Stone Foundation Repair – What to Do?

Owning an historic property with an old stone foundation can be an interesting experience. Those with a strong will and a sound pocketbook can be true caretakers of a piece of history. The foundation of that history is the simple, bold and strong field stone foundation wall.

Older buildings with a stone foundation will generally have the original stone facing visible on the exterior and interior of the building. However it was common to apply a coating of plaster to the interior foundation wall in the basement area, as a means of waterproofing so the stone may not be visible from inside of the building.

Most of the original plaster would have worn off by today but if you are lucky, you just may run across an old stone foundation still in pristine condition but this would be the exception.

Usually after 30 – 50 years the foundation would have shifted cause cracks to appear in the foundation wall and it wasn’t uncommon to apply a second to the foundation with a masonry cement stucco. If the second layer is cement stucco than it would indicate that the second coating must have been applied after the early 1900’s, when mass produced cement stucco became available.

Regardless if plaster or stucco was applied to the walls, they will look lumpy as the individual stones shapes will show beneath the plaster or stucco.

What to look for -A lot of these older stone foundations were never well maintained and can challenge a building owner with problems ranging from water leakage, mortar turning into sand, loose stones and bulging walls. Anything beyond these few maintenance problems could be considered ‘in failure’ and may need an engineer’s inspection.

Stone foundation walls that leak – It wasn’t uncommon for these old stone foundation walls to leak. When they were originally constructed a hole was simply dug to the dimensions of the building and a trench dug where the walls were to be placed. Large field stones would be placed in the trench and became the bed stones of the foundation wall.

Drain tile were not in use around the foundations of older building so static pressure would have been a problem from the beginning depending or the soil type and topography. A high quality builder would have trenched to daylight from the low corner of the building site to take water away from the foundation, if the site permitted. The trench would be partially filled with rubble stones before covering but this simply drainage technique would be an exception and not the rule.

Most of the older homes were constructed high off the ground to keep moisture to a minimum. The basement area for these homes where never intended to be used as living space so a little moisture would have been common and of no concern.

Stone foundation wall problems – Decades of water infiltration will cause deterioration to the stone foundation walls. The result can be bulged walls from excessive static pressure or settlement of the foundation, deteriorated mortar joints from excessive moister or loose stones and missing mortar joints from simple aging and movement.

Bulged walls – This problem presents the biggest hurdle for a building owner depending on the degree and severity of the bulging problem and the location within the foundation wall. Generally though, a portion of the foundation wall can be removed and rebuilt but proper shoring must be in place to support the building load before you proceed. This should not be out of the range of an experienced mason contractor and you should seek their advice.

Loose stones and missing mortar – These items are simple to remedy. Loose stones should be taken out and re-set with fresh mortar. Care should be taken not to undermine any critical support areas within the foundation. If you suspect an area of loose stone is carrying a beam load or other loads then consult a professional for advice.

Holes and missing joints can be filled with mortar or tuck-pointed to help tighten the foundation walls. Any brand of masons mix available at the local box store should be adequate.

After you have completed the repairs mentioned above you may wish to apply another layer of cement stucco. This will help to smooth out imperfections, close small holes, ‘stiffen’ the walls surface and hopefully provide some protection against water leaks.

Check the foundation annually and make any necessary repairs immediately. By taking immediate action and implementing the repairs recommended above you will be one step closer to keeping that old, stone foundation in shape.

Foundation Repair Training

Foundation repair is the most complicated and the most expensive type of repair your home will ever need. This is the reason why many people to school to get training specifically to specifically become a foundation repair contractor. This type of course is very difficult and expensive, however, the rewards that comes with finishing the training is immense.

What you need to learn:

The most important skill you will learn in these training courses is how to spot the damage. You will be trained to see the signs of damage and the proper techniques on how to remedy the situation.

Foundation damage is very hard to detect due to the fact that the real damage is generally hidden from the naked eye of the untrained professionals. You will need to be specially trained to distinguish ordinary cracks on the concrete or bricks from serious foundation damage.

