Buying or Selling a House with Foundation Issues?

Buying or Selling a House with Foundation Issues?

When it comes to any foundation issues that may be uncovered during the inspection process, the Foundation Doctor St. Louis can help both buyers and sellers.

Buying a Home

Buying a new home comes with a lot of unknowns: what if there’s an issue you didn’t discover until after you move in? What if you find out the neighbors are nosy? What if you planned to remodel a bit, only to discover the load-bearing wall is in the wrong place? None of those are good.

Selling a Home

Selling a home is also full of nail-biting moments: what if the buyers don’t get their financing and you have to start all over? What if the inspection uncovers a big issue that you have to fix now that you are aware of it? What if no one comes to look at your house? Again, none of those are ideal situations.

Let’s face it—no matter which side of the coin you’re on in a real estate transaction, it’s stressful. There are professionals out there to help deal with every one of those scenarios.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home with a potential foundation issue, here are a few considerations for both parties as you navigate the real estate transaction.

Diagnosing and Repairing Foundation Issues Should Not Be Do-It-Yourself Projects

The foundation of your home is where the whole structure rests. It must be strong and stable enough to support the entire house. Any damage or defects that compromise its integrity can be cause for concern and should be evaluated by professionals to establish the extent of the issue.

This is not the time for amateurs. If you think there is a chance of a foundation issue, have it checked by a home inspector and/or structural engineer. The peace of mind offered by involving a qualified professional is invaluable. Plus, your insurance company or lender (if you are the buyer) may require official documentation that demonstrates that any issues were resolved professionally. Don’t jeopardize the real estate deal because you’re looking to save a few bucks.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Even “Small” Foundation Issues

We get it—the foundation is not the most exciting part of the home. If you’re walking through a home you’re looking to buy, you’d much rather be imagining your decorations in the family room or checking out the walk-in closet space. That being said, don’t forego a thorough examination of the foundation. If you spot a crack, a leak, or a wet spot in the basement, make note to have your inspector really spend time there. With luck, these will turn out to be minor issues, but sometimes what looks minor can actually be hiding a larger issue and quickly become a big headache. There is no way to know this until you hire a professional to evaluate it, and it helps if you can point out problem areas.

Along these lines, there is no way to estimate the cost of a foundation repair until your inspector or foundation professional has correctly identified the problem. See a crack? That could be due to normal settling, and it may easily be repaired with simple patching. Or, it could signify a bowing wall due to a drainage issue that could leave your basement flooded after a rain, and this type of repair may require reinforcement—a very different-looking repair than patching. Only a professional will be able to provide guidance on this.

Foundation Issues Will Affect the Real Estate Deal

A foundation issue is intimidating. As a buyer, if you agree to buy a home after foundation issues have already been disclosed, you assume responsibility (and cost) of addressing those issues after the sale has closed. Sometimes, large foundation issues may render a buyer ineligible for certain types of financing like government-backed loans, which require the home to be structurally sound and free of major issues. Be sure to negotiate for yourself up front—any identified foundation issues can serve as a major bargaining chip when you are negotiating price.

As a seller, you have some options to consider if your home has foundation issues. The first is to hire a professional to fix the issues before you list your home, but this means investing money (possibly a larger than ideal amount). You will be able to say the home is free of foundation issues, but you will also have a repair history that could discourage potential buyers before they even view your home.

A second option would be to just disclose the foundation issues in your listing, but this means that you will need to be realistic about the repair costs and adjust the price accordingly. It helps to have an estimate provided by a professional to justify where you landed in your listing price and why. Within this second option, with the help of a good real estate agent, you could try and shift the focus to the upside—for example, a buyer who takes on fixing the foundation issues could simultaneously finish the basement or add a mancave if he’d like.

The best choice for both buyer and seller will depend on a number of factors, but one thing is for sure: without paying attention to the foundation, identifying any possible issues, and being realistic about what a repair could look like, a bad foundation could derail your real estate transaction.

