Advice needed - foundation failure?

2 Replies

I'm trying to help a friend with her house & am looking for advice to give her. She has 3 bids ($25k, $54k & $58k) from foundation contractors & was told she has complete failure. The house is about 2300sf, slab & built around 1960. The higher 2 bids included interior & exterior piers everywhere. The $25k bid includes exterior piers around the perimeter & 1000sf of polyurethane lift under much of the interior.  

I told her that I would call a structural engineer before making a decision. They had an engineer out when they first bought the property about 5 years ago & the engineer recommended a root barrier & gutters. My friend thinks this made the issue worse. 3 slab readings in 5 years plus all the normal signs in doors, windows, walls, floors indicate that it is getting worse. I think she's leaning toward Ram Jack (highest bid) because they seem to offer the most complete solution & best warranty. I wouldn't want to steer her away from the best solution, but $60k is a lot of money!...plus, there will be more repair required (sheetrock, paint, flooring, brick & mortar, etc) after the foundation is repaired. I don't know much about the polyurethane option, but she was told it can be pumped in from a room with carpet, which would save the hardwood floors that she paid $10k for. 

They bought the house for about $250k & the ARV would top out a little above $400k. I think I would go with the less expensive fix & then I might find another house, but I don't think she's interested in moving. Curious to hear what ya'll think of the poly option & what you might recommend. Any help is appreciated! Thx!

The polyurethane jacking is basically just a newer, more high-tech alternative to mud jacking. In and of itself, there's nothing to say that it wouldn't be a good solution, at least to raise and level the foundation back up to where it was built. It seems that the real question is whether or not the interior piers are required for the long-term stability of the foundation. If the soil underneath still has further potential for settlement, the jacking will only be a temporary fix. Since 2 out of 3 contractors included those, it may be that they are necessary and the low-bidder just wants to get their foot in the door on the work with the potential for a large change order later on. It would ultimately require a licensed engineer's determination on whether or not internal piers are required - probably someone other than the original engineer. Is the low bidder a small local company or are they a national brand like Ram Jack?

The low bidder is a smaller local company, but a recognizable name in this market. So, would you recommend having another structural engineer out prior to selecting a company to do the work? Thanks!

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