Another thing you will need to learn is how to determine the proper repair methods. There are many different ways to fix foundations damage, all depend on what type of damage it is, the location of the damage, and the strength of the surrounding soil around your home is. As a trained contractor you will need to take all of these factors and formulate a solution to the problem. This is very important due to the fact that the wrong repair method will do nothing to fix the situation for the homeowner, and cause them unnecessary aggravation.

Requirements:

In some locations, contractors that work on foundations need to pass a test and receive a license from the state, whereas, in other areas you will only need a license if your repair works will cost more than $30,000. However, some states do not regulate contractors that work on foundations. They do not need to get a license in order to work on foundations in these places.

Importance Of Refrigerator Repair Services

A refrigerator is an essential and useful appliance in every home, hospital, restaurant, hotel and office. It has multiple uses and should run continuously, night and day, to keep things inside it fresh and cold. It is important that the refrigerator gets regular maintenance to make sure that it remains functional for a long time.

Since a refrigerator remains functional 24/7, it can break down or become dysfunctional at some point of time. It might break down either due to a part being faulty or lack of proper maintenance. Breaking down of a refrigerator can cause a lot of discomfort. It needs to be repaired as soon as possible, or food and other things may rot. In such a situation, it is important to hire one of the professional refrigerator repair services for fixing the problem. A professional will make sure that the refrigerator is repaired properly and the same problem does not occur again. Hiring a professional refrigerator repair service becomes important as the refrigerator preserves the food products for a long period. If it gets out of order, you will be devoid of enjoying fresh and cold food products.

Gone are the days when refrigerator used to be considered a luxury. It has now become a necessity in every household, regardless of the financial status. Also, it is an essential appliance in commercial establishments. The importance of refrigerator in a person’s daily life cannot be denied. Therefore, timely maintenance and repair of this appliance by professional company providing refrigeration repair services becomes very essential.

What to Look for in a Refrigerator Repair Service?

  • Considering the importance of a refrigerator in our daily lives, it is important that the refrigerator repair services are available even after normal business hours. This is to make sure that if the refrigerator breaks down at odd hours, it can be attended well on time.
  • Repairing a refrigerator requires technical knowledge and expertise. The service you hire should have professionals who are adequately qualified and experienced. They should have the knowledge of repairing refrigerators of all major brands and models.
  • The professional attending the refrigerator should have all the essential tools and equipment to allow him to complete the repair work then and there. The technician should be well-equipped and capable of finishing the repair work within the premises of the client.
  • The technicians of the repair company should only use genuine spare parts.

Select a refrigerator repair service that makes sure that your refrigerator works properly and efficiently and offers maximum customer satisfaction.

Signs You May Need an AC Repair Service

Hiring a professional for AC repair service can be expensive but if you do general maintenance on your AC unit, you can reduce the AC repair service calls. One of the most effective and simplest ways to keep your AC running efficiently is to change the filter at least once a month. When a filter is clogged or dirty it will make your air conditioner work much harder. Buying new filters are easy on your budget, will help to extend the life of your air conditioner, and help to lower your utility bill. You should also make sure that the fins and AC coils on the outside of the unit are clear of obstruction and clean. Sometimes debris such as leaves accumulate around the AC unit so your unit will have to work harder to function. To clean it just use a broom and a regular garden hose but do not use a pressure washer. It could harm the system with the strong spray.

Even if you do regular maintenance on your air conditioner unit, there still may be times that you will need to call an AC repair service company. Here are some signs to look and listen for that might indicate the need for service.

• If it does not work at all, look to see if the thermostat is put on the “cool” position. Make sure that the cooling temperature is not higher than the home or room temperature. If those two things are okay then it could be a breaker has not tripped. After checking all of these and your AC unit is still not running you should call an AC repair service.

• If you can hear it operating but has no or little cool air coming from the vents and the thermostat is at a practical temperature there could be a problem inside the unit.

• Most air conditioners make some noise that seems like a normal part of the environment but if it starts to make strange unusual noises you should call the repair service

• If you start to notice strange smells coming from the AC unit, it could be an indication that there is mold, mildew, or dirt inside the unit. The contaminated air that AC is putting out will circulate through the house and could cause health problems. This problem should be addressed as soon as possible.

