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Question DetailsAsked on 6/21/2013

Is replacing my piers and adding additional support instead of replacing my foundation my best option?

Ok so I have been told lots of things by different companies and I just want a clear unbiased answer. I have a 1930-1970 home (some parts are older than others) and I have termite damage in the wood on an exterior wall that is causing the wood to give into the cinder blocks beneath it. My floors are unlevel. The entire house is on piers but the back half of the house is in bad condition underneath in the crawlspace. When I purchased it, it didnt even have a vapor barrier (I live in Alabama) and the gutters are in disrepair. So anyway. I have had people tell me to brace and lift the entire house for $30000 i dont have and ive had people recommend stabilizing whats there for around $2700. Today I recieved a quote for $13000 to jack up the house as far as it will alllow (i was told this would be about an 80% improvement in the levelness of the interior floors) and install 26 piers with concrete footings and replace an exterior section of wood. What should I do? I dont have $30000!

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

It is not clear to me from the above if you have seen the two answers to your first post, which talked about the piers but not the termites and other deterioration. If you have not, here is the link to that earlier thread -

For that old a home sinking $30,000 into it, unless it is a mansion or has real significant architectural elements that would make it attractive to buyers looking for a "retro" look, does not seem to make sense, plus you don't have that kind of money to throw at it anyway.

If you want another independent opinion, contact a local civil engineer specializing in residential foundations - probably about $200-300 for a look-see and verbal recommendation, or about $600-1000 for an actual remediation plan in writing which contractors could bid on. Part of your problem right now is every cost is associated with a different scope of work, so you are not narroweing in on a single solution.

The original $2700 sounded like just a shim-up job, the $13,000 sounds like drilled piers to basically replace the existing foundation piers. The happy medium is probably somewhere in between - use the existing piers (I am assuming these are the tapered concrete type with the posts sitting in brackets on them, only embedded a foot or so in the ground) with resetting if tilted, shimming the posts or replace posts as necessary to roughly relevel the house, then replace the termite damage (and treat for termites), and maybe add a few new posts under sway-backed spots in the old part of the house. This would not "level" the house, but should come close enough to make it acceptable, ASSUMING the cinder-block perimeter part of the new section is good except for the termite damage. If that is settling a lot too, then the $13,000 is sounding pretty reasonable.

I would think that scope would total from $5-8,000.

To consider all alternative, it might not hurt to also talk to a Realtor about how much the place is worth as-is or even as a tear-down property. If you own it outright or almost and are prepared to consider a downsizing, you should compare the repair cost (with resultant low resale value in the future even after the repair) with the cost of selling now and moving to a newer home. If you have a lot of equity and can downsize, you might be able to make the move for less than the repair, plus end up with a lower maintenance and more saleable house in the deal.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Well here is an update. I wasn't approved for financing the entire amount of the renovation but can possibly afford to install all the piers under the home supporting the joists and taking a lot of the weight off of the pier supporting the exterior "band?" without replacing the exterior "band?" in the area where it really needs to be replaced until a later date at which time they can jack up the floor the rest of the way that it will allow. Should I go ahead with this? Does this sound like a reasonable method of doing what can be afforded first? Would splitting it up compromise the effect of the final renovation (level-ness) of the interior floors?

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9176750


To be perfectly honest, from what it sounds like really levelling the floors does not sound like it is economically feasible or really the object - you just want to get the worst of the slope and unevenness off it.

Personally, I would first replace any seriously termite damaged wood that is giving way (either perimeter wall or posts), AND have the termites treated (and periodic treatment maintenance treatment started) if not already done, because your beautiful new piers are not going to be any use if the rest of the house is falling down due to termite damage.

My second priority would be replacing as many of the posts/piers under the portion of the house with the worst problem (sounds like the old back section), even if that means the front may not be perfect. The other alternative would be to start with pier replacement at the front and make that the "good" part of the house, and write off the rest until money is available, realizing it will only get worse over time.

Since you are still calling out for help on this, perhaps you would be best off having a civil/structural engineer specializing in house repair come out for $150-350 for an hour or two to look at it and give his opinion, which should also buy you some piece of mind. He shoudl also be able to recommend a couple of reputable lcoal contractors who could do the job for you.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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