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Question DetailsAsked on 11/4/2014

Our foundation needs repair and we're considering an addition to the house. Should these be done together?

We want to put the addition on the same side of the house where the foundation repair is needed. Should we contact a general contractor to handle both? Or should we fix the foundation and then consider the addition?

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3 Answers


Depends on what type of repair is needed - if it is an exotic type of repair that requires a specialty foundation contractor, AND that foundation is not going to be modified by the addition, then you may be better off having it done first so it is completed before the addition GC comes on site, which would also avoid having to pay the GC's markup on using the same foundation contractor as a sub under his contract.

If fairly routine repair, then will probably use the same subs for the repair as for the new foundation, so probbly cheaper to have it all done at the same time by the same General Contractor. If you want to give us some idea of what the foundation problem is (usingthe Answer This Question button right below your Question), we can give you an idea of whether we think this is best done up-front (or may involve unexpected costs once you get into the job), or if it is the type of thing that can generally be handled by a general builder GC.

I would talk to your architect or engineer about it too - the one doing your plans for the addition - he/she can give you probably the best advice on what type of repair and contractors are needed and whether it should be done in advance or along with the addition.

Of course, if $ availability is an issue, it may make sense to do the required repair first and see what tat final cost comes out to be, because if it runs higher than expected because of conditions exposed during the work you might end up deciding to delay the addition till more funds become available. However, on the other hand, if financing this addition, it may be to your advantage to roll it all into one contract, because financing companies are a lot more reluctant to loan money for repairs that basically do not increase the value of the house over what it would have been prior to needing the repair, than for additions and major remodels that actually permanently increase the value of the house.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Thanks for the information. The issue we have is settlement. It is a 70 year-old house. We are developing cracks across ceilings and walls. It will probably require digging and putting in piers. I don't know much more yet.

Answered 5 years ago by ESavage


Then you definitely need a civil engineering firm specializing in residential foundations and structures with both structural and geotechnical capabilities (may be one geotechnical engineer with structural design expertise also or two separate people to handle the issue - one a soils engineer to evaluate the issue and provide foundation design criteria and one a structural to design the fix - should be about same cost either way assuming both are in-house working for the same firm) to investigate and come up with an economic solution.

In this type of case, to avoid the possibility of the general contractor for the addition being able to say any problems are due to the repaired section, if you are talking almost certainly a specialty foundation repair contractor to put in supporting piers or pin-piles/micropiles, and because the cost on this type of job is not going to be tied down until the geotechnical investigation and design are completed so bidders know the exact scopeof work, then in that case I would be trending pretty strongly toward doing the repair first, then letting it sit at least 3-6 months (including through the spring melt, if in freezing area) to be sure the issue is solved before starting to add on the addition.

However - and there is always a caveat - the engineer may suggest as I probably would, since excavation and new foundation work is going to be done along that wall anyway, perhaps the cheapest and most predictable cost solution is having that side of the house supported on jacks and just have that entire foundation section totally replaced (after excavating out and replacing any unsuitable foundation materials under it) at the start of the addition work, then continue on with building the addition foundations and on from there.

Don't forget, in the addition work, if you have cosmetic work to be done because of the settlement (drywall cracks, painting, realigning door frames, etc) it will probably be most economic to include them in the addition contractor's scope of work.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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