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If you have a leaky tire, you might go to an auto-mechanic to get a repair. If that mechanic’s recommendation for repair is a new steel rim, a new axle and 4 new tires at a total cost of $4,000.00, would you think of getting a second opinion?

I have inspected too many homes with wildly extensive and expensive foundation repairs that were the recommended fix for minor water leakage in a basement. If a foundation repair company recommends repairs that cost many thousands of dollars, the recommendation should be backed up with a report from a structural engineer (an objective 3rd party). The repair is structural; thus a structural engineer should have input.

Some foundation repair salesmen have their salary based on commission. One must ask how qualified the salesman is to determine proper remediation.  Often these salesmen have several months of sales training and are not engineers.

Case in point; we inspected a 100-year-old house and noted sloping floors and cracks at the stucco in our report. We recommended improving the grade to minimize future settlement.  The report pointed out that settlement in a 100-year-old house is often found.

One of the better-known companies that specializes in foundation repair made their way to the house after our inspection.   The salesman, determined with a laser that there had been settlement in the main foundation, also the front porch of this home had signs of settlement.  The estimate for repair:  over $30,000.00.  

To verify the estimate, a structural engineer was brought in to do an evaluation.   His report basically said the house had settled over the years.   He recommended improving the grade due to the expansive soil in the area.   He did not recommend adding piers under the foundation as the foundation repair salesman had. 

The cost to improve the grading was a fraction of the original estimate by the foundation company.

Home owners at times are hesitant to pay for objective evaluations, and rather go with a free evaluation from a business in the industry.  Often, in the long run, it is much better to pay for objective information.  Not only is the proper repair made, the owner also has a legitimate report from an engineer detailing the condition and repair on the house that can be shown to the next potential buyer when they go to sell the house.

There is a saying that nothing is free in this world.  When it comes to home repair this is normally true.  It is always a good idea to back up free estimates for major repairs with an evaluation by a qualified or licensed person.