What Should You Know Before Hiring a Foundation Repair Company in South Carolina?Oct 15, 2017
As the foremost authority in home foundation repair, CNT, located in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, knows that choosing a foundation repair contractor is not easy. South Carolina’s consumer protection agencies receive plenty of complaints about shady contractors. So how do you find a reputable, reliable foundation repair contractor who can complete the job on time and under budget? Ask questions.
In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of foundation problems and explore several of the most important questions you should ask before hiring a contractor to repair your home’s foundation.
How Do You Know That You Need Foundation Repairs in South Carolina?
All homes settle and adjust with time, thus, it is not uncommon for your foundation to develop minor issues. The appearance of minor cracks do not necessarily mean repairs are necessary. When in doubt, it is best to ask a professional. Unfortunately, many foundation repair companies will gladly take your money for unnecessary fixes. However, if you are experiencing any of the issues below, it is time to chat with a foundation repair contractor:
- Doors and windows are sticking shut.
- Cracks in the interior walls on the drywall as well as cracks on the outside of your home.
- Gaps between crown molding and the ceiling.
- Gaps between caulking and windows or doors.
- Sunken floors or sinking foundation.
- Patios that have pulled away from your home.
- Wallpaper creases and wrinkles.
- Nail pops – these are small, cracked circles where the nail pulls away from the drywall or sheetrock, exposing the nail head or pushing paint away from the wall.
- Sloping floors. Incremental drops of an inch across a home’s foundation are not a problem. However, if your home slopes more than an inch every 15 to 20 feet, then you have some sloping issues that may require foundation repair.
- Bowed basement walls. If your basement walls are bowing in, this means that there could be some foundation problems caused by soil expansion. When the soil is wet it expands pushing against the foundation, as the soil dries it pulls back away from your foundation. This can cause weak areas that will eventually bow.
What Questions Should You Ask a Prospective Foundation Repair Company in South Carolina?
One of the largest investments you and your family have made should not be left to chance. It is imperative that you ask some of the tough questions for any potential contractor. A professional contractor should be able to answer the following questions and, if they cannot, it is time to look elsewhere.
Are you licensed and insured in South Carolina? Licensing and insurance are mandatory for foundation repair contractors in South Carolina. However, some repair teams market themselves as experts without explicitly stating that they are “foundation repair contractors.” The South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation offers a search for any potential contractor. Please take advantage of it.
How to, how much, and how long? You want to determine how the job will be completed. Depending on the exact nature of the damage, there are several different approaches to home foundation repair.
You also want to know in advance and in writing:
- How much the job will cost.
- How long the job will take. Standard turnaround times vary from 1 to 5 business days, depending on the extent of the damage and the contractor’s backlog of work.
Do you offer a foundation repair warranty? Nearly all home foundation repairs come with lifetime, transferable warranties that cover you for workmanship and parts. However – not all warranties are created equally. You must read the fine print in order to understand your rights as a policyholder. Read our earlier article on this very topic.
How many foundation repairs have you completed? When it comes to fixing your home’s foundation, experience matters. This is why shopping on price alone is an unwise strategy. You want the best team for the job, period. And you also want a foundation repair firm that will be around long enough to back whatever warranties come with the repairs.
Do you have references and testimonials? Do not hire a contractor who cannot put you in touch with previous customers. Ask for multiple references; if a contractor only refers you to one satisfied customer, that should be considered a red flag. A good contractor will have plenty of people willing to vouch for its services. Be suspicious of contractors that cannot or will not provide you with the names and phone numbers of previous customers. If all they want to do is refer you to online testimonials, cut them loose — anyone can fake an online testimonial.
Do you provide landscaping and soil advice? A failure to consider the soil around the foundation of your home before construction could cause extensive, expensive damage and could leave the structure uninhabitable. Fixing the problems caused by the soil can be costly and time-consuming. Soil does more than damage your home’s foundation, it can also affect drywall, windows, chimneys, and doors.
Examples of the damage caused by soil around foundation include:
- Hairline cracks in the drywall of rooms throughout the home
- Basement floor cracking
- Mold or mildew in the basement due dampness
- Doors or windows that do not close properly
- Water damage from burst pipes
Extreme shifting of the floors or walls that leave a home unstable
Before construction or repair, it is vital to determine the exact type of soil that is located around your home’s foundation. A soil map provides the information needed to help builders, contractors and homeowners determine the types of preventative measures that may be needed to avoid damage to the foundation or correct any damage that may have occurred.
Because soil types look so similar, a visual inspection of the soil will not provide an accurate analysis of what type of soil is present. To accurately determine the type of soil around your home’s foundation, it is best to use a soil map.
To read more about soil mapping and your home’s foundation, please refer to our article entitled, “What Types of Soil Affect the Foundation of a Home in South Carolina?”
Before handing the keys over to a foundation repair contractor, make sure that the contractor is a good fit for your project. Hiring the wrong contractor could be disastrous. Contact the experts at CNT for a free evaluation, ask us the tough questions and let our family work with yours.