Slab Foundation Repair and The Lure Of Magical Thinking

An example of magical thinking

When considering foundation repair, many people often engage in what I call “magical thinking.” An example is when a homeowner is sure that foundation movement is damaging his or her home and assumes that the best and, indeed the only, solution is to call in a foundation repair contractor.

Why do I call this magical thinking?

1. Foundation repair is a roll of the dice. Some people get good results and some wind up worse off. It is a type of repair where you do not know how it is going to work out until after the contractor finishes the work ad a couple of years has passed.

2. Underpinning a slab foundation results in loads being applied to the foundation that it was almost certainly not designed to sustain. That does not necessarily mean that the repair loads will cause structural damage to the foundation and the house, but it does mean your foundation is at risk of structural damage due to the repair process. Repair contractors are well aware of this and include verbiage in their contracts that the owner must bear this risk.

3. Foundation repair contractors do not warrant to fix your problem. For example foundation repair contractors do not warrant that, after the underpinning is complete, the home will no longer experience drywall cracks, brick veneer cracks or sticking doors. They only guaranty that their piers or piles will not settle more than a certain amount. In other words, and this is important to understand, they do not guarantee to fix your problem.

To paraphrase Richard Rash, a retired foundation repair contractor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:

The warranty is written to protect the contractor, not the homeowner.

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