Don’t let that happen to you—call Foundation Doctor St. Louis today for a free estimate or a foundation evaluation!

Crawl Space Inspections Explained

Crawl Space Inspections Explained

St. Louis is home to a lot of beautiful, historic architecture. There are a number of great, older neighborhoods—Soulard, Lafayette Square, Clifton Heights, to name a few—and then a number of standalone homes that have seen a century of history.

All the historic architecture has iconic components like crown molding, pocket doors, and stained glass windows. It also includes less-appealing pieces, like fruit cellars in the basement and even crawl spaces instead of basements.

If you own one of these historic beauties with a crawl space, the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis is the one to call when you need to perform maintenance on it. These spaces can be hard to reach and tight to navigate, and enlisting the help of a professional team is imperative. The Foundation Doctor will inspect your crawl space with as little intrusion as possible, and some of the items to be considered are listed below.

Mold

Mold is a potential health hazard for members of your family, and it also can cause structural damage to your home. Addressing mold in your crawl space as soon as possible, at the first hint of a problem, will lessen its negative effects. Mold issues can be caused by high humidity and additionally by flooding. St. Louis is prone to both, and crawl space mold is no stronger to homes in the area.

Pests and Insects

The crawl space of a home can sometimes invite unwanted guests that decide to stay. Moisture, food, shelter, and temperature are factors that will attract pests. These pests can nest, destroy wood, and create potential fire hazards. By having regular inspections of your crawl space, The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis, can find and help you address occurring problems before there is major damage.

Outside Air Flow

Crawl spaces should be sealed, not open to outside air. This may seem counterintuitive, as one may think that air would dry any moisture in the crawl space as it flows through. This is the opposite of what actually happens, however—both cold, winter air and hot, humid summer air add moisture into your crawl space when there is precipitation outside.

Issues to Watch Out For

If you are noticing any of the following problems, don’t delay—call the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis for your crawl space inspection. These can signal issues with mold, outside air flow, insects, pests, or even all of those. These signs should be addressed as soon as possible:

  • Drywall cracks on the interior
  • Uneven floors
  • Foul odors
  • Increased allergy symptoms
  • Cold floors above crawl space areas
  • Visible mold or moldy, musty smell
  • Rotting wood
  • Standing water or wet areas in the crawl space
  • Open crawl space vents

The team of professionals at the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis will accommodate your schedule, inspect your crawl space, and provide a free, same-day estimate for repairs.  We are a family-owned and operated foundation repair business with over 25 years of experience, and we look forward to assisting you with your crawl space needs.

Call us today!

Recognized by Angie’s List Again This Year!

Foundation Doctor St. Louis is proud to announce that we have been named a 2018 Angie’s List Super Service Award winner!  This is the fifth year in a row that our quality work and first class customer service have earned us this recognition.

The Angie’s List Super Service Award is a 20-year old award honoring excellence among home service professionals and recognizing best-in-class providers. Every year, winners have demonstrated consistently high levels of customer service as evidenced by their superior service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List

To be recognized, winners must maintain an overall grade “A” in multiple categories, including price, punctuality, and professionalism. Winners must also meet strict eligibility requirements such as passing a background check, submitting a current trade license attestation, and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Client Testimonial Highlights:

Our clients fill out comment cards after we have completed work on their properties, and they have great things to say:

“I have had the pleasure of working with this company a number of times; each time has proven that the Foundation Doctor performs consistently with high regard and adherence to professional standards.” –Amber in St. Louis

“I appreciate your dedication and will recommend you to everyone I know!” –Heidi in Arnold

“The Foundation Doctor did a great job, hard working, knew their stuff, good people to work with, a job very well done.  I would recommend this company to anyone.” –Kenneth in St. Louis

Referral Partner Testimonial Highlights:

Consistently putting our customers first, The Foundation Doctor St. Louis is also an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. A large part of our business is based on referrals, and we work with realtors, home inspectors, insurance companies and structural engineers across the region. Our referral partners have written reviews of their experience with the Foundation Doctor St. Louis as well, some of which are highlighted here:

“The Foundation Doctor is the best in the industry. I have used them for hundreds of my clients and I wouldn’t trust my clients with anyone else.” –Brad, Keller Williams Realty

“I recommend Rick and his team often. They are reliable, reasonable, and trustworthy. My clients are always happy with their work.” –Gretchen, Broker Manager Prudential Select Properties

“Top-notch service, dependability, and very reasonable rates. Trust that when you hire Rick and the team at Foundation Doctor, you’re hiring the very best!” – Frank, Owner of Acropolis Home Inspection, LLC

Family-owned and operated locally, The Foundation Doctor has over 25 years of experience. We have repaired over 1000 St. Louis area homes and buildings, and we continue to expand across the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Become one of our satisfied customers today! Call the Foundation Doctor St. Louis for your foundation repair and maintenance needs.

Is Piering Right for Your Home?

Is Piering Right for Your Home?

If you own a home in the St. Louis area, you’ve likely heard of foundation piering. It’s incredibly common because there is so much weather variability affecting the soil. With the temperature changes, soil expands and contracts, causing shifting, sinking, cracking and leaking foundations.

Foundation piering provides an effective, permanent solution to these soil issues, and if you have noticed that you have been repairing repeated foundation issues, it may be time to consider piering.

What is Piering?

Foundation piering is a reinforcement system installed centrally beneath a home’s footing to strengthen, stabilize, and avoid further foundation settlement.  Foundation professionals drive vertical support beams into the soil beneath a home, transferring the structural load directly onto the piers beneath foundation walls. At the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis, our team drives these supports into the soil hydraulically, one at a time, continuing until the pier hits bedrock or a dense subsurface material, providing maximum support.

The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis utilizes DynaPier segments containing high-strength concrete. These segments are pre-cast in steel sleeves, providing superior shear strength and compressive resistance.

What Does Installation Look Like?

Believe it or not, installing a piering system is a minimally invasive measure.  A sophisticated piering system can be installed without damaging your home or inconveniencing you or your family. In the past, large-scale repairs required a full foundation overhaul, but with improved hydraulics and better technology, today’s installations are much easier. 

Upon installation, piers elevate your home off the soil, protecting your home from both flooding and further soil expansion. This created space can serve as a crawl space, which is easier for foundation professionals and other contractors to use in case of maintenance or repair.

Contact Us If You Need Piering!

No matter what, if you suspect your home could benefit from piering, you must consult a professional. A foundation professional will inspect your home, make a recommendation, and be able to provide detailed information regarding the plan for piering. The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis offers on-site evaluations at no cost, and our team of professionals will take the time to explain your options and answer any questions you may have.

The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis can provide piering services to reinforce parts of your home that are damaged or fragile, helping you avoid future foundation issues and ensuring the structure remains sound.

Contact the Foundation Doctor today for a free estimate!

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

You’ve probably heard the word “sump pump” before, but do you know what it is? Or, more accurately, do you know what it does?

Many people in St. Louis have sump pumps, depending on the location and age of their homes. If you don’t currently have one, read on—your situation may necessitate installing one.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is an interior drainage system installed underneath your basement floor and in crawl spaces to collect groundwater before it floods your home.  The pump is placed inside a sump pit, and this system helps collect groundwater and excess water buildup from rains. After collecting the water, the sump pump then diverts it away from your home.

Occasionally, if your sump pump does not have a lid, it can get clogged with dirt or debris, necessitating a call to professionals like the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis. We can help address this issue and ensure that your sump pump is properly installed.

How Does it Help with Drainage?

A sump pump collects water through both directed drains and natural water migration through the soil. When excess water builds up, the sump pump pumps the water out of the sump pit and away from the home, ensuring that the basement or crawl space stays dry.

Do I Need One?

