After getting 3 estimates on leveling out our cracked foundation, I would like to know which, if any, system or contractor is better? All are priced in the $15k range for both exterior and interior piers. All are nationally known companies. RamJack, Perma lift and OLshan. It is a lot of $$ and would like to know if results are worth it.
In order to evaluate the different bids, you would need to furnish a complete description of EXACTLY what the problem is (cracked foundation is too vague). Also your location, soil type, groundwater level, and foundation type would be important.
You may want to start the process a bit differently. Your question is very common on this forum, especially for houses on expansive clay soils. I always recommend that you hire a local registered professional structural engineer or geotechnical engineer with knowledge of which practices work best in your area. The engineer will typically dig a few test pits to examine the soil type and groundwater conditions, then can make an intelligent evaluation of your options, and recommend one of them. It is completely impossible for anyone on an internet chat room to offer a valid opinion as to which technique is better in your specific case, especially since you have offered no specific information about the damage and the conditions that may have created the problem.
An opinion here and a home-made remedy...........
We had a nationally known company come out and level part of our house. We live in an area where the soil is 'gumbo' or sticky goo. Whatever you want to call it...when it gets wet. When it gets wet it also expands.
Anyway, the levelling company did an okay job but the garage floor turned out high in the center and their repairs to our concrete were less than satisfactory.
So in a few years we experienced again, foundation cracking. To the point that we had some cracks in drywall at our ceilings. Some cracks were about 3/8" wide at the top.
I went to a hardware store and bought enough soaker hose to go around the perimeter of our home and stuck it down in the crack between the dirt and the foundation and hooked it up to a timer to water 3 times a day till the dirt closed back up. Then I watered twice a day till all the drywall cracks closed up and at this point I consider my foundation as level as it is going to get.
You might want to try this method before paying someone to come out and jack up your house. Or maybe not.
It has been a while now (several years) and we still have no cracks in our drywall and we water our foundation every two or three days for about 30 min. You will have to adjust the water to suit your soil. It may take a few weeks for your foundation to get as good as it is going to get but just be patient and it will happen. Then after you have done this you can revisit having someone work on your home.
This is all predicated of course on the assumption that your area isn`t subject to earthquakes. If there are earthquakes, then watering your foundation is probably a waste of time. In my situation, the soil lost moisture over a period of dry years, the water table went down and presto, you have subsidence. It is prevalent in our area.
Even if you do have to get someone out to level your foundation, I would still water it for a month or so. Why? Because from what I have seen, if the method is similar to 'cable-lock' or other jacking method, concrete cylinders are jacked into the ground to the point of refusal. Then the house foundation starts moving up and is raised enough to make it level out by whatever method the contractor uses to determine level.
With the ground moist, you should be able to install more cylinders before they refuse to go any further because the moisture should reduce the skin friction on the cylinders, thus allowing them to go deeper.
I wouldn`t try to make a soupy goo out of your yard but if your soil is dry or you haven`t had typical rainfall for a couple or 3 years a moist soil will be of greater benefit to you whether you are able to water your foundation level, or you get it professionally repaired.
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