The Seven Deadly Mistakes Homeowners Make When Choosing a Foundation Contractor


Choosing the Cheapest Contractor

When unexpected home repairs are required, cost is always an issue. However, a "cheap" fix is not the optimal solution, although many homeowners make the mistake of hiring the low cost contractor. In cases of a contractor providing a very low price the quality of workmanship will be inferior. Disreputable contractors keep costs down by using low grade materials and unskilled workers. Would you trust these untrained workers to complete the job to your standards? Low cost contractors increase costs by applying extra charges once the job starts. You may be surprised with your final bill and the poor quality of the work. Having the project done right the first time is much more cost effective than paying for the same job twice due to issues with contractor workmanship.

Choosing Inexperienced/Disreputable Contractors

For many homeowners, the first place they look for a contractor is in the Yellow Pages. Ads are placed to draw your attention and can be very deceiving. For example, some companies advertise that they have 15-25 years if experience, even though they have only been in business for a short time period. They calculate their experience by the number of their employees multiplied by employee years of service. For example, 5 employees x 3 years of service = 15 years experience. Ads vary in size and in most cases you should not equate the size of an ad with the company’s reputability.

Choosing a General Contractor vs. a Specialist

Homeowners have made the mistake of choosing a general contractor who provide diverse construction services, including carpentry, roofing, window repairs, etc., instead of choosing a foundation specialist. You wouldn't’t hire an electrician to do your plumbing or a general practitioner for brain surgery. A foundation specialist will be able to determine the best solution and use the right materials to preform the job. It is best to choose an expert on foundation repairs. A problem later relating to your contractor’s improper procedures can become an expensive and stressful nightmare.

Choosing Unkown Contractors

Most homeowners will call varied companies for estimates. This includes companies that they heard of and are established in the community but will also include smaller companies advertising in flyers, newspapers, etc. Some of these small companies will tell you that they have worked for one of the larger companies and can do the same job at a cheaper price. You should question why these individuals are not still working for the large companies. Ask for and follow-up on all references.

Choosing Contractors Who Work Out of Their Home or Rent a Small Shop

The main concern with using these small contractors is that they can shut down their business with little notice or avoid your calls if something goes wrong with your project. An established company will have their own yard/office, and you will be able to easily contact them if a problem arises in the future.

Choosing a Contractor That Doesn't Offer a Warranty

A contractor that doesn’t offer a warranty for foundation repairs will probably offer you a lower project price, but you will be responsible for costly repairs if something goes wrong.

Choosing a Contractor That Changes Their Company Name On a Regular Basis to Hide Their Tarnished Reputation

Beware of a company that doesn’t publish their address in the yellow pages. They don’t want you to know where to locate them if something goes wrong. They screen their calls by using an answering machine or answering service. If this symptom occurs, it is best to remove the finishing detail installed on your basement exterior wall. You want to make sure everything is dry before replacing the vapour barrier so that the moisture will not return. Installing a proper vapour barrier is the key to rectifying this problem. When opening the wall a professional should be contacted if any mold is detected.. When opening the basement walls, a proper mask should be worn so you do not inhale any mold spores. In almost all cases, ice or water and sometimes insulation adhered to the foundation wall is found above ground level. Of course, if this water shows up in the summer months after a rainfall, you would have a flaw in your basement wall(s). You may discover a crack, some honeycombing or a leaking snap tie. The wall should still be opened up to check for molds, rot and or mildew. If you find a flaw in the foundation wall, it should be repaired from the exterior before you put everything back in place.