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Hiring a Foundation Repair Contractor

Is your home sagging around the edges? Don't give up hope, call your local foundation professional for a facelift.

There's nothing like a sagging or cracked foundation to strike fear into the heart of a homeowner. Can it be fixed? Will it put a permanent dent in my property value? Don't despair; there are many methods for repairing foundations. Your first step is to call a professional foundation contractor to analyze the problem. These suggestions will prepare you to speak the industry jargon and identify the right person for the job.

A contractor will come out to your home to propose a solution and a price estimate. Be prepared for these basic mechanical buzzwords. The "footing" is a wide ribbon of concrete under the walls that provides support to the foundation. "Underpinning" is a method of supporting or raising the footing from underneath in order to keep it stationary. Other phrases include "load bearing surface" or "strata," the material or ground supporting the weight of the building.�

Whenever hiring a home improvement or repair company, including a foundation contractor, it's a good idea to ask for several references and to call them.� Ask the company if it belongs to a state or national professional trade association, and if it has liability and workmen's compensation insurance.� Place a final call to the Better Business Bureau to find out about any complaints.

Remember that some contractors only install new foundations, while others repair existing ones, so be sure to identify a repair contractor. Don't focus solely on price; pay more attention to reputation and quality of materials and workmanship. The longer a company has been operating in your area, the likelier it is to be reputable.�

Don't be surprised if different contractors suggest different ways to fix your foundation. One method to strengthen foundation walls is by installing steel piping, concrete piers or other materials in the ground. Another called "wall anchoring" involves burying a steel plate or anchor, concrete pad or other structure, then installing support rods into the foundation to buttress the basement walls. The rods are connected to the walls using plates. Beams may be used to level the house. "Mud jacking" is a method used to raise a patio or driveway slab by pumping dirt and cement underneath to "float" it to the desired level.

Don't take a final estimate until the contractor actually inspects your home and the ground conditions around it. Be skeptical of companies that give snap estimates over the phone. Get several estimates and be sure to provide each with the same information so you can evaluate them equally.

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