The Risks of Delaying Foundation Repair

foundation repair kansas city
Hello, and welcome to the real estate industry leaders podcast. I’m your host, John Lindquist. And with me today, I have Eric Sheele and Eric Lancaster. And we’re going to be talking about the different sorts of problems that you can have if you wait on foundation repair. And so with problems that you can have with your foundation, it comes in stages of severity. Is that correct?
Eric Scheele: Absolutely. John Lindquist: So if we start at the least severe problem that you could allow to become bigger, where would we start for that? What’s the first sign that you need to jump on this and get a foundation repair? Eric Scheele: Yeah. And I think what we can do for this conversation, because this is great for homeowners and realtors. Let’s take it from a water perspective as well as a structural perspective. So we see both obviously. Eric is our structural consultant for foundation repair, one of our structural consultants in KC pier glad to have you in the studio… Erik Lancaster: Thank you. Eric Scheele: And chatting with us today on risks of delaying foundation repair. And of course we’re coming up on our winter months. And so we start to schedule and talk to our real estate offices throughout the winter months. And this is something that we do talk about a lot is levels of severity from foundation repair 101, all the way to the advanced and most severe cases. And what we’re going to try to tie in today is the financial piece that goes along with that. And what are some solutions that are out there for the minor, all the way up to the most severe. So let’s start with water specifically. If you could walk us through Eric, some of the least expensive, most minor things that we see that normal homeowners and even our realtors will see in the house and then how can that progress if homeowners tend to ignore them for whatever reason.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Erik Lancaster: Yeah. So when there is water coming in, there is hydrostatic pressure. That’s, what’s pushing this water against the home in the first place that’s what’s causing these cracks along with the expansive clay. So the least thing that we deal with on a regular basis would be probably a vertical crack maybe it’s around the foundation seam itself where those kind of came together, water has kind of blown through there and it’s creating some staining. Maybe your basement’s finished, you see some staining on the sheet rock, you smell some mold, something of that nature that’s alerting you to this problem, you tear into it and that’s what we find that would be a crack injection. That’s how we deal with that. That’s basically where we go in, we inject foam into that crack. We stop the water from coming in. Eric Scheele: So you’re basically addressing an issue from the inside versus digging it out and stopping it on the outside where it’s actually coming in. Erik Lancaster: Correct.

Crack Injection

John Lindquist: How long does a crack injection take a typical crack let’s say a seven foot, eight foot long crack? Erik Lancaster: Sure, absolutely. That’d be your standard basement length we could probably inject that crack in two hours. Eric Scheele: Right, you’re talking a few hundred dollars. Erik Lancaster: Yeah. Few hundred bucks. Easy, simple jumped right on it. Got it done. John Lindquist: But what happens if you don’t spend that few hundred dollars and you wait for a foundation repair? Erik Lancaster: Yeah. That’s what we’re talking about today. Right? Eric Scheele: Right. John Lindquist: Right. Erik Lancaster: So what can happen in that case is the water can obviously create damage. Say you have a finished basement, right? Let’s talk about it from… Step back from foundation repair. Right. But what else can cost you money Sheetrock. You let that crack leak for a long time. It’s going to create mold in your insulation and your Sheetrock. You’re going to have to tear a lot of different things out that you wouldn’t have had to do had you just noticed that right away and got on it. From a foundational standpoint, water pouring in and more pressure on that wall will continue to crack the wall. So you got the wall moving in, you got further water infiltration if you don’t handle that right away. Eric Scheele: And if it is not handled, let’s say it continues to pressurize that wall, what are the next stages of what… At least what you see on a day to day with cracks as they advance? Erik Lancaster: Sure, absolutely. So say you have that first crack that’s coming in, that you don’t address with a foundation repair. Normally you’re going to get a split off of that crack. So then you got more of your wall that’s being affected there. That is just going to translate all the way down, whatever wall we’re working on. When that happens, you’re going to obviously get a lot more water infiltration. So then most likely, as far as water is concerned, you’ve transferred from a quick easy couple hour, few hundred dollar crack injection to what we call our KC pier interior drain system. That system has to be in place when there’s more water, because it handles that extra water load that is occurring with that wall. Eric Scheele: So what’s involved. How does it work?

