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Spotting Foundation Issues in Your Rental Property

Key Takeaways

  • Have you noticed large cracks on the exterior wall of your rental home? Hiring a foundation repair professional will help identify the problem's source and provide a plan of action to solidify your foundation. Shopping around for quotes and learning about preventative maintenance can ultimately save you money.
  • A good concrete specialist can identify and prioritize critical foundation issues. They can also propose the best and most economical project to improve your property.
  • Homeowners can significantly reduce water damage to their foundation by adding outdoor water drainage fixtures that redirect water from the home, like gutters and downspouts.

Published on Jan 12, 2024 | Updated on Jan 12, 2024

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Most structural deterioration is caused by environmental factors or improper construction that doesn’t meet building codes. At the first hint of structural problems, landlords often hire the first concrete contractor they contact. When your investment property is the most significant part of your nest egg, you must learn to act on preventative maintenance and interview different potential contractors to ensure you get honest estimates and quality work.

Common foundation repairs

Some initial troubling indications of structural issues in your foundation are cracks in the walls and floors, uneven sloping in the ground, or bulging walls. Many times, the standard repairs that a homeowner may need for a foundation issue include:

  • Crack repairs
  • Settling and sinking repairs
  • Leak repairs
  • Bowing wall repairs

While it’s rare for a home to collapse due to structural problems, a home or apartment building that rattles or makes loud noises is an alarming symptom that the foundation is crumbling. You should act fast and advise your tenants to evacuate the dwelling while it’s being inspected. A condo building that made headlines for its collapse in 2021 was the Surfside Condominium in Miami, Florida. One structural engineer report warned of major structural damage almost three years before the collapse.

For more alarming structural concerns, look for loud creaking sounds throughout the home and deep cracks in load-bearing structures.

Foundation repair methods

After a foundation repair contractor conducts their inspection, there are various standard repair methods they will propose, including:

  • Foundation jacking
  • Basement underpinning
  • Wall stabilization
  • Foundation sealing
  • Helical piers installation

Temporary and permanent solutions for repairs can range between $30 and tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the problems.

Factors that affect the project cost

Most costly repairs occur when a sizable area needs mending or there is more complexity to the concrete projects. An element obstructing access to the work area, like hedges, trees, or interior structures, can also increase costs. For instance, if there are compromises in your concrete slab foundation, a foundation expert may suggest installing piers as a solution or doing a slab pour on your piers. The foundation contractor may need to consider root barriers for trees or hedges planted near the foundation. According to Today’s Homeowner, the average cost of installing piers can range between $1,000–$3,000.

Piers are typically installed for soil stability and stabilizing foundation walls. Permits will add additional costs to the final bill. 

Cosmetic repairs, such as vertical cracks in the foundation, will likely be less expensive than critical structure repairs. Horizontal cracks may point to critical issues in the foundation. 

Finding a foundation repair contractor

A foundation repair company should have a licensed contractor with the right level of education and certification. Check your local online resources to find a licensed contractor. 

Shopping around for a concrete repair person is essential to ensure you won’t get overpriced quotes. Read online reviews to help weigh your decision and ask for estimates to review the work descriptions and material costs. 

A fair and trustworthy foundation repair company will choose a lasting and economical repair method that prioritizes critical repairs.

Concrete contractor estimates

The average cost of foundation repairs can be on the low end of $2,000 and the high end of $20,000, depending on different variables. No matter the cost of the foundation repair project, the company should provide a detailed quote of the work they are proposing. Before you get an approximate calculation, the contractor will perform foundation inspections to check for concrete lifting, foundation cracks, uneven floors, or any extensive repair needed.

Here are some of the following items that a foundation repair specialist might include in a quote:

  • Labor costs
  • Materials costs
  • Inspection fee
  • Timeline to completion
  • Details of the labor needed, using a clear breakdown of the work
  • Condition of the area needing work, including the soil conditions, accessibility to crawl space, or minor cracks in the concrete foundation, for example
  • Required permits, if applicable
  • Warranty
Examples of a good vs. bad concrete contractor quote

FAQ: Hiring a concrete contractor for your foundation issues

Look at online reviews to find reputable contractors. Ask for recommendations and get detailed quotes to shop around for estimates.

Each prospective contractor should conduct a preliminary survey or inspection of the foundation issues in question. If you suspect the soil or ground is sinking beneath your home, ask your contractor if they have crawl space repair experience or experience with similar jobs. Comparing estimates is crucial to avoid overpriced materials or choosing contractors who overlook critical repairs.

Common foundation problems include cracks in basement walls or floors or outdoor water damage near the home when there is no proper drainage. Many small cracks could count as minor repairs and not present a real threat to your home. A professional will identify if an issue has the potential to grow into a costly repair.

Our final thoughts

Find an experienced contractor if you observe potential issues in your foundation. Not only will concrete experts be able to repair minor and major structural damage to your concrete, but they can also help advise you on how to prevent further damage, which may include waterproofing the foundation and installing gutters and downspouts to avoid water damage.

There are various approaches a landlord must consider when managing a variety of maintenance issues on the rental property, including non-urgent, preventative, or repairs that signal immediate attention. Learn how to manage anything that comes your way effectively by creating a maintenance calendar, conducting routine inspections, and documenting any damages or work you’ve done to the property. We’ve developed the ultimate preventative property maintenance checklist to help you get ahead of foreseeable issues.

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