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  • #16
    Re: How to find a good contractor?

    NOT a builder or carpenter here (plumber), but that does sound odd.
    I'm with you, I'd have thought the sill rests on the foundation for support.
    Sounds like another opinion's in order.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: How to find a good contractor?

      Originally posted by ellie View Post
      Sorry to bump an old thread but I have a new question. I was finally able to get someone to come out and look at the foundation of my house. (thanks for all the tips!)

      He told me that the problem is that I'm missing part of my sill plate and that's causing pressure to be put on the front corner where there is a sill plate. He said he'd need to jack up my house and put in a sill plate there in order for the concrete to stop shifting. The part where the sill plate is missing runs parallel to the floor joists.

      My question is - does this sound right to you guys? I never thought a sill plate had a structural significance...
      Sill plate is bolted to the top of your basement wall, then the floor joists running perpendicular and are tied into the sill plate except for the two ends which run parallel with their wall, but are also fastened down, which in turns supports the upper part of your basement wall. A sill plate runs continuously around your basement walls, where the lumber ends, the next one butts up to it, all ends are fastened down, so there should be no gap, other than from shrinkage, which won't be much. Why would a sill plate be missing, is it rotted out,??? Thats the only time I have ever seen a sill plate not being there, is from rot, but in all actuality the sill plate was there. Did you ask the contractor, why would the sill plate be missing???

      I'm glad to hear, someone finally showed up for you, but never just have one contractor look at your situation. You should have at least 3 contractors look at it. I know your having a tough time, but you really should get 3 of them.

      There could be pressure from the ground pushing your wall in now, if indeed your sill plate was missing. Run a straight bar on your wall and see if this bar will teeter totter. If it does, your wall is bowing in, this will need to be corrected. Once your wall is being pushed in, you need to release that extra pressure and fix/reinforce the wall in that area. I can go on and on, but get some more contractors there to take a look at it.

      Ummm, missing sill plate.... Not cool.

      How long have you owned your house? You maybe entitled for the damages from previous owners and the building inspector should have seen this during the sale, unless covered up/hidden... Or did you have your home built, then there should be a 10 yr warranty....
      Last edited by garager; 02-26-2008, 07:20 PM.
      Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

      http://www.contractorspub.com

      A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: How to find a good contractor?

        Originally posted by ellie View Post
        Thanks for the replies!

        Sandy - I'm all for doing the work myself when I can (see all my calluses and nubby fingernails in the pics? ), but with something structural, I want to make sure it's done right.

        Josh - the crack doesn't appear to be growing any more. I've been watching it since I first saw it in April '07. The tree (I was told the tree caused the crack) was removed in November '07 and doesn't appear to be growing since then. That's a great idea about having an engineer out. That way I can feel confident and not worry about it at night!

        Batman - I have no idea why I didn't think of that myself!! My husband's aunt is a clerk for my town's housing authority!
        Ellie, if you're pretty sure the crack is not growing and you check the wall as Garager suggested, why not get a good Mason to just repair the crack? I've repaired a similar crack by using a chisel to undercut a V groove on both exposed edges. I then sprayed some bonding agent down the crack and filled with a strong mix which I troweled smooth. The repair held. Bottom line if the crack is not growing and there is no structural risk it's not a complicated fix. P.S. that guys deserves to get his *** beat for not manning up and harassing you.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: How to find a good contractor?

          Your foundation doesnt look that old from the looks of the type of ties they used.
          That crack doesnt look that bad and it can be fixed somewhat easy. Basically, the contractor runs a crack chaser down the crack, then cleans it out. Next they inject a concrete epoxy into the crack.

          As far as the missing sill plate, I have a hard time believing thats the cause. Concrete foundations are WAY over built for the building thats put on them. Bad soil and water will trash them but not weight and buildings. Chances are that when they backfilled the foundation they didnt wait 30 days (no one ever does). When they backfill they compact (or try to) the soil before the concrete is cured. Its likely they put a small fracture in the foundation and the tree and water helped opened it up.

