slab was poured , which no one has, you can't tell if a building has settled or heaved and was poured that way.  This means that when the original salesman comes out he can make the elevations say what he wants based on where he call zero. If he is selling piers he can make it appear to have settled. If he comes out to check on the warranties he can make it appear to have heaved, which is not covered by any lifetime warranties that I know of. See my website for more information on elevations.

Now you ask, how can that be.... well among the reasons could be, that there is no licensing or oversite in the state of Texas. The cities use construction permits to raise money not to protect their citizens, The engineers who deal with foundation repair exempt themselves from liability plus they profit from failed repairs, and the media flourishes off of the foundation repair advertising, Oh yes, the big foundation companies  make a killing and  most of the public just goes a long with their heads buried. Other than that I couldn't tell you how this can be.

The absolute bottom line is:

If it appears your home or commercial building is starting to show foundation movement you want to find out the real cause, and stop, and hopefully reverse it. It could be soil settlement or more likely soil upheaval, but whichever ....

If the diagnosis is wrong your foundation repairs will fail!

And it will cost you!

If you are unsure about something, you bring in an expert! That is a good business practice at any level. You use due diligence! You need a check and balance!

Don't deal with it alone.

Be very careful before placing your home in the hands of someone who’s livelihood is based on the sale of piers, or someone who uses foundation elevations to convince you that piers are the answer!

If you would like  help in making sure that you don't get in a spot where you may have to do it all over again, at your expense, contact me. If I don't help you, you don't pay me! That's my warranty! 

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Want to talk to me: Richard Rash, the Foundation Man: 817-308-8186

Drop me a note: thefoundationman@gmail.com

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