Heat Can Damage Your Foundation

Heat Can Damage Your Foundation

Summer Heat is Bad for Your Home’s Foundation

Summer heat is on the way. If you’ve lived in St. Louis for any amount of time, that’s no surprise. It’s bad weather for outdoor running, big furry dogs, and, believe it or not, your home’sfoundation.

If we don’t get much rain, the intense summer heat can cause soil shrinkage. This shrinking soil can move and shift, taking your foundation along for the ride. If you have large trees near your home, this can become an even bigger issue, because even if it doesn’t seem that dry to you, these trees will have sucked up any water in the soil, drying it out.

Foundation movement can be very common in the St. Louis area. This movement can cause cracks in your foundation, which can allow moisture to seep in when it finally does rain. If left unmonitored and untreated, this can cause various issues (flooding, bowing walls, etc.) and structural damage to your home. If the movement is significant or continues to occur over a length of time, this can lead to a sinking foundation or an uneven foundation.

Additionally, summer heat can cause soil movement, which can leave your foundation exposed and unsupported in some areas.

What Should You Do?

First and foremost, keep an eye out for changes caused by heat.

Do you see a crack in your interior foundation walls or floor? What about separation of exterior bricks? These can be the most obvious signs of an issue, but there are other, more subtle hints as well. If you notice new cracks in your drywall throughout your home, or if you notice that an old crack starts “growing,” you may have foundation movement. Are your doors sticking or becoming hard to open? Do you see any gaps around your windows? Are your kitchen tiles cracking or buckling? All are signs of foundation movement, caused by summer heat.

Periodically examine both the inside and the outside of your home for heat related damage. If we’ve had lots of dry weather, it won’t hurt to run a hose and provide some moisture to the soil around your foundation. Additionally, you can run a dehumidifier in your basement to ensure that any existing moisture won’t cause an issue.

If you notice any of the above signs, or if you see other changes in walls or floors, it’s time to call the Foundation Doctor St. Louis for an inspection and evaluation.

Call us Today!

The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis will identify your foundation problem, offer the solution, and permanently fix the foundation damage at its source. Call us today for afree foundation evaluation! We will provide peace of mind so that you can enjoy our muggy, St. Louis summers at the pool or in your garden, free from worry about your foundation.

Common Reasons for Sump Pump Failure

Common Reasons for Sump Pump Failure

A lot of people in Missouri are worried about flooding right now. Are you one of them? Do you have a sump pump in your basement? Are you ready for heavy storm water or flash flooding?

 A sump pump is an interior drainage system that helps prevent hydrostatic pressure from building around your home. It does this by directing groundwater elsewhere.

A good sump pump is a homeowner’s first line of defense against a basement flood, but when it fails, it can turn into a major problem.  Below are some of the most common failures (and what to do about them)!

A Clogged Sump Pump

Does your sump pump have a lid?  If not, this could very likely be the issue. If there is a lid, remove it and inspect the sump pit for dirt and debris.  Check the “float switch,” which turns the pit on and off as the water level changes.  This can clog or jam as well. 

Ensure that the pit and the mechanical sump pump parts are free from dirt, debris and silt. If you do not have a lid, call the Foundation Doctor today for an inspection, repair, or replacement!

No Power 

Let’s say a major storm rolls into town, one with lots of rain. You think your sump pump can handle it, but then lightning strikes and the power goes out. Uh-oh.  Without power, electrical sump pumps cannot function. You don’t want this to happen when you need it the most!

Consider a battery-operated backup sump pump that will not fail if your home loses power. The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis can recommend the best model for your home.

Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines

Typically, any water collected by your sump pump is expelled via discharge lines. During winter these lines can freeze, or if you have experienced a clogged sump pump before, debris can enter the lines and clog the lines as well. When either of these occur, the system fails.

To avoid this, occasionally check your lines entry (in the sump pit) and exit (on the exterior of your home).  Your lines should be clear and covered. Contact the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis for recommendations on proper installation to avoid freezing lines. Our team of professionals can inspect your current system and recommend repairs or replacement lines.

No Water in the Sump Pit

No water in your sump pit is signal that your sump pump may not be linked to a drainage system, or it may have been improperly installed.  In this case, you will need your sump pump and drainage system professionally inspected.

The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis can identify where a breakdown in your system has occurred and recommend solutions, ensuring that your basement stays nice and dry!

Call us today for a no hassle consultation!

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!