          If the crack has stabilized, use the epoxy. Its the cheapest, easiest, water tight, and the epoxy is as strong if not stronger than the concrete.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: How to find a good contractor?

            The guy told me that he believed the house was lifted, the old foundation removed and the concrete foundation poured under the house - then the house was set back down on the new concrete. I called the township to ask what kind of history they have on the house and they only have records back to 1999. I bought the house in 1999, so that doesn't help I've been told by others that it's very rare for a house as old as mine (1950's) to have a poured concrete foundation, so that may be what happened with my house. The sill plate may have been removed at that time, if that's what happened. There's literally just a piece, about 10 feet long, that's MIA. Here's a bad drawing:
            I don't think there's rot down there, but the wood's very old. When I had the house inspected at the time of purchase, the inspector said that he doesn't see joists that size very often and he suspected that the house is very old. The only date we have for the house is from the date inside of the toilet (1956) and some signatures found inside the walls (1951).

            Is it very important to have the sill plate reinstalled? The guy said that it would be very costly to do so. I don't know what to make of him though... he also told me that the epoxy for the crack that he would use comes in two tubes, like caulk tubes, and costs $200 per tube. Oh, and he asked me if I had a man living with me too.

            Thanks for the sympathy Frankiarmz. I would've loved for the tree guy to be put in his place. I hate when people bully those weaker than them. I feel worse for my husband though... it made him nuts that this guy was doing that while he was half way around the world. Fortunately, I wasn't totally defenseless. Here's my secret weapon Every gal needs a radioactive german shepherd!

            Some good news has come of all this... I got the "ok" from my husband to get a structural engineer out to survey the house and write up a plan. It's going to cost $500 for the first time he comes out and $200 for him to come back out after the work's done for his stamp of approval.

            Have any of you ever worked with an engineer's recommendations like that? I don't want to insult any contract who comes out, but I want to be able to know the work that's being done is the right thing. What do you think of going this route?

            Thank you all for your responses. I know this is just an online forum, but you taking the time reading this and giving me advice really means a lot to me. You guys are the BEST
            Last edited by ellie; 03-14-2008, 07:37 AM.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: How to find a good contractor?

              Now your on the right track, your Structural Engineer should correspond with your GC, before work evens begins. It shouldn't take them more then an hour to go over what needs to be done and how it should be done.

              Missing sill plate is extremely rare, one which I have never ran into other then from rot. The sill plate does need to be there. So far good job on how your going about this. Like I said, you would want 3 estimates for your situation. Do not always go to the lowest bidder, use the one who is the best in knowledge and experience. Researching and references will determine who you want for your job. Good Luck......Mark

              PS. Love the dog and his glowing eyes.......
              Last edited by garager; 02-27-2008, 08:57 AM.
              Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

              http://www.contractorspub.com

              A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: How to find a good contractor?

                Originally posted by ellie View Post
                The guy told me that he believed the house was lifted, the old foundation removed and the concrete foundation poured under the house - then the house was set back down on the new concrete. I called the township to ask what kind of history they have on the house and they only have records back to 1999. I bought the house in 1999, so that doesn't help I've been told by others that it's very rare for a house as old as mine (1950's) to have a poured concrete foundation, so that may be what happened with my house.


                I don't know what to make of him though... he also told me that the epoxy for the crack that he would use comes in two tubes, like caulk tubes, and costs $200 per tube. Oh, and he asked me if I had a man living with me too.



                Some good news has come of all this... I got the "ok" from my husband to get a structural engineer out to survey the house and write up a plan. It's going to cost $500 for the first time he comes out and $200 for him to come back out after the work's done for his stamp of approval.

                Have any of you ever worked with an engineer's recommendations like that? I don't want to insult any contract who comes out, but I want to be able to know the work that's being done is the right thing. What do you think of going this route?

