“Save $1,000 on discount foundation repair.” You may have heard this at some point, and thought to yourself: Wow, what a great deal.
And we totally understand. Saving an extra thousand bucks is a good thing, no matter how you slice it.
However, using discount foundation repair services isn’t the best way to save your thousand bucks.
See, here’s the thing about business: In order to cut down prices without losing profits, you also have to cut costs.
And in order to cut costs, you have to cut corners.
And that’s exactly what discounted foundation repair companies do: Offer you lower prices in exchange for lower quality work.
Take it from us: You do NOT want to cut corners when it comes to your house’s foundation.
You might save $1,000 from discounted foundation repair now, but the consequences of shoddy repair work are going to cost you much, much more in the future.
As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” And when you use discounted foundation repair services in Texas, here’s exactly what you’re paying for.
Low-Quality Foundation Repair Materials
When it comes to foundation repair materials, the price is directly proportional to quality. In order to price their services the way they do, discount foundation repair services have to use the cheapest — though not necessarily the best — materials.
And you know where they get those materials? State and federal highway concrete test houses typically hand out low-quality concrete pour samples, which are leftovers from highway construction projects.
Yes, you read that right: Leftovers. Can you imagine living in a house with a base made of leftovers?
Luckily, there’s a way to check the quality of your pier component. If the 12-inch cylinder doesn’t have a hole in the center, that’s a dead giveaway that the pier is made from sample materials. Make sure you inspect the pressed concrete pier before signing the contract and be present during installation.
At Granite Foundation Repair, we buy from reputable manufacturers who have submitted representative concrete cylinder pier samples to an independent test house.
Speaking of piers, discounted foundation repair companies will claim that installing fewer piers will save you money. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, the Foundation Repair Association specifically states that, for residential construction, concrete cylinder placement along exterior walls must comply with the following standards.
- Single story brick veneer house shall have piers spaced no more than 8 feet apart.
- Two story brick veneer house shall have piers spaced no more than 6 feet apart.
- When a porch, patio or dormer extends more than 3 feet, there shall be a pier/piling at each inside corner, each outside corner, and with separations not to exceed 6 or 8 feet as defined above.
- Where a wall changes direction, a pier or piling shall be placed at each corner.
- Interior pier spacing is 8 feet on a single story and 7 feet on two-story buildings.
There’s a lot more where these specifications come from, but you get the idea.
So if you receive discount foundation repair plans, be sure to do your homework. Ask each company about the logic behind its pier placement.
We’re by no means suggesting that every house exterior and interior needs to be wrapped with piers. But we want you to know that contractors usually cut costs by cutting out much-needed piers.
Short Drive Piers/Pilings
Another way budget foundation repair companies save money is by using concrete cylinders to drive short pilings in clay soil. Typically, they drive the piers to depths of 3-5 feet and add steel shims to remedy sinking piers. This works for lifting the house, but not for providing stability beyond a couple of years.
If you want a foundation that’ll last for a long time, you need a company that cares about providing maximum depth for maximum stability. Specifically, you want a company that follows these best practices for installing pilings.
- Water injection. At Granite Foundation Repair, we typically hydrate dry clay soil in 3-5 spots per pier using high-pressure water injection.
- Slow, steady hydraulic driving. A patient installation crew member can achieve 2-5 more feet of depth by using a slow push.
- Not taking breaks. When the drive of a single piling is interrupted for more than about 20 minutes, the force to resume the drive increases exponentially with time. During a drive, a cone of soil occurs at the end of the concrete pier. When the drive stops, the cone disappears. Resuming the drive means overcoming the forces of flat clay resistance. Also, during a continuous drive, clay particles slip past the porous concrete. Stop the drive and the clay sticks to the cylinder.
Good stable foundation repair is as much about the process as it is about the base material. Discount foundation repair services are all about taking shortcuts to save the installer money. In the long run, you (as a homeowner) may have a lot more problems as a result of deeply discounted foundation repair.
Labor is a major component of foundation repair costs. Discount foundation repair companies reduce the cost of labor by using semi-skilled and even unskilled contract labor. Day laborers can save a lot of money, and with any luck, they won’t damage much of your property.
Contract labor typically saves upwards of 20%. In the long run, the contractor may experience a high warranty claim rate, but will he even be around when you need him?
Granite Foundation Repair doesn’t use day laborers because they aren’t attuned to proper installation processes. Those who work on foundation repairs need to be knowledgeable about prescribed installation processes, which take time and training to learn.
Keep in mind that, in the foundation repair industry, employers aren’t obligated to insure their workers against on-the-job accidents. In other words, if anything happens to a worker while they’re making repairs to your house, you could be held liable for the accident. And if your contractor doesn’t offer liability or workers’ compensation insurance (as is the case with budget foundation repair companies), you could be looking at thousands of dollars per occurrence.
At Granite Foundation Repair, we carry a liability insurance of $1,000,000 to cover unforeseen occurrences. We’re also a member of the Foundation Repair Association, which means that we’re required to offer both liability and workers’ compensation insurance.