• Air conditioners normally cycle off and on to retain a steady temperature throughout the home. If the temperature outside is not warmer than usual and it starts to turn off and on more frequently than it usually does this could indicate that there is a problem with the AC unit.

• You notice water is leaking around or in the unit

How To Write A Repair Request – It’s In The Details

Disclaimer: While your Realtor may draft a repair request for you, or you may do it yourself, I strongly recommend seeking competent guidance from an attorney who specializes in real estate matters. Real estate agents cannot give legal advice unless specifically qualified to do so.

One of the major components of any quality real estate sales and purchase contract is the inspection contingencies. Once you have agreed to the basic terms and conditions with a seller, you should have allowed yourself a reasonable time period to fully inspect the property using any resource you see fit. It is very typical to find numerous items that may need attention during this period and you must decide what should be repaired and what you can deal with later.

The sales and purchase contract should have detailed instructions on how to handle any requests for repairs, and you should review these instructions with your Realtor before drafting a repair request. Failing to follow these instructions can be just a bad as failing to adequately express your expectations. Make sure you understand what you must do and what your recourse could be or you may end up purchasing a property with significant defects.

Let’s develop a scenario to use as an example of the many possible solutions to finding problems and getting them satisfactorily resolved. One situation I recently observed a friend go through with the sale of her home was the repair of a ceiling with water damage from a previous water leak. The buyers noticed the stain on the ceiling and the seller had disclosed the fact the roof had leaked and was repaired. The seller had sufficient documentation to prove this fact and provided it to the buyers.

The buyers took issue with the condition of the ceiling during the inspection phase and make a request to have the ceiling repaired. The exact wording of the repair request was “seller to repair ceiling in the living room”. This request was properly presented to the seller according to the contract and was agreed upon by both parties. At this point, all parties involved were content with the the status of the transaction.

Obviously, for this to be a good example for our discussion, something has to go wrong, right? Well, something did go wrong, and it led to some very heated arguments and accusations. The buyers’ intentions with the repair request was to have the ceiling opened up, inspected for further water damage and mold, and then repaired and painted to match the surrounding ceiling. The seller’s intention was to replace the affected area on the ceiling with new drywall and mud, but not repaint or inspect for other damage.

Now, re-read the exact wording of the repair request. Who has the correct interpretation of the intent of the request? The seller or the buyer? In my opinion, both viewed the extremely vague wording of the request to their advantage and failed to recognize the other party’s intentions. Both could be correct, but since money and time are involved, neither side wished to give in to the other.

The seller did exactly as I stated and had the stain removed from the ceiling and did not repaint. When the buyers came through the house on their 24 hour prior to close walk-through, they saw the ceiling and immediately protested. This led to an escalating argument that culminated with a war at the closing table over the meaning of the repair request. It was ultimately determined that the seller had complied with the letter of the request and the buyers were left with no further recourse.

What can we learn from this specific transaction? I hope the first and most important thing you learn is to write extremely detailed, well though-out repair requests. My personal suggestion in this case would be to have written… “Seller to repair stain on the ceiling in the living room. Seller to have repair made by a reputable company with a successful history in this sort of repair. Seller to have the ceiling inspected for further damage caused by the previous roof leak and to inform the buyer immediately if any water damage or mold is present. Buyer shall have the right to make further requests for repairs should other damage be found. Seller to have repair completely and accurately documented and shall transfer any warranties that accompany the repair. Seller shall repaint the ceiling to match the surrounding ceiling.”

I don’t claim to have the perfect request for repairs in this situation, but I think both parties would have had a much better understanding of the intentions of the buyers and it is possible to have alleviated some of the contention at closing if wording more similar to this had been used. When you need to make a request for repairs in a real estate transaction, make sure you have considered all of the details and it is very explicitly and clearly written on paper. I would even consider consulting with a home inspector and attorney to help with the language.

I hope you find this information helpful and will be very careful when making requests for repairs in your next real estate transaction…