                Thank you all for your responses. I know this is just an online forum, but you taking the time reading this and giving me advice really means a lot to me. You guys are the BEST

                First, If your house was built in the 50s, then yes, your house was lifted and the new foundation was poured. Ive done this before and while it is a big job, its not as bad as it sounds. Your foundation was poured using a gates type foundation form, wall ties and a type of camlock. This system hasnt been around all that long.

                Second, The epoxy is expensive and he's not far off. The trick is, they make a lot of different concrete epoxys that come in two different tubes. Make sure the contractor knows what type to get and how to aply it. You cant get this type of epoxy just anywhere and you cant just put it on, you have to inject it.

                Third, Ive worked with a lot of engineers, the price you were quoted seems about standard. Most engineers will over build and they used a standard, proven, one size fits all fix. While over building is not a bad thing and it wont affect his price, it can make the contractors price go higher than what it needs to be, sometimes but not always. The good thing about having an engineer is that you know it will be fixed to last and with his stamp, he will be responsible for making it so. Meaning if the contractor doesnt build it to plan, the contractor will have to do it again untill they get it right, on their dime not yours.

                I would have the engineer come out first and make a drawing, then your contractors. That way the bids you will get will be to do the same job and then you can compare apples to apples. You can also ask the engineer if he knows a good contractor or if he has worked with the contractor you have chosen.

                Fourth, what the heck is he doing asking you a question if a man lives with you. Get rid of that guy.

                Good luck!!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: How to find a good contractor?

                  I never would've guessed that in a million years! Thanks for all your input. I'll let you know what the engineer says. He's coming out on the 11th. I'm actually a bit excited about getting this fixed. It's been bugging me for a while! I guess I should start the paperwork to get a HELOC to pay for this thing... :P

                  Mr.Concrete - The guy seemed good at the time. He picked it out right away (when my home inspector didn't even say a peep about the foundation) and was very nice. That comment just came from no where! I was trying to give him the benefit of a doubt and guess that he meant to ask if I had someone to help out with projects around the house. He's probably "old school" and didn't realize that all the tools in the basement are mine :P

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: How to find a good contractor?

                    Ellie ....

                    I've just joined this forum but the foundation crack problem is old hat to me.

                    In NE Tx where there are practically NO basements and the predomimance of houses constructed since the 50s are slabs. The foundation crack is highly prevelant. Now this area in Tx where this is a difficulty is about the size of five or six of your state, so it is a large problem ... <gggggg>

                    In the rural small town where I live *(pop 25k) there are at least 4 companies that specialize in ONLY foundation repair.

                    Within sight from my front door every home that is within view has been pumped/jacked/leveled and repaired in the past two decades. I eliminated this for my house by doing all the dirt work and leveling the dirt pad and then watering every day for a year before the slab was poured.

                    I raised the pad level around four feet from street level, so it took a whole bunch of dumptruck loads and a bunch of water ... but I have had very little settling problem in the nearly thirty years since.

                    You have said you don't think the crack is growing.

                    Down here a half inch crack is not even worthwhile to think about fixing, especially if it was caused by tree roots. My experience is that the roots will rot within five years and the area which was raised will drop back down around thirty percent ... meaning the crack will diminish at least somewhat over that span of time.

                    I have no insight as to NJ soil and foundation cracks but were it me, I'd not worry about it at all. OK ... you're gonna worry but I don't think you need to worry about this problem .... <gggg>

                    In my opinion, based on your pictures there is no foundation weakness. I'll bet the rebar/mesh has not been compromised by that small a crack.

                    However, the crack DOES need to be filled. As was mentioned in a previous post a crack chaser to enlarge the rift and insertion of a concrete epoxy will solve the problem of the crack itself as to non structural problem.

