Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jacking up the foundation!?!

I'm a little freaked out right now but I'll start at the beginning... So Mike and I have been in our current house for 2 years. When we bought it, we noticed some cracking in the brick exterior but the home inspection didn't bring up any concerns. (And we had a GREAT inspector so we weren't worried.)

Over the summer, we noticed the cracking was getting a bit worse. We started to feel a little concerned but didn't do anything about it.

Right before Thanksgiving, Mike and I were doing the last bit of yard work before the winter and Mike said he thought the cracking was getting worse. As much as I wanted to deny it, I couldn't. We discussed if we thought we could wait until spring to call someone. We decided we could but we'd continue to monitor the situation.

Then it happened.... This weekend, I was sitting on the couch that is pushed up against the outside wall with the cracks. I heard a big gust of wind sweep through the neighborhood and suddenly, I felt the floor shift a little. I looked up and Mike (who was sitting across the room) didn't seem to notice anything. I immediately knew it was the crack. I got up to investigate. Yes, the crack was much worse. I called Mike outside to look and he agreed. The freaking out began.

So for the past hour, I've been online googling house settling foundation cracks brick mortar concerns. Most websites advise having a structural engineer look at the situation.

I called the first guy I was able to pull up on google. (He happened to be the only one listed from Lafayette.) He totally freaked me out by talking about bad builders that move soil for building houses in ideal looking settings (we live on a walk-out basement) and "easy" fixes like jacking up the house. Even more scary - he charges $100/hour with a $400 minimum. Then he asked how I heard about him. He seemed pleased that he's the only one who popped up from Lafayette on google and proceeds to tell me there are others in town that are also qualified to do structural engineering but most won't be bothered with small jobs like mine. He also mentions that one in particular is very good but jokes that he's not going to tell me his name.

I hang up with first guy and immediately check the phone book. Yep, there's another firm listed. I call the second guy (who isn't at all dismissive about a "small" job and even mentions up front that he'll do a free estimate). He wasn't as dramatic but did mention concern about the brick cracking in half (opposed to just cracking through the mortar) and fact that we live on a hill.

I scheduled an appointment with both for next Monday. I'll be freaking out until then.

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