Structural foundation damage is one of the most serious problems that Chicago homeowners can face. It not only leads to water infiltration but, left unrepaired, can threaten the very structure and stability of the house itself. It’s nothing to take lightly.
At the same time, not every crack in a foundation wall or every instance of seepage means that foundation repair is required. Non-structural cracks happen all the time and, although they should be repaired to keep the basement dry, they can be repaired by crack injection -- a basic basement waterproofing technique.
An experienced, well-trained basement professional should always be able to tell the difference.
We don’t often toot our own horn in this blog. After all, it’s here to educate homeowners about basement waterproofing, not advertise our company. In this case, though, I want to illustrate an important point by describing what one of our advisors did to help a Chicago-area homeowner understand the difference between basement waterproofing and foundation repair. In fact, I’ll let the homeowner tell you himself, courtesy of his review on Angie’s List:
“Had a bunch of estimates because of some cracking in the walls. Everyone else told us it was the house sinking on one end and we needed to put in piers. Chris, however, actually took the time to measure with a laser and a zip level and not only had the house not sunken where everyone else had said, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought. They recommended getting the water away from the house and having a landscaper regrade the backyard. (It was pitched slightly toward the house.) I appreciated the time and thoughtfulness with which they diagnosed the problem. We still may need piers down the line but I’ll be calling these guys to give me the real answer for sure.”
In this case, it appears that several companies took the easy approach for them and the expensive approach for the homeowner. I would like to think that it was lack of training or just missing a few key signs that resulted in incorrectly recommending foundation repair and not some other motive. Regardless, I am proud of our advisor, Chris Steponaitis, not only for his professionalism but for honoring our company’s unofficial motto, “Do the Right Thing.”
The moral of this story, beyond the conventional wisdom of getting a second opinion, is that problems with a home’s foundation don’t always mean that it’s time to push the ”Panic” button. Sure, this homeowner’s house could have been sinking and putting in piers, or doing some other structural remediation, might have been the right thing to do. In this case it wasn’t and a few simple and cost-effective basement waterproofing techniques solved the problem.
Trust your instincts, Mr. or Ms. Chicago Homeowner. If something doesn’t seem right about an estimate or an opinion from a foundation repair company, or any other service business for that matter, get a second opinion…or a third. At U.S. Waterproofing, our advisors have been trained to find the real problem and recommend the best solution, as we have done for more than 300,000 homeowners since our founding in 1957. Feel free to ask for a no-cost consultation.
Have questions about a problem with your foundation? Please ask them in the Comments box below.