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martin3

Cost of House Leveling

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martin3    0

A foundation company just quoted us $7500 to level our 1100 sq ft pier & beam one story house.

I was expecting much less. What is a fair price for house leveling for a house this size? We are not having any major issues with doors not closing or sagging floors. We have a few cracks in dry wall around windows, etc, but nothing you wouldn't expect from an 80 year old house. The house has obviously had previous foundation work and been raised onto new blocks.

We wanted to get the house leveled now for 2 reasons

1) We're about to replace our windows, siding, and front door and were told we should level so that everything will go in straight.

2) we have some old termite damage on a beam that was identified during the inspection when we bought the house 5 years ago. I suspect the damage is primarily cosmetic, but you never really know till you get in there.

What is a fair price?

Can anyone recommend a good company for