Educational Consumer Tips
Better Business Bureau
Don't think that you need to be an expert to determine that you have a problem with your foundation. Just look around to see if you find the following signs: *Cracks in the interior walls. *"Popped" nails in the plaster of sheetrock. *Doors and windows that are hard to close. *Cracks in the brick fireplace wall. *Cracks in or between the exterior bricks. *Joints around the windows or door frames pulling away from the caulking. *Leaks in the roof, despite roofing material that is in good condition. *Obvious sloping of doors. These problems are more that unsightly cosmetic annoyances. Cracks in the interior walls reduce the value of your home. Cracks in exterior bricks allow moisture that can damage the sheathing, insulation and the interior walls. Spaces between walls and windows or doors that no longer fit well can result in higher heating and cooling costs. In addition, leaking roofs can result in damaged beams, insulation, interior walls, ceilings and electrical wiring. How to Find the Right Company: Most homeowners can take their time in getting their foundations repaired since foundation problems usually are not emergencies. Because of this, there should be no need for you to be pushed into a hasty decision regarding which company you select to level you house. However, it is important to remember that foundation problems cause damage to the rest of your home, so the sooner the repairs are made, the better. So, how do you find the right company? You want a company you can rely on to detect the problem accurately and then do the job right. Use the following checklist when comparing companies: 1. Determine how long the company has been in business. 2. You should understand what method of foundation repair would be used. If you have a preference, you should seek out the companies using that method. 3. Visit the business location. Is it professional and organized. 4. How much experience does the company have in foundation repair? Remember, the years a company has been in business may not reflect its experience with foundations. In the event you may sell your home in the future, it is important to be certain that any foundation repair will be adequate to obtain financing. 5. Does the company have workman's compensation and liability insurance? Ask the company to have its agent mail a certificate of insurance to your home. 6. Is a city permit required for the area? 7. Will the company supply a scale drawing to show how the hose will be leveled? 8. Is the company a member of any related trade or professional associations? 9. Will the workmen be employees of the company or temporary labor? 10. Will there be supervisors on site? 11. Is the company willing to give you references? Be sure the references are not handpicked by the company. And don't be satisfied to simply have the references. Check with the people to see what their experiences were Be sure that you understand the terms of payment. You should make no payments before the work begins. Be sure you understand the warranty agreement before you sign the contract. In the foundation repair industry, most contracts contain a clause indicating that conditions (such as structural deficiencies) might appear during foundation work that were not visible when the bid was submitted. In these cases, the desired results may not be obtained. After the extended warranty period, a service agreement may be available to cover beyond the warranty period at an additional cost. Other companies may not transfer the warranty if you sell the house or may charge a fee for the transfer. No matter what, the conditions of the warranty or guarantee should be clearly listed in the contract.