Interior Drain System

Erik Lancaster: Okay. So the KC pier interior drain system, we actually remove a section of the concrete slab along the effected wall. We dig down six to eight inches. We install a four inch pipe in there then because your wall is no doubt at this point, if we’re using the system spider cracked, it’s got a lot of water coming through the wall itself, we run dura shield up the wall. What that is a four by eight sheet of mold resistant, rot resistant paneling, it’s plastic paneling. That runs up and down your wall that runs down to where we’ve placed our four inch drain pipe at. We then pour the concrete back. So any water that comes in any of those multiple cracks that you probably now have has no choice, but to run straight down into our system, which obviously runs to a sump pump and we pump that water out away from your home. Eric Scheele: So from there essentially what you’re saying is that moat, that interior drain, is capturing of the horizontal water, the water that comes in through the floor because you also have water through the floor, and then the durashield or the wall shield is capturing that vertical water. Erik Lancaster: Correct. Eric Scheele: All directed towards this drain that you’ve placed in the system pushes it to the sump pump and out? Erik Lancaster: Yes. Eric Scheele: Right. John Lindquist: It forces the water to have somewhere to go. Erik Lancaster: Right. We’re providing a path of least resistance for the water. Eric Scheele: Yeah. So we’re still addressing it from the inside. And you’ve got great video of some of these houses that we’ve done foudation repair recently where you can actually see.. And what I really like about the durashield, wall shield product and you’ve shown this in a recent video in Shawnee that it’s super clean it almost gives a real finished basement look. Some people could even use it as a finished basement look. John Lindquist: Great for man caves. Eric Scheele: Yeah. You bet you get vertical protection that way, you got horizontal protection as well. But what we’ve done on both of those solutions is we’ve addressed the issue from the interior of the home. Erik Lancaster: That’s correct. Eric Scheele: Again. And the reason we’re doing that is I assume it’s because it’s cost effective. Right? Erik Lancaster: Absolutely. Eric Scheele: Yeah. And the difference, I mean, if you’re not going to address it from the interior, you’re going to have to address it from the exterior. What do you do to address it from the exterior and how those cost differences kind of escalate? Erik Lancaster: Yeah, absolutely. One thing I want to touch upon real quick is whenever we do have just a simple crack that we inject, or even if there’s multiple cracks along the wall that we’re using the drain system for, we can still address those structurally with our interior steel wall braces, because if you’re having a wall crack in a minor sort of way, it probably has not moved in a significant amount.

