Concrete, Brick & StoneExpert Advice

Repair Cinderblock Foundation

Q: The front of my home is supported by two cinder-block pillars, creating a five-foot high crawlspace, which is under my porch, and part of the front bedroom. One pillar has slipped over time and needs to be replaced. I’m not sure if the footing needs to be redone. Will this project require someone to use a house jack to bear the house while work is being done? Who can I trust to take care of this properly for me?

A: Thanks for your inquiry. If you already know and trust a general contractor, he /she could coordinate the entire job, but John B. Baker, Director of ServiceMagic’s Home Improvement sector, recommends the following:

“A structural engineer should be your first call. A well versed structural engineer (with

no vested interest in the actual hands-on work) will be able to determine if there is any

structural failure in the building itself and/or access if the existing footing need to be

resized or just enlarged. The engineer will also be able to tell you what size piers

should be reinstalled and how they should be attached to both the footing and the

house structure. The engineer would need to put in writing the specification of exactly

what is required to complete the job properly.

Then, the plan should be given to three service professionals to bid, or entrusted to one service professional who has come with good recommendations. The professional hired should be responsible for coordinating

all the necessary subcontractors to get the job done; the temporary shoring of the house,

demolition of existing work as necessary and all new concrete/block work. In situations

like this a service professional is also recommended (instead of just a concrete contractor) because he/she

is working in or near finished/livable spaces and understands what it takes to restore the area back to the way it was or make it even better.

Lastly, the structural engineer should be required to visit the job at least once to verify that it is being rebuilt (for the last time) the right way.”

To let ServiceMagic help you locate a reliable structural engineer, you may return to our site at: homeadvisor.com. If your structural engineer cannot recommend anyone to make the actual repairs, you may visit us again, go to the “Concrete & Masonry” category, and follow steps to “Repair A Concrete Foundation.”

Describe your structural engineer’s recommendations in the Additional Details Box, and let us help you find another ideal service professional in your area.

Good luck with your project!

Kathy Maynard

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