                    You seem to be pretty self reliant and handy with tools ..... you can do the job yourself for well under a hundred bucks and there should be no advancement of any potential problems until your husband returns from overseas. ..... and on that subject, you BOTH have my gratitude and thanks for the service to our country.

                    Normally I'd not think about giving advice on a board so soon after joining but your plight has brought me out of further lurking ... mostly due to the deployment of your husband being a large worry and bringing about the expenditure of $500 to the engineer.

                    In NE Tx this would be NO problem .. crack is waaaaaaaay to small to cause foundation structure difficulty ... cosmetic, yes ... structure no.

                    Again, NJ is way far away from me ... as well as local customs, knowledge, etc....... down here a wife in your situation would only have to go to one of the several lumber yards, as the owner or manager for some help and he'd have a couple of competent guys in the concrete business who were his customers come out and take a FREE look ..... and probably get them out there within a couple of days.

                    Good luck to you and, again, thanks for yours and your husbands service to our country.

                    Win

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: How to find a good contractor?

                      After reading all the post,The one thing that didn't get mentioned,That i seem to remember doing,
                      is drill a hole at the end of the crack.
                      1. to stop it from growing.
                      2 relive the pressure
                      3 I did a repair like this,and that was the first thing i had to do.It was many years ago.And I was the rookie.
                      good luck

                      But i could be wrong.
                      If you choose not to decide,you still have made a choice.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: How to find a good contractor?

                        Originally posted by rockinrandy View Post
                        After reading all the post,The one thing that didn't get mentioned,That i seem to remember doing,
                        is drill a hole at the end of the crack.
                        1. to stop it from growing.
                        2 relive the pressure
                        3 I did a repair like this,and that was the first thing i had to do.It was many years ago.And I was the rookie.
                        good luck

                        But i could be wrong.
                        I do that when I make stair stringers, where the run meets the riser. It works, stops the lumber from cracking, so my guess the same concept should apply here possibly, makes sense to me.......
                        Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                        http://www.contractorspub.com

                        A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: How to find a good contractor?

                          Yes to the hole question. It's just like getting ready to do a weld repair on cast iron. You drill a hole at the end of the crack to keep the crack from growning by relieving it.
                          Jim Don

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: How to find a good contractor?

                            Hello everyone!
                            The report from the structural engineer is in!

                            He said that I need 4 piers. He said it's not very bad but it would need to be fixed eventually. He said the house settled unevenly because of the soil here. My poor beautiful oak tree had nothing to do with it He also confirmed that the foundation is, at most, 20 years old - but likely younger than that. The rest of it looks good and things that I thought were serious cracks are actually from things like incorrectly hung sheet rock and poor window installation.

                            Do any of you have experience with Ram Jack or other piering systems that you could recommend? I'm guessing I'll be looking at spending around $8,000. Is this something that homeowners would cover or is this an out of pocket thing usually?

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: How to find a good contractor?

                              Originally posted by garager View Post
                              There could be pressure from the ground pushing your wall in now


                              Did the guy reference anyone to you? Get the professional to correct your problem, you will sleep a whole lot better. Sounds to me like it wasn't back filled against the house properly. So theres more then likely clay involved and that should be taken out of there...

                              Once again your just to far away, for any of us to really help you out, other then guess at whats going on. But you are handling your problem quite well and to you.

                              Find that right contractor there and get it taken care of, spring rain is coming up, and you don't need water in your basement. Good job .......
                              Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                              http://www.contractorspub.com

                              A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: How to find a good contractor?

                                Originally posted by garager View Post


                                Did the guy reference anyone to you? Get the professional to correct your problem, you will sleep a whole lot better. Sounds to me like it wasn't back filled against the house properly. So theres more then likely clay involved and that should be taken out of there...

                                Once again your just to far away, for any of us to really help you out, other then guess at whats going on. But you are handling your problem quite well and to you.

                                Find that right contractor there and get it taken care of, spring rain is coming up, and you don't need water in your basement. Good job .......
                                +1

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