Somewhere out there is a home built in the 80s and there were no foundation issues when you buy it nearly three decades later. You’re thinking, “This home has been standing for 27 years, what could go wrong at this point that hasn’t already?”
Unfortunately for Rosa, she began to see and feel some signs of foundation settlement in her home several years after living there. What happened and how did it get resolved? I just know you are dying to know how this gripping foundation repair saga worked out.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we helped Rosa to get her home repaired as we have thousands of other homeowners here in the Brazos Valley area. Serving the community since 1985, we have *seen it all* when it comes to foundation problems and foundation repair around these parts.
We’ve searched the internet and there’s not much info out there about foundation repair for homes on a sloping lot. We thought that Rosa’s story was a good one to share so that if you too have a home on a slope, you can see what kinds of things can potentially go wrong and how to address them.
Home and Sloped Lot Description
Rosa bought her one-story 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in 2009. The footprint of the home is a simple rectangle just under 1,300 square feet with no protruding irregularities in the shape. The right side of the home has all the bedrooms and bathrooms, while the left side has the living and dining spaces, kitchen, and a garage capping off the far left side of the home.
There is a sizable back deck coming off of the dining area through french doors. The entire lot slopes from the front left to the back right of the property. The home was built in 1982 and there were no foundation issues noted with the house at the time of purchase.
What Foundation Problem Signs Came Up
In 2017, eight years after buying the home and 35 years after the home was built, Rosa noticed some cracks in the drywall in her master bedroom. These were diagonal cracks coming off of a window and a door frame. They didn’t bother her much because they were just in her bedroom. She said, “It was not a big concern at the time, just looked bad.”
She also first noticed that the bathroom door was not closing completely between her room and the master bath. Diagonal cracks in drywall and doors not closing or latching properly are both true signs of foundation problems.
The Decision to Get Foundation Repair
Rosa waited several more years as she was not too worried about the cracks in the walls and the door wasn’t a huge deal for her either. But then . . .
A toilet started not flushing right. Ack! Rosa had two separate plumbers come out and the second plumber indicated that the problem was underneath the home and could be related to a foundation issue.
This plumbing issue was not only affecting Rosa, but she also had a roommate being affected by these issues and it just couldn’t wait.
Under-slab plumbing problems are a major functionality issue that can come with foundation settlement. Sometimes it’s the plumbing problem causing the settlement and sometimes it’s the settlement causing the foundation problem. It’s usually hard to determine which came first.
Rosa was hesitant about getting this home problem handled. She said, “I did not feel the foundation issue was something I could add to my busy schedule (both time and finance). Once the plumbing issue occurred, there was no way to avoid the repairs.”
Many homeowners have hesitations or reasons to wait on getting foundation repairs, but there’s usually something that pushes them to make the decision to move forward and handle their foundation problems.
One thing that Rosa was not hesitant about was which foundation repair company to use. She asked around to people she knew in the area and got two very good recommendations endorsing Anchor Foundation Repair. She felt confident in the opinions she gathered, so she called us right away.
Getting in Touch with Anchor
To avoid games of phone tag between homeowners and our foundation repair team, our process to get a quote uses an easy-to-use online contact form that jumpstarts our ability to begin looking at your home. It includes submitting photos of your foundation concerns and an initial free-estimate phone call.
Rosa sent in her damage pictures and during her preliminary 15-minute call, she was provided with two possible repair scenarios.
- Under-slab tunneling only, to expose the drain line failure for plumbers to repair
- Raise the settled areas of the home and then tunnel to repair drain lines
Rosa then had a choice to move forward with an In-Home Assessment so an appointment was set.
Results of the In-Home Foundation Assessment
Craig then visited Rosa’s home to conduct a formal foundation inspection, offer a specific repair plan tailored to the needs of the home, and a contracted price for repairs.
Craig’s assessment determined that the back right corner of the home was settled down approximately two inches from its original elevation. This is the corner of the house in the direction of and under the most significantly sloped part of the property.
The back left corner of the home was also sinking down some, but it was not affecting the finishes of the home. The kitchen sink drain was working fine as well as the drains for the laundry area on that side of the house. No doors were binding in that area and no cracks were present in the drywall.
Rosa was given options to handle the issues based on her budget, insurance, and goals for her home. She decided that raising the foundation on the corner causing the problems and then doing tunneling to repair the plumbing made the most sense for her.
Expert Analysis of the Foundation Settlement
According to Craig, the slab on the back right corner of the home was not constructed to a sufficiently resistant depth below grade for the home. This is a fancy way of saying that the foundation was not built deep enough on that side due to outdated building codes. The current code would call for deeper foundation support if the home were built today.
Resisting gravity from the slope, as well as the expansive clay soils in our area, is a tough job for a foundation. Since the slab was under-built in that quadrant of the home, it contributed to the foundation settlement happening in that corner.
These problems took a good 35 years to show themselves. A perfect example of how foundation issues develop very slowly over many years.
Since the plumbing issue was not on an exterior wall but closer to the middle of the home, the movement of the foundation could have changed the proper slope and pitch of the drain lines. This likely caused a backflow problem between the home and the city sewer lines.
