A friend of mine called asking for advice on some foundation repair bids she’d gotten. She’d already called three different companies and gotten bids in the range of $5-6000 to repair her home.
Luckily, I was only 20 minutes away from her home and I had more question. I asked, “Are you home right now? I’m only 20-minutes away. May I come over and take a look?”
She said, “yes, please come over.”
After I got there and we visited a little, I said, “OK, it’s obvious that you’re not having that problem here in the living room. So show me this area that you believe is having foundation problems.”
So, she said, “OK, come this way.”
When we walked into the dining area, she pointed to the ceiling and I saw black cracks, right on the seam in the peak of the ceiling of her vaulted ceiling and along the space between the wall and ceiling, all joints where the drywall meets. Then I looked down, and saw that there were a few hairline cracks in the ceramic tile too. However, no space was wider than a hair.
Next, I followed her down the hall and she showed me one of the bedrooms, and again there was a space between the wall, the seam in the wall, and the ceiling. I looked again at the floor, and yes, there were hairline cracks in the tile there too.
I still wasn’t terribly concerned; then she said, “It’s really worse in the garage!”
So, I followed her into the garage. The drywall tape had some wrinkles in it. Hmm.
Finally, outside, I found the culprit. The space between the garage door and the pillar of brick veneer had a diagonal opening. The caulk had separated at the garage trim. Now, this was a more significant crack. It was approximately…well you could put your thumb in it at the widest part. Not pretty. But the bricks were all bonded to one another, so there was still hope, as far as I was concerned.
As I looked around and down at the ground, sure enough there it was, a bald spot where grass once was. The rain draining off the roof apparently created a pretty good-sized puddle. And as you probably know, clay fluffs up and expands, then it shrinks and cracks like the Mohave Desert. When water stands too close to the foundation, it tends to swell and then shrink, directly in response to its moisture content.
I asked my friend, “Do you think it’s a good idea to put a gutter here?” She agreed.
I continued, “When you do, make sure the rain water discharges at least four feet from the foundation.”
So, since the home is about 35 years old, and it has only moved this little bit; I told her I would buy this house right now if I were looking at it as an investor. Are you wondering why?
Well, it’s because I know that painters caulk shrinks with time, as does the mud in the drywall tape, and it’s been at least 14 years since the interior was painted. You just have to remember that any house needs to be repainted from time to time. All I recommended that she do is put a gutter on the side of the house and make sure that the the water doesn’t pond there anymore. She was really happy to hear this, because she could really use that $5000 for something else.
If you’d like me to stop by and take a look at something you’re worried about, I’m happy to help! Call 512-807-8777.Hermann says please like and share!