How much does it cost to repair cracks in foundation and make soil changes?

Asked by Envydd, 95138 Mon Nov 15, 2010

Liked a cupertino home but the structural report suggests that some foundation work be done. There are 11 odd vertical cracks along the foundation, possible caused by differential soil soaking/drainage. Now using epoxy injection to fill up cracks is probably not expensive but soil work or putting a few more steel posts etc is something I dont have a good handle on. To make a reasonable offer, I am trying to find these estimates/ballpark numbers before I get into the drudgery of detailed inspection.

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Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Thu Nov 18, 2010
Hi Enyvdd

While it is prudent to get a foundation inspection you clearly need both a soils and drainage
Inspector too. Depending on the size of the home or lot, you are looking at French drains and or
An in ground drainage system, where pipes are dropped to carry water to the front of the lot to empty out on the road or drain.

You are looking at $5k to $15k for French drains and another $5k to $10k in drains iff required.
Eleven vertical cracks may cost you about another $7k. A lot depends on whether the cracks are all the way through.

Envydd, I believe you need to consider how old is the house and foundation and how long is this
Foundation been soaking in water. A dry foundation should last about 150 years bit a foundation soaked in water lays about 60 to 70 years at best before crumbling.

Let me know if you need any references.

Best regards
Perry & Ruth

Certified Distressed Property Expert
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1 vote
I agree. Foundation crack repair costs will depend on several different factors. If the cracks go all the way through the foundation, it will be more expensive. It also depends on which repairman you go with. I would suggest getting several different foundation crack repair quotes before selecting a contractor.
Flag Fri Aug 22, 2014
Sinai Constr…, Other Pro, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Nov 15, 2010
Hi Envydd,

Unfortunately, there are some very important missing pieces of information such as is this flatland or a hillside property. Normally cracks in foundation are the result of the following one or combination of causes: fill or poorly compacted soil, poor drainage, plumbing leaks in crawlspace or earthquake damage. If drainage is the cause as most often is the case then an epoxy injection coupled with the installation of a heavy gauge metal plate bolted to both sides of the crack will remedy the problem. Creating good drainage is paramount to prevent future foundation problems.

2 votes
Joe Nernberg, , Calabasas, CA
Fri Nov 19, 2010
Dear Envydd,

How much change do I have in my pocket... approximately? How wide are these cracks/gaps? Are you considering a 1400 square foot home or a 6,500 square foot home? How old is the house? Concrete foundations older than 80 years may not be worth repairing. If you don't address the soil problem, you will never fully fix the foundation. Seriously, get estimates from contractors who will arrive at the property - not on a real estate forum.

About epoxy injection. This repair is not corrective, just stalling for more permanent repairs.
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Nov 16, 2010

I’m a bit unclear as to the report you currently have: was it an actual foundation report or simply a property inspection? If it is an existing foundation report, go back to the company that prepared it for numbers. You can’t really know what you are dealing with without a detailed foundation and soils inspection and it would not be a good idea for you to pay for one before you are in contract. Since none of us are foundations experts, the most you can get here are opinions: not numbers.

I’d recommend that you do the following:

(1) Write an offer and get into escrow. If it is an REO or short sale, factor an approximate value for repairs into the price. You can get ballpark numbers from sending the existing report to a couple of foundation experts in your area. Subtract the amount off of the offering price. If it’s a normal sale, make sure the seller knows you are going to be asking for the foundation repairs as part of your Request For Repairs.

(2) Once in escrow, hire a good foundation inspector to investigate and provide costs for a remedy.

(3) Once you have the numbers in hand, negotiate for repairs with the seller. Tie your contingency removal to approval for the repairs. If it is an REO or short sale, you can actually renegotiate the price if the costs are higher than you anticipated. I’ve successfully renegotiated price on REOs on many occasions. You have to provide the reports to the banks so they can clearly see the issues along with real costs. The more documentation the better. For the most part, asset managers understand that if they do not cooperate with you now, the foundation report will need to be a part of their disclosure process going forward. Worst case; cancel the contract, then rewrite your offer based on the new information.

(4) If it’s a normal sale, negotiate with the seller for repairs.
1 vote
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Mon Apr 25, 2011
You need to get a professional to give you this information, and realize you will need to pay for their expertise. Remember $500 for an inspection is worth it when it gives you peace of mind.
0 votes
Andy, , California
Tue Apr 12, 2011
I do not know why you really want this particular one. You may get regreted after COE no matter how perfect you are going to do now. That is a psycological issue. Also, you need to ask your realtor if you need to disclose this issue even it would be recovered, when you sell it in the future. How can you or your realtor guaranty that your future buyer would not feel bad with this "old recovered issue"?

0 votes
Quest Inspec…, , Redlands, CA
Tue Dec 14, 2010
Who did the structural report? I think getting expert geotechnical/structural engineering assessments is probably going give the least chance of surprises down the road even though it is expensive to generate those reports now. I'm with Joe, please do not consider band aids like epoxy!
0 votes
Robert Lei, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Sun Dec 12, 2010
Hi Envydd,
Your first step should be to call the person who wrote the structural report to get a better feel for the extent of the problem. Yes, you already have the report in front of you, but I've found that when you call and chat with them, you'll get a much fuller understanding. When inspectors write reports they are very cautious due to potential liability. When you just chat with them, they usually open up a bit and you get a better gauge of the extent you are looking at.
0 votes
Nina Daruwal…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Nov 15, 2010
Dear Envydd,
Firstly, do you have a Realtor you are working with? If so, they should be guiding you from start to finish and beyond! If Not, my sincere advise would be to connect with one, and definately get a full Foundation Inspection done yourself. They can also give you a Bid for what needs repairs. That will give you a clear idea of the extent of Damage, and Cost to repair, so you can make an informed choice to move forward or not!
I have a good reference for a Foundation inspector, if needed, get in touch with me. No one, but a Certified Foundation Inspector can give you repair numbers.....and not wothout a proper inspection!
I would consult with your Realtor first though, dont want to step on any toes!
Be well and safe, regards,
Nina Daruwalla
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0 votes
Monica Goyal…, , Cupertino, CA
Mon Nov 15, 2010
Hi Envydd,

Best be would be to get a foundation inspector to come out and give you an estimate. Meanwhile you could make an offer with the inspection contingency (if time is of essence). Otherwise, invest a few hundred $s for the inspector fees and save a bundle in the long run. I can provide you with some references on good inspectors.

Good luck
Monica Goyal
DRE # 01781926
0 votes
Roland Barcos, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Nov 15, 2010
Hi Envydd,
It's unclear if the structural report you mention is a foundation report or a full Property Inspection report. It sounds like the latter, as a foundation report would include an estimate for repairs. I would call MG Constructors and Engineers, 408-842-5599. They can do a foundation inspection and estimate the costs of repairs and correcting any drainage problems.

Good luck,
0 votes
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