Have you noticed any puddles of water in your basement?  Has your basement flooded recently? If these are frequent occurrences for you, it’s likely that your home’s foundation has hydrostatic pressure built up, forcing water to seep through cracks and locations where the floor and walls meet.

This pressure can compromise your home’s foundation, leaking through cracks and potentially causing walls to bow. Hydrostatic pressure build up can be caused by a number of factors, including oversaturated soil, improper drainage, or just simply the location of your home on the land.

Before these issues get worse (and they will), call the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis today for a free estimate and inspection of your home’s foundation!  We can tell you if an interior drain system like a sump pump is necessary. We also can evaluate and recommend a solution for any water issues your foundation or yard may have, preventing further damage to your home.

If you already have a sump pump for basement drainage, it’s always a good idea to have it inspection and ensure that it’s working properly.

Call the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis for Your Sump Pump Needs!

Whether you need your current sump pump inspected or you’re exploring the idea of installing a new sump pump, the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis can provide solutions.

As a family-owned and operated company, our team of professionals knows that our customers are focused on keeping their homes maintained and their families safe.  Customer service is a cornerstone of our operations, and many of our new clients come from referrals. We would welcome the opportunity to serve your foundation needs!

Contact us today!

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Here in St. Louis, we often don’t get much warning before the seasons change. Sure, we know that in November and December it should be winter, but we aren’t surprised when we have a 65 degree day mixed in there.  We also aren’t surprised when we go to bed on that 65-degree day and wake up to temperatures in the teens.

How can you make sure your home is ready for those major temperature swings?  Read on for some tips!

Regular Foundation Inspection

First and foremost, maintenance on your home’s foundation should be done annually.  This can be as simple as a walk around your home. Check for foundation cracks or gathering water on the exterior and checking again for cracks or bowing walls on the interior.  Discovering potential issues early can prevent further damage and save money.  Take a look at your home now and get a baseline so that you can recognize any changes or shifts in soil, water, or cracks.

If you note any of these things occurring, contact Foundation Doctor of St. Louis today! We will be happy to inspect your foundation for any leaks, cracks, or compromises in the integrity of the walls.

Turn off Exterior Faucets

When we get far enough into winter to see snow, ice and freezing temperatures, you definitely want to have made sure that all of your exterior faucets have been turned off for the season. This includes all of your hose bibbs, plant irrigation pipes, and any other exterior water lines.

Turning these valves off will help you avoid freezing pipes, which can cause major damage. If your pipes freeze, the water inside will expand, potentially rupturing the pipes and causing flooding inside walls or in your basement depending on the placement of the pipes.  Many homes now have frost-proof faucets, but turning off the water at the shut-off valve is the best way to avoid these issues.

Do you have a sprinkler system?  It’s important to call your service provider to shut off your system for the winter to ensure that none of these lines freeze as well.

Prevent Ice Dams

Last winter, did you see any icicles on your home? They certainly can be a pretty decoration, but in truth they are bad for the health of your home. Noticing a lot of icicles means that it’s time to inspect your home for air leaks. Inadequate insulation issues, and/or clogged gutters may also be an issue.  It’s important to address these issues as quickly as possible to prevent melt-water from backing up into your home from these areas.

Melting water can gather around the foundation of your home and cause leaks or bowing of the foundation walls.  These issues are both ones that the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis can address, but prevention is always easier than repair.

Divert Water

On the subject of melting water, really you will want to keep any water away from your foundation.  Diverting the path of water away from your home will help keep your foundation dry and functioning at its desired level.

There are a few ways to achieve these depending on the layout of your home and your yard, including extending gutter downspouts or adding a French drain.

If you need help or recommendations on the best way to waterproof your foundation, call the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis today!

Winter is Coming… Make Sure You’re Prepared!

Even if it’s already cold outside, you still have time to take precautions. It’s important to prepare your home’s foundation against the harsh elements of winter. The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis is happy to help you keep your family safe and warm this winter. 

Call for a free estimate today!