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Drought could cause foundation problems

clock July 31, 2013 06:50 by author
Droughts in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are causing foundation problems for homeowners.

 

 

 

According to the US Drought Monitor, much of the Midwest is experiencing a drought. From Texas and Oklahoma to Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska about 30 percent is in an extreme drought situation. This is on the heels of a several drought condition for the past three years.

 When soil becomes too dry, foundations can settle or sink in to the soil. As the soils expand and then shrink, it leaves cracks in the yard around your home. The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers looking for foundation repair services to take the time to find a professional to avoid a major shift in their finances.

 According to Earth Contact Products, July, August and September is when cracks in the soil often appear. During times of excessive moisture changes you must inspect your foundation and note movement signs that signal a problem. Not all problems are disastrous; they may be a signal of something that can be corrected, and if caught early they can be easily remedied.

 

 BBB and ECP recommends the following tips for consumers in need of foundation repair services:

Check your coverage. Some homeowner’s policies will cover foundation repair, so check with your insurance coverage prior to signing a repair contract.

Do your homework. Check with BBB at bbb.org or through BBB’s free mobile app before choosing a contractor. Get referrals from friends and neighbors.

Request an on-site inspection. So that you can be given an accurate estimate, have the company come to your house to inspect the damage.

Hire a Professional Engineer to identify damage and provide a course of action.

Beware of red flags. High pressure sales tactics, full upfront payment or comparatively low estimates that may potentially increase before job end, are all red flags to look out for.

 Ask about warranties. Most businesses will offer information about how they plan to handle any repairs covered under a warranty. A manufactures product warranty and a workmanship warranty should be included with quality foundation repair contractors.

 Review your contract. Be sure to read, understand, and agree with everything listed in your contract. Do not sign a contract that has blank lines or items you don’t agree with.

 



New Homes Sales on the Rise

clock July 25, 2013 09:04 by author
New construction homes are growing at a fast pace in the last five years.

According to the NAHB sales of newly built, single-family homes surged 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 497,000 units in June, their fastest pace in the last five years, according to data released today by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
“New-home buyers are returning to the market in larger numbers as firming prices, shrinking inventories of homes for sale and improving local economies convince them that now is the time to make their move,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Meanwhile, the very low supply of new homes on the market is indicative of the difficulty that builders are having in keeping up with demand due to availability issues with regard to materials, credit, labor and lots for development.”
 
“The takeaway from this report is that the housing recovery is solidly on track and isn’t going to be derailed by slightly higher mortgage rates,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “After years of fence-sitting, buyers are back and are ready to move forward with an investment in homeownership.” Looking ahead, he said he anticipates further, though more incremental gains in sales through the end of this year.
 
Three out of four regions saw solid gains in new-home sales activity in June, with the Northeast, South and West posting increases of 18.5 percent, 10.9 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively. 
 
The inventory of new homes for sale declined to 161,000 units in June, marking a razor-thin, 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace. The months’ supply of homes for sale has not fallen below this level since March of 2004.  



Summer heat keeping foundation repair companies busy

clock July 16, 2013 04:26 by author
Hot weather conditions cause dry soil to pull away from the home's foundation. This leads to settlement issues and cracking due to the lack of soil moisture.

 

In a recent online article by Andrew Chung of KVUE he described how the start of hot weather brings on foundation problems for many homeowners in Texas and throughout the Midwest. It’s a cycle of weather that all homeowners must deal with as the soil dries out and their homes start settling.

In Pflugerville, Texas workers stabilized the foundation of Debby Krueger’s home by installing piers and lifting a section of her home. Inside her home, a crack on her bedroom wall is evidence of a foundation issue. 

Krueger says she's one of the luckier homeowners. Her foundation problems are minor compared to others.  "My doors - you can see there was a little bit of change at the doors, but I've never had 'em stick - but my neighbors did,” she said.

Mrs. Krueger, like many homeowners is getting ready to sell her home.  "They kind of said on a level that my house is not that bad, but because of people wanting to get loans for houses, you know, you have to be sure that you have that fixed,” she explained.

Enrique Comparan is a co-owner of the Foundation Repair Company working on her home. He said the front of Krueger's home was fine but the rear had to be supported.  "If you put it on (a scale)1 to 10 in her case, we're talking about like 3, 4, you know...she's taking care of her issue on an early, early time, which is good," he explained. By taking care of the problem in the early stages homeowners can save money compared to waiting and having more structural damage occur.

Foundation repair contractors in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri are getting more calls during the summer months to repair foundation problems.  Once the temperature starts moving upward the soils dry out and homes sink. As the temperature reaches 100 degrees the soil loses moisture very quickly and homeowners see cracking and settling issues arise.

Comparan said when some homeowners start seeing problems, they tend to water the ground next to the foundation, which isn't a good idea.  "What they'll do is they'll crank out the soaker hose for a few hours every day until the house basically heaves slightly, and closes the crack or makes that door work properly again, and then they think they solved the problem." He said that's when they stop watering on a regular basis - and the problem just comes right back.

After the workers put in high quality piering systems, most recommend customers not use soaker hoses to water their foundations. Simon Wallace, who is the owner of Quality Foundation Repair, agrees soaker hoses are not the way to go.  "The soaker hose is like a band-aid.  It's not really repairing the actual problem with the home," he said.

To keep your house from deteriorating to this point, experts recommend you maintain healthy landscaping that comes right up to the foundation - and water that landscaping regularly - within your city's rules.

"We actually recommend putting in a moisture barrier around the perimeter to stop the sun baking that soil around the perimeter of the slab, and that will control the moisture level and keep the foundation stable," said Wallace.  He also said it’s a good idea to make sure your home’s gutter system directs water away from the foundation.

The summer heat is keeping foundation repair companies busy, but once they're done with their work, they provide a warranty to prevent that sinking feeling.

 

Foundation of article provided by Andrew Chung http://www.kvue.com/news/Drought-keeping-foundation-repair-companies-busy-215462051.html



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