You’ve got two voices in your head competing for attention. One is filled with doubt about getting started on foundation repair work, saying “It’s not really necessary, is it?” The other is in a panic and thinks you should do it now before things get worse. There’s some hand-wringing either way.
And then there are the voices of your friends or family, telling you stories about foundation repair *facts* too. So you look to the internet, and that just adds to the conflicting feelings and information. Too… much… information…
Luckily, you found this article and there’s nothing wrong with information if it’s coming from a source you can trust. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we want to arm you with as much information and advice as you need to feel great about your decision to move forward with foundation repairs.
We have been repairing and inspecting foundations in the Bryan, College Station, and the greater Brazos Valley area for over 35 years and will be the first to tell you if we think that repairs can wait or not. Our motivation is to repair your foundation when YOU are ready to do it, but we have made some observations over the years about when it’s good to wait and when it’s not.
There are certainly some reasons to wait on getting your foundation repairs done, but we have noticed that there are also some good arguments not to wait that you should consider when making this decision.
- The expansive soils in our area are going to keep on being expansive.
- The home structure will weaken with every seasonal move.
- The longer the home goes without repair, the more damage can occur.
- The more damage that occurs in the home, the more it will cost to fix.
- The cost of labor and materials always seems to be going up.
Let’s explore and explain these reasons so that you can feel more confident about your decision to do foundation repair now or in the future. This article will break them down for you into 5 clear reasons so that you can decide what factors are most important in your case.
1. The expansive soils in our area are going to keep on being expansive.
The Brazos Valley area sits on expansive clay soils that expand when it’s wet and contract when it’s dry – it’s an absolute fact. Short of moving to another state or 2 hours west of the Brazos Valley where they don’t have these soil conditions, there’s just no getting around it.
When it rains the soil expands and pushes up on things like your house. Then, when it’s hot and dry in the summer *everyone’s favorite thing* the soil shrinks and pulls away from the home. All this annual up and down movement is what causes foundations to slope, crack, and/or settle i.e. drop down to lower than the original position.
This isn’t to say that homes won’t eventually settle into place and stop moving once they find that “sweet spot”; but usually homes will get worse before they get better. You also never know when any final settling is going to happen and they don’t sell “future foundation behavior predictor” machines yet.
Our soil type isn’t going to miraculously change behavior, so it stands to reason that your home is going to keep bobbing up and down on these expansive clay soils like a fishing float on the surface of the water (okay, not literally).
The soil will continue to make things worse over time unless you do something to change or resist these conditions.
*Enter Foundation Repair Stage Left – smiling, waving: the crowd cheers* The first reason to not wait on doing foundation repairs is that the soil isn’t going to be different for you. It’s up to you to make your foundation different and better able to withstand seasonal changes by getting that foundation repair completed.
2. The home structure will weaken with every seasonal move.
Every time your house moves up and down with the changing expansive soils, things will weaken just a little bit more. It’s kind of like bending a paper clip over and over again. The more you bend it back and forth, the weaker and more misshapen it gets until it finally breaks.
Your foundation is a bit like that paper clip and could finally crack (if it hasn’t already) and then it starts to affect the rest of the home structure. You start seeing cracks in your sheetrock or exterior brickwork, doors start sticking or swinging open, trim starts separating, or plumbing lines start being affected.
The structure of your home was probably just fine when it was built, but imagine what happens when forces are pushing against it over and over. The more this happens, the weaker things become and everything is more susceptible to further problems. The home structure will continue to weaken the longer you wait for foundation repair.
3. The longer the home goes without repair, the more damage can occur.
As mentioned above, you start seeing different and more extensive symptoms of foundation issues as time goes by. Drywall cracks, floor tiles crack, grout lines crack between the tile, or plumbing drain lines are pulled out of working order. This collateral damage might need more repair work even after a foundation repair job has been completed. The more time that goes by, the more extensive damage becomes.
Small cracks that could have been patched have now become big cracks that need full repair. Minor grout line cracks turn into extensive tile work. Doors were cut to make them close and now they are out of place again and you need to replace the whole door.
Now, you’ve got to get someone to come patch and re-paint your walls, possibly fix flooring issues, or plumbing repairs which are not part of the scope of work of the foundation repair contractor. The more time that goes by, the greater the foundation issue begins to cause damage to other “home parts.”
The more time that goes by without foundation repair, damage to your home will continue and the more severe it will become.
4. The more damage that occurs in the home, the more it will cost to fix.
As different systems become further damaged, more things will need to be fixed in the end to bring your home back into full working order and appearance. The more severe the damage, the higher the cost will be to repair or full replacements might be needed.
The foundation repair company will correct some of them, but any repairs not covered under the realm of foundation repair will need other contractors to come in and complete the work.
Every contractor will have a bill that needs to be paid and the costs can continue to add up on top of the invoice for foundation repair.
The worse the damage becomes in your home, the more you will have to spend to get it fixed along with getting the foundation repaired.
5. The cost of labor and materials always seems to be going up.
Labor costs go up each year, this just seems to be the way things are going these days. When was the last time you heard of wages going down in any industry? *Um, never* Long term construction cost inflation is normally about double the consumer price index (CPI), referenced from Construction Inflation 2020 by Ed Zarenski.
Material prices and the cost of goods follow suit and generally rise over time as well. The construction industry often experiences shortages and the law of supply and demand drives prices up.
“I certainly know and have observed first hand the inflationary increases in all consumer goods but especially in the construction industry in many areas like BCS. The cost of goods and services continues to rise. There are shortages in materials as well as in skilled, trustworthy labor. This results in overall cost increases at a higher rate than the price of a gallon of milk.”Craig Tripp – Anchor Foundation Repair President, CEO, Owner, Foundation Repair Extraordinaire
Take the time to decide what is right for your home’s foundation.
We’ve given you a list of reasons not to wait to get started on foundation repair. But no one is trying to scare you into acting immediately because your house is about the fall down. It’s not that dramatic and it’s not an emergency.
There is rarely such a thing as a catastrophic loss in the business of home foundations. Most homes in the Bryan, College Station, and greater Brazos Valley area that are properly built according to code will not suffer a total failure and be ready for tear down any time soon or during the time it takes you to act on your foundation repair needs.
In other words, we can assure you that most foundation repair issues are not emergencies. These problems have taken many years to form, so it’s okay to wait for a bit in most cases.
Much like a cavity that needs to be filled at the dentist, it’s something that needs to be done, but not much will change about the situation if you want to take some time to decide what is right for you.
Just take into consideration the reasons listed in this article and think about acting sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more damage to your home is likely to occur and costs get higher.
Do you want expert information about your foundation?
Maybe you are not sure if what you are seeing are true signs and symptoms of a foundation problem? If you would like some help and feedback in deciding when and what you should do about your foundation issues, that’s where Anchor Foundation Repair can help.
We have been serving the community’s foundation repair needs for two generations and inspected thousands of homes in the Brazos Valley.
We can talk you through the pros, cons, and considerations for your particular situation during an In-Home Assessment as part of our process to get you a quote.
Once you receive a formal proposal, you are still in charge and will ultimately be the one to decide when to pull the trigger and get started on your foundation repair.