Two vendors with different analysis on foundation issue

8 Replies

Got a call from my property manager for a SFH I own in Dallas area saying there's a foundation issue. Here's the email he sent me:

"I received the report back today and the vendor has reported that there are signs of foundation movement which will need correction in order to ensure that the property does not receive further damage from the movement. The vendor informs me that the property will need 30 total pilings installed, 17 on the exterior and 13 on the interior meaning that not only will there be foundation work, but a build back after the work is completed, with a full cost of $9400."

The property manager suggested we get a second opinion. We called another vendor and here's the update I got:

"I received the evaluation back from the vendor I assigned to look at your foundation and, unfortunately, there is work needed, but it can be addressed without installing or adjusting the interior piers. I have attached the estimates and drawings for you, they are suggesting adjusting seven piers on the exterior of the home for $4325."

This is the first time I have to deal  with foundation issues, so any advice on what I need to pay attention to / know / ask will be appreciated.


Always ask the question in Texas, it’s a rental, do you need to do it at all?

Every Dallas house has foundation issues, the question to ask, is it out of tolerance? Is it safe?

Depending on the time of year, the soil will move, you might actually be making things worse by raising part of the house.

Every foundation company you bring in will tell you to add piers.

I don’t know the specific property, but my guess is there is a high probability you wouldn’t need to do anything.

Is it pier and beam or on a slab? Do you see cracks going up thru brickwork or do you have corners of the house falling off?

Do you have any pictures? every house/ building has a little movement. did this just happen recently with big cracks in the foundation or has this happened over the years with minor cracks?

@Oren H. ,

The smart thing to do is hire an engineering company to come out and give you an engineering report. Cost about $1,500. They will tell you exactly what is needed such as how many beams and where the beams should be. With this information in hand source different foundation companies for the scope of work required. This will allow apples to apples comparison because everyone is biding on the exact about of piers needed. I hope this helps. 

Have you talked with a structural engineer, he would be my next call. He will truthfully let you know what's the best way to correct the issue,, we've used the same guy several times and not that expensive to have him come out. 

@Oren H. How far out of tolerance is this foundation? Generally +/- 1" is considered level. If it's a rental house, I personally would not worry about it unless I saw exterior cracking through the bricks or there was some issue other than the constantly shifting Texas soil at the root of the problem (e.g. sewer leak under the slab).

If you want the peace of mind, get the opinion of a structural engineer, not a foundation company with a vested interest in installing piers. If you go forward with the foundation repair, you will need an engineer's report anyway.

@Oren H. In Dallas - Fort Worth many houses have foundation issues. The $9,400 bid is VERY high. I can tell you from my personal experience from managing 500+ properties/owning 50+/owning a GC company to completes 10+ rehab a month that $9,400 VERY unusual. Call, pm or email me and I will send you my foundation guy's contact info. He is very honest and will let you know what does or does not need done. Unfortunately many "property managers" have little experience with owning investment property and are quick to spend clients' money.

Have them call structured foundation repair. The owner is an a&m engineering graduate, as well as they pay for a post-repair inspection from a 3rd party structural engineer to ensure their repair was sound. They’re great.

Thanks all for the help. I have talked with the property manager and they'll bring an engineer to check it out and also to verify any work.

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