It’s hard to determine *that one true cause* of a foundation issue. It’s usually many factors working together and impacting the living system that is your home. Soil, natural forces, climate, lot conditions, and home structure all contribute and play a part when things go wrong.
Paying for Foundation Repair and Using Insurance
Paying for foundation repairs is a concern for many homeowners. We have a whole article on ways to get your foundation repair project paid. Another common thought is wondering if homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of foundation repairs. Let’s see how this played out for Rosa . . .
Most foundation repairs with typical causes are not covered by homeowner’s insurance. But some insurance policies can cover foundation issues caused by a plumbing leak if you have a special rider.
More commonly, insurance policies sometimes cover plumbing leaks as well as access to the plumbing issues. So they don’t cover the foundation repair, but the plumbing issues surrounding it. This was Rosa’s case as she was, fortunately, able to get her insurance to cover part of the cost of the under-slab tunneling and the final plumbing repairs.
Rosa said it was challenging, “It took a few weeks to get the insurance to finally cover the tunneling/plumbing – very stressful. It was originally rejected. My policy does not cover foundation repair. Anchor was able to provide separate billing in order to submit to insurance.”
Rosa’s insurance did not cover the cost of the first two plumbers that came out. And if Rosa had wanted to get her drywall repaired after the foundation repair, that cost would have been extra too. We are not sure if she opted to get her wall cracks fixed later on, but it didn’t sound like she was planning on it right away.
There are a few extra costs to pay for besides your foundation repair bill, plumbing and drywall repair are two of them. We have an article that reviews what kinds of extra costs can come up during a foundation repair project for some homeowners if you want to check it out.
Rosa’s Foundation Repair Process
The foundation repair process for Rosa was longer than typical due to the Texas Snowpocalypse. Rosa had to contend with holiday breaks, bad weather, and plumbers in short supply after the freeze demand.
Rosa mentioned that Anchor provided plenty of information before the work started which helped her to feel prepared for the process. She appreciated the Buildertrend communication system that gave scheduling, work updates, and showed pictures and videos of the project’s progress.
Results of the Foundation Repair
After initially contacting Anchor Foundation Repair in November 2020, Rosa’s project was on the calendar to begin in late January/early February of 2021. In the end, the process took longer than expected as the project began on February 1st and was completed on March 22nd.
Yes, foundation repair using drilled bell-bottom piers takes time. We don’t use this method because we like how long it takes though. We use this method because we find it to be a good fit for homeowners who want the longest-lasting foundation repair they can get with their hard-earned dollars.
The total invoice from Anchor Foundation Repair was $12,165 which included the support piers as well as tunneling services. Plumbing repairs were paid separately by the homeowner to the plumbing company. Plumbing repair is not part of the scope of work of foundation repair.
Results for the Home
Rosa’s home needed 9 piers to raise the back right corner of her house, close the cracks in her bedroom walls, and restore the fit and functionality of two doors in her home. The repair team tunneled nearly 14 feet under the home to expose the plumbing failure point under the hall bath.
Then, West Plumbing came in for the under-slab plumbing repairs. After the plumbing was repaired and tested, the Anchor repair team backfilled the tunnel and filled the voids under the home created during the raising and tunneling process with mud-pumping.
Results for the Homeowner
Rosa and her roommate have working drain lines! Rosa’s doors are fitting right and the cracks are closed up making them less visible in her bedroom. Most importantly, things are back to normal for the household.
As Rosa reflected on the process, she wished she had known that foundation issues were a common problem that happens to many homeowners. Rosa said foundation repair sounded much more intimidating than it really is. She felt that getting foundation repair earlier could have prevented the plumbing problems that ended up happening.
Rosa mentioned that she found Anchor easy to work with and she felt informed about how everything was going to work. She shared that, “All of the staff were willing to help and kept communication at the forefront. They are friendly, respectful, and very considerate.” Thank you for the kind words, Rosa.
Final Review for Anchor Foundation Repair
After every Anchor Foundation Repair project, we ask for an official review from our homeowners. Here’s what Rosa shared about us on Google along with her 5-star rating and more kind words.
“Anchor Foundation came highly recommended by 2 sources. They are very professional, on schedule, and friendly. I was impressed with the amount of information that was provided throughout the project. They also coordinated with the plumbing contractor to get the project done on time. The APP [Buildertrend communication tool] allowed me to see the schedule, send messages and make payments. I was updated daily with pictures/videos on the progress. The crew was very respectful of my home and they made sure to clean up at the end of each day.”Rosa G. – Homeowner
And our reply, “Rosa, it was a joy to work with you despite the weather issues impacting our normal flow. I’m glad we got it all working again for you and look forward to helping in any way we can in the future.”
Check out more reviews from others that have kindly taken the time to share their feedback on our services on Anchor’s Google My Business Profile.
Get a Bid from Anchor Foundation Repair
Listen, foundation repair is *kind of a thing.* It takes time and patience and is a considerable investment in your home. You want the best possible outcomes for your home and we want to help you get there. Do you need help with your home on a slope or other foundation problem?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been serving Bryan, College Station, and other communities in the area like Brenham and Navasota for 35+ years. We’re not going anywhere.
We make it as easy and painless as possible for homeowners to live through their foundation repair experience, from online bid requests, to free phone estimates, to work progress photos and videos. Read up on our full customer process here.