Foundation work is definitely not a do-it-yourself project, so it makes good sense to get at least three licensed contractors to give you a detailed proposal along with an assessment of your issues. The average inspection takes about two hours. Ron Davidson of Ram Jack Systems also offers the following advice and precautionary measures:
- Educate yourself on foundation repair methods and ask a lot of questions. Don’t make your final decision based on advertising and cheap prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t do business with a contractor that does not have their foundation repair methods evaluated by ICC-ES (International Code Council Evaluation Services). This nonprofit organization ensures that building products meet code compliance.
- In most areas of the country, a reputable contractor will have a clause for the depth of the hydraulic piling (typically 20 to 30 feet). Beyond that depth, there is usually an additional charge, ranging from $20 to $30 per foot. If a contractor has no depth clause, be cautious. It’s unlikely that the contractor would continue to operate at a loss, and would instead just stop at the depth that would guarantee a profit.
- Some foundation repair projects require removal of landscaping in the areas of the work, and the contractor typically won’t guarantee that a bush or shrub will survive after removal and replacement.
- Warranties or guarantees for foundation repair work are very important, so pay close attention to their terms. Remember that a warranty is only as good as the company that backs it. Look for a national company that can offer a warranty trust. This means that if the company goes out of business, there is a plan in place to provide follow-up service, if needed.