Foundation repair in St. Roch

In 2018, we got a request to repair a foundation at a small home in New Orleans’ St. Roch neighborhood. The house was in poor condition when the owner purchased it, and she restored the home by herself little by little, replacing siding, adding windows and railings, putting in a new fence, and painting the exterior. It was a pretty impressive transformation! But before she worked on the interior, the owner asked us to take a look at the foundation.

For this home, the sills were in good condition, but the piers needed work. The house, which is less than 900 sq. ft. in size, had shifted on its piers due to flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the house no longer sat squarely on the piers. The owner asked if we could shift the house back, or move the piers. In a situation like this, the best option is to make new piers under where the house currently sits.

Richard Earls Construction replaced the piers, as shown in the photo on the right. While it’s easy to see that the new piers look more solid and clean, what isn’t so visible is that many of the original piers were crumbling, and some even included wood pieces. Wood in piers is a big no-no because wood gives ground termites an easy avenue to come right up into your house. The new all-cement piers deter termites, as do the slate pieces on top of the piers.

We jacked up the house and went to work, replacing each pier, including a few piers running down the center of the house. The home’s new piers are part of a solid foundation that will serve the home for years to come. While we’re impressed with how the new owner transformed this former eyesore into a pretty home (and so are her neighbors!) we’re even prouder that when she sold the house in 2019, the home inspection report came back with an A+ report on the foundation. The buyers were a young couple purchasing their first home, and understandably, they were nervous about getting their first mortgage. The clean report on the foundation gave them the confidence to move forward with the purchase.

These are the kinds of happy endings we love to hear. Let Richard Earls Construction take a look at your foundation so we can give you the same peace of mind while adding value to your home.

Home inspections before selling

It’s an exciting time for you. You’re going to sell your house! You tidy up that spare room, touch up the paint, put out some pretty potted plants, and get ready for a stampede of eager buyers. Maybe they’ll even get into a bidding war!

Not so fast. Before any buyer will commit to a mortgage, they’ll get an inspection done. Home inspections are all about checking to see if your house is structurally sound. They’ll check for problems with the roof, your A/C unit, pretty much everything they can see. This includes getting under the house and having a good look at your foundation.

We see this scenario all too often: A beautiful home looks great on the surface, but has serious foundation problems. Rotted sills, crumbling piers, joists spread apart at long intervals–these are all foundation problems that you might never know about until your home is inspected.

After an inspection, we are often asked to give estimates for repairs to such homes. The buyer, naturally, wants to know how serious the foundation problem is, and how much it will cost to make the home as solid as possible.

Why is a bad foundation inspection report a problem? Because there are two ways the sale can go. Experienced buyers, ones who have been through this situation before, will often ask the seller to lower the sale price based on the cost of foundation repair. This is actually the best-case scenario if you have a poor foundation. You won’t end up with the price you wanted, but at least the buyer will stick around and see it through to the sale, if you agree to the price reduction.

But if you’re working with a less experienced buyer, they might simply back out of the purchase, and you’ll be back to square one with finding a buyer. If the foundation report reveals the need for repairs that they just find too daunting, especially if the estimated cost for repairing the foundation is more than a few thousand dollars, inexperienced buyers will often just look elsewhere.

Our friends in real estate tell us that it is extremely rare for a home inspection to come back with no foundation problems reported. Wouldn’t it be great if your home could be one of those rare ones, where the buyer happily sticks around and doesn’t ask for a price reduction?

Your best defense against these issues is to get your foundation looked at before you list the house for sale. Richard Earls Construction can tell you if the foundation needs work, and can do the repairs before the home inspectors come to take a look.