Wall Braces for Foundation Repair

So our wall braces that we put up our four inch steel I-beams and they kind of address the pressure that’s pushing in on that wall. And that will couple with the injection that we do and the interior drain system with wall shield that we do. So, that’s another way that we can kind of stop that before we go outside. But if we do go outside, that means that this problem has existed for quite some time probably and it has not been addressed. So number one, you’re going to have multiple cracks on the inside like we talked about. Number two, you’re going to have that wall moving in pretty significantly, two, three, four inches minimum probably. A lot of times what you’ll see with foundation repair is the steel I-beam that supports the home, that the floor joist sits on, will pop out the side, you guys ever seen that, right? And that’ll indicate that you have that wall moving in to such an extent that we do have to dig it out. The full exterior dig out is kind of what it sounds like. We have to actually dig that entire wall out down to the footing, which is eight, 10 feet down. We have about a two and a half foot wide trench. And then at that point, we’re addressing foundation repair everything from the outside. So we’re waterproofing it with a rubber membrane on the outside of the house. We have come inside after we’ve excavated and we’ve pushed that wall back out to where it needs to be. So now the house is sitting on it, flush again, and it’s holding all that weight again. And then we’re going to backfill that whole trench outside with gravel. So we’re going to mitigate that pressure that the wall’s been feeling the whole time, new drain tile on the outside, running into a sump pump system, quite a bit more significant something you want to avoid if you can. Eric Scheele: Absolutely because foundation repair is so labor intensive. And so from the interior, we’re doing a 12 inch dig and breaking out concrete that we can easily simply get to. And then from the exterior, you’re talking about a typical exterior basement walls, an eight to nine foot wall. And so you either have to manually or use machinery to dig that deep. And then while it’s open, you have to obviously mend the issue that’s causing the water to intrude in first place. And so the cost difference is significant. Erik Lancaster: It’s up three and a half times. Eric Scheele: Three and a half times. And so we go from a simple crack of a few hundred dollars to an interior drain that is usually less than a hundred dollars a foot somewhere in there. And then you go to the exterior, which is three and a half times that. A huge progression from just simply allowing water to pressurize that wall. And so our encouragement…what we have with homeowners is they don’t cure themselves that’s the problem with water it just doesn’t go away every time it rains and it pressurizes that wall. If there’s a path of least resistance it’s going to enter the home. Erik Lancaster: Yeah. I think a lot of people, think foundation repair and you just immediately think, “Wow, that’s a lot of money.” If you just have us out there, let’s take a look. We can actually save you a lot of money by jumping on that before we hit all these different progressions, we just went through. Eric Scheele: If you think about a few hundred dollars to literally hundreds of dollars a foot to an exterior remediation. It’s amazing how different that is. We have foundation repair jobs that literally are three, four, $500, and then it can escalate up to 10, 20, 30, 40, $50,000, depending on the extent. But it all started the same way for the most part when it comes to water. Specifically when it comes to water, water does progress and water is consistent pressure that shows up seasonally, every single year. And so you ultimately need to deal with the water and so for those that in their mind think, “Hey, it’s probably too expensive.” A what you’re saying is just have us out, guess what the consultation for Eric or Brian or any of our structural consultants to show up is literally zero. Erik Lancaster: Free. Eric Scheele: It’s free.And so have a mouth to get the opinion and education as knowledge you’ll know what you’re up against versus building it up into your mind as, as something just bigger than life it’s not that way. These things are manageable. Foundation problems are solvable, but in most people it’s a black box. And so they just think the worst, worst case scenario, are you a half full or a half empty person when it comes to foundations? Most people it’s the half empty thing. They think worst case scenarios. So from a financial perspective, just to kind of educate homeowners, what are some of the alternatives, either possibilities of phasing solutions, if they’re really large issues to handle with budgets we get a lot of tax breaks and times of years where potentially there’s preferable pricing, throwing those out there or from a financing perspective, what are some options that either we have or others that are out there?

Options with KC Pier

Erik Lancaster: Yeah. With regards to the phasing, that’s a great point. KC pier one of the main things we do for our homeowners is give you options. So at the end of the day, whenever I walk out of a house, typically you’re going to have an A or B or C. What we’re doing there is we’re giving you the opportunity to jump on these things before they get worse. If you want to just go with the crack injection at the end of the day, it’s your home, that’s your decision. We want you to also know that you can do this, you can do that. So at the end of the day, we’re going to give you those options and all of those options can be done in phases. So we can always come back and do that. So that’s number one way that you can financially plan for a foundation repair. Number two is financing, We use a lot of Green Sky financing. The reason we like them is number one, they have same as cash loans. So essentially free money. 12 month, 18 month, et cetera, you jump on that that gives you the opportunity to spread out your payments across that time period with zero interest. Literally free money, what’s better than that? Green Sky has many different plans from that way up to 10 year plans at a certain percentage. So Green Sky has many different options that’s why we like to use them. They’re very easy to apply for, and they give you a quick decision and we can be on our way with that project. Eric Scheele: I really like and I want to stress upon the first thing you said, because as president of KC pier I specifically look for differentiators. What sets us apart? We service, we educate and we reach out to the public through realtor and little symposiums and educational seminars, things like that. Those are things that we’re passionate about and that we do. But the one thing that I really like that we do well is that we sit and give them the ABC option. This is great for realtors as well. Because realtors are always trying to get to the closing table and you have sellers that are selling a property who don’t necessarily want to spend, the tens of thousands dollars in a full solution, but they want to also provide a very comfortable solution to the buyers. And so by having an A, B and C, you essentially get three options, potentially, maybe more, maybe less. It just depends on the situation, but you get multiple options. And one is this will get it done. Crack injections and beams are real common in that A type of solution but at the same time if a wall is leaning in and you’re re-supporting it with beams at the same time, you could also dig that out from the exterior and push that wall back like you talked about. That would be that C option Cadillac, lifetime warranty and if you want to provide that whether it’s a real estate transaction or just home ownership, you’ll have that option. And then that B is kind of that hybrid, that mix of two. So you have that option right away to spend different levels and commit to what most likely is your largest cash investment of your lifetime, a house or you have the option to say, “Okay, well my goal is C, but maybe can we do A or B in the spring and come fall, we’ll attack the rest of, to reach us to that C spot.” You have the options. And the best part about that is your plans live in our database and so it’s there for a lifetime, the warranties that are provided for that service upfront live with KC pier, and they follow the address of the house, not the homeowner they transfer for free so they just sit there. And so having those options, I think is a really great differentiator because there’s tons of choices of foundation resolution companies in Kansas city. It’s a very competitive marketplace and we have fortunately great reviews and we reach out and do things that we think are very customer friendly. But to have those options, versus what many competitors do is just, “Hey, man I’m going to throw the kitchen sink at you.” We’re not going into names, but you’ll see them because you’ll see KC peers options, you’ll see those finances that are committed to that. And then you’re like, “Why didn’t they give me options?” Well, that’s just their business model, people have different approaches. And we tend to feel like we can live with houses for a lifetime, and we can work towards solutions and work through whatever the variables of home ownership is, whether you’re transferring it to somebody else, whether you’re living there a lifetime, whether you’re in temporarily for the next five years on a corporate lease or whatever it may be. We give those options specifically to apply the different variables that everybody kind of has as they enter a house. Erik Lancaster: And John has seen this recently, we’ve had what, I don’t know, two or three different situations recently that you’ve been out on where we have had work, that we’ve done for the homeowner… I think it was last year, we did some work for these people. And then now they contacted us back and they said, “Hey, Eric, I’m ready to go. Ready to go with phase two.” And so we’ve seen that recently. John Lindquist: We recently had a job in Belton, Missouri where it was a return customer but it was significant work that was done beforehand and on the return trip, which doesn’t have to be the case if you jump on it. But for this person it ended up being that way for one way or another, I don’t know how they came into the house or anything like that. Eric Scheele: Yeah, you bet but they made a commitment that they were going to live there a lifetime and it’s the greatest compliment I think we can have as President of KC pier, is calling us back out. You’re obviously very satisfied with the work that we did upfront so that’s fantastic. I love hearing those stories and it happens, and it happens because of many different variables. Some is financing, our finances and others are just simply because of choice. So, that’s all the waterside. We didn’t really get into the big picture items, which is the structural houses moving up and down and settling, which is really this time of year its our dry season where we’re seeing a lot of settling right now. So are there minor issues we see with settling that you can resolve and how does that progress over time to really severe issues? Erik Lancaster: Yeah. So this is definitely a big one. And I have been seeing a lot of this in the houses recently. When it comes to settlement, what you have is you have an area of your home where the footings have cracked, and that is allowing the home to then tilt. If you have poured concrete, it’s poured, it’s strong once it cracks it’s kind of free Willy it can just do whatever it wants. So with settlement, sometimes we walk in and of course, John and I have been through this on a few different podcasts as well. We take elevations, we read the home, we figure out what’s going on. If you’re in the range of say three quarters of an inch up to an inch, you probably have, minor cracks in your Sheetrock, doors and windows probably not working a little bit normal stuff. Of course, that is when you want to attack it again, just like the crack where we inject it. You want to attack it when it’s not that bad. Because number one, you’re going to save yourself a lot of repairs when it comes to your house, just Sheetrock, tile, cabinetry, whatever. If we go in and we peer that and we stop it from moving. Here’s the dangers if we don’t catch it in time if you get to where you’re three, four, five inches low in an area, you’re now going to have significant cracking in your foundation, in your Sheetrock, lots of things are going to be broke, windows can crack, et cetera. We can either lift or support a home. So when we go in with the [inaudible 00:20:39] and a lot of people want us to lift, cause you’re talking four or five inches, you drop a marble, it’s going to roll, you’re going to want that back. When we try to lift that back up. A lot of times it is not feasible to lift that much because we’re going to break a whole lot more so essentially catch it fast again it’s going to cost you a lot less. Do it later. We might not be able to lift it all the way back up at all. And you’re going to have significant more damage inside your house. John Lindquist: We were talking about earlier, how foundation repair, the damages that you see on the foundation are just the foundation side of it. We also see the damages of your finished areas of your home. So if you’re waiting significant periods of time with settling, going back and trying to do the repairs on your home, you were talking about cabinetry, flooring, walls, doors, windows, it’s even more significant at that point. Eric Scheele: It’s amplified the expense. John Lindquist: Is it salvageable? Erik Lancaster: And plumbing, if your house is falling that far you’re bound to have plumbing leaks, pipes breaking you could have flooding there’s a lot of things that can happen. John Lindquist: So really the bill gets exponential the longer you wait and who knows what that, that exponent actually is. But it’s significant enough to worry about. Eric Scheele: It amplifies. And if anyone’s curious, they can go on to our blog site and look up the job that John recently recorded out there in the Lather. If you want an extreme case of maintenance deferral, just letting it go over years and watching a house really settle. I mean, we’re talking about a job that’s 50,000 plus in terms of repair that easily could have been stabilized early in the game and would have been 10th of that potentially. Erik Lancaster: I think we maybe did every repair that we have in our book on that house. Eric Scheele: It’s a big one, there’s some great footage of it. Just to look up the Aletha house on the blog channel and our YouTube channel. And you would see it, it really can amplify. So not only are the resolutions expensive, but as John, you indicate the fixes on the interior of the home which I did want to build off of for those that are thinking about a remodel. And we see this in the investment world, as well as home ownership world. You want to fix the foundation first. If you don’t fix the foundation first and you go back and you patch cracks, and then all of a sudden you want to lift that house. I mean, those cracks are going to just open right back up. They’re not going to go away and they’re not going to solve themselves. And if you ignore the foundation and fix the cracks, many homeowners can probably relate to this they just show up again. John Lindquist: Come right back. Eric Scheele: The seasonal changes will just bring it right back. And you build a house from the foundation up and you fix and rehab a house from the foundation up as well. So for those that are considering a remodel or a rehab, or for your realtors, and you’re talking to your buyers and sellers about going through a house, it really needs to be foundation first. And what I like about what you said is you have options in terms of stabilizing the lifting sometimes you have options and those can be discussed. There’s no real additional cost to those but knowing that strategy upfront going into your project is really critical because it can save you a lot of costs in the long run through the remodel or rehab, if that’s the direction you’re going. So costs kind of pertaining to those you’re just saying essentially by catching them early, settling is expensive it really is, your average tickets are typically in the thousands. And so capturing that early can keep that in the lower end of that, because by letting it go, it can only amplify. Erik Lancaster: That’s correct. And we talked about it amplifying other things in your house. It can also amplify your foundation as well, because if you have a portion that’s hanging off, it’s acting like an anchor so odds are it’s going to pull portions of the house with it. So your peering bill is going to get higher too. Eric Scheele: If you have a corner of your house that’s falling and you’re like, “It’s just the corner of the house.” Just let it go. And see if that corner of the house is still going to be the corner of the house. That corner of the house is going to pull the rest of it with it just like you said, it’s an anchor. And so it continues to pull. And so a three peer issue over the course of delaying two or three summers can become a nine peer issue. And a nine peer issue is amplified by three times the cost. Erik Lancaster: Yeah. That’s correct. Eric Scheele: And if it gets to a 12 peer issue. We’ve had houses that are in the 30s, 40 peers when it’s a full tilt house. And it could have been resolved earlier if they would’ve just stabilized and supported that house early in the game. Erik Lancaster: Yeah, absolutely. John Lindquist: Well, whether for fear or ignorance you’ve found yourself in this situation where you have a significant foundation repair that you need to go with. And so we’ve already talked about Green Sky financing, are there any other types of financing that maybe are non-conventional specifically for foundation work? Erik Lancaster: A lot of times I tell people to check into their own lender that they have their house with. I mean, get a home equity loan and maybe Eric can speak on this more than me, but yeah, there are several different options when it comes to financing and if you need our help on that end, we’re there for you. Eric Scheele: Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s there. And you know, of course, KC property guys is there too and the Aletha house we ended up purchasing because once they heard the number and they were thinking about moving anyway. And so once they heard the number that was tied to their foundation resolution they just simply chose to work with KC property guys. We’re the ones that bear the burden of the cost. But somebody has to bear those burdens… The point is when you ignore it gets significant, but there can be options there’s in-house options. And we hear this and we never recommend it somebody’s entertaining 401k to resolve an issue. I’d never recommend that. I’d always look into something like Green Sky consumer financing company that has especially 12 months, same as cash. And they run deals throughout the year that can be extremely affordable for homeowners. And so it’s always good to ask and tell someone, like Eric or Brian or our structural consultants upfront and say, “Hey, if you have information on financing.” Definitely let them know so they can bring that information to the table and it’s very quick, it’s painless. And it’s just an option. It doesn’t cost you anything. So having an idea and a strategy and a plan, and again, talking through a consultation is much more important than just saying, “Oh, I assume this is the issue.” And just keeping that black box and thinking half emptily. So you’ll want to definitely approach the issue and just have someone come out and take a look and bring those options to the table so we can help find the best solution for them. John Lindquist: Talking about finances for foundation repair can be scary, can be awkward, especially with someone that you are having, look at issues in your home, and you’re looking to spend money with them. You don’t really want to show your hand, but in this case, showing your hand can save you all of your cards. Eric Scheele: Yeah, it really can. It’s true. We talk about this a lot. It’s no fun. It’s not fun work. It’s almost like the same thing as a roof no one really cares about a roof, but when you need it, it’s expensive and it has to happen. Foundation repair is kind of worse. It’s almost like saying, “Hey, I want to go to the car lot. I want to pick that Cadillac over there. And I want you to bury it under my house.” I mean, that’s essentially what you’re doing sometimes with some severe issues. It’s like, “I love it. Love the looks, but I don’t get to drive it. I don’t get to touch it, but it has to be done.” and so by capturing it early and talking about things up front and working those options, the ABC options, knowledge is power. We talk about that a lot, get an education and get your options up front that’ll help you strategize to you and the variables that you’re applying to your house. How long are you living there? What’s the future? What’s the next five years look like 10 years look like? We’re really good about having those conversations and working solutions that fit into your life variable. So by keeping quiet and hoping that there’s something there and make some assumptions, generally speaking, it tends not to work in your favor. Being open and transparent it really helps us because we’re doing the same thing. And I encourage it with all these guys, lay it out there for them, show them their options, educate them as to what to expect. When the production guys are in the house, show them what you’re doing step by step. We put it all on the table anyway, go to our videos. John Lindquist: Speaking of education… Eric Scheele: See what we do on a day to day basis and that’s specific, I highly encourage that from all levels, from the marketing to the production to sales, we try to educate and that’s there for a reason. And so if you’re doing that as a consumer if we’re laying it out there, we can help you strategize the best solution that fits you and your needs and your variables. Erik Lancaster: I can’t tell you how many times too speaking of education we go out and someone has made the really good decision to have us come out because they think something might be going on, “Your foundation’s fine.” sometimes that happens. I will still go through everything. I’ll still check your entire foundation. And what we will do at that point is talk about preventative measures you can take burying your downspouts, keeping positive drainage around your house, no matter what it i even if there is no work there for us at all, I will still try and educate you to prevent you from seeing me again. Eric Scheele: No, and we got that in the reviews and they’re like, “Really?” some cracks are not all bad cracks. We talk about that a lot as well with foundation repair. And some issues really aren’t foundation issues. And we don’t mind telling people because it’s all about education and helping people.

Contact KC Pier for Foundation Repair

John Lindquist: So while we’re talking about education, great place to look for education on this topic. And, and a lot of other topics relating to this is on our website, KC pier.com, looking us up on YouTube, searching us on Google. There’s a lot of information there and a great place to get an education is in a consultation. If you think there’s something wrong and you’d want to know more, just give a call, fill out the form on the website, you’re going to get a great education that way. So I think that, that’s all that I have for the both of you this time. Erik Lancaster: Sure. I appreciate it. John Lindquist: If you want to see more content like this on foundation repair, subscribe to our YouTube channel or check out our blog and until next time, we’ll see you. Eric Scheele: All right. Take care. Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us this week on the Kansas city real estate industry leaders show on the risks of delaying foundation repair. Please support all things local to Kansas city, and Hey, be sure to subscribe and share our podcast on Facebook and LinkedIn. This has been a KC property guys production kcpropertyguys.com.

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