Educated Foundation Repair Consumers Receive Maximum Value!
I was speaking with a client the other day who was terribly confused about a foundation repair he had received several quotes on. The trouble he was having was that the quotes were vastly different in both price and approach. He was at a loss trying to decide who was knowledgeable and who was not, who was shooting straight and who was trying to merely generate revenue. I helped him work through it with two recommendations.
First, and this goes for all home repair jobs with the possible exception of electricity, if a contractor sits down with you and can not logically explain the problem and the solution to you, he either does not understand it himself or he is trying to take you for a ride. Home foundations are not rocket ships and most problems with them are governed by common sense. It may seem confusing at first, but anyone who has a good understanding of foundations and their relationship with the rest of the building envelope and the soil should be able to explain it in a logical and easily understandable fashion. So the first thing I did with my confused customer took him through each repair plan – and at the end of the discussion, it was very clear that some of the bidders did not understand the problem and others were shamelessly generating revenue.
The second recommendation I made was to spend a little extra money and get an educated advocate. Every foundation repair contractor who comes to your house to discuss fixing a problem is a salesman and has a vested interest in you buying something (myself included). The best way to be protected is to hire a registered professional engineer to assess the problem. He will come to your house with no bias toward a method of repair or particular contractor, he will work for you and he will be well versed in foundation repair methods. He can design a plan of repair, forcing all the contractors to bid “apples to apples”. Most contractors, real estate agents, and home inspectors can make recommendations of qualified engineers in your area. Be very wary of contractors who say “oh you don’t need an engineer, I know what you need.” It may be that he doesn’t want you to know what you need. The best way to protect yourself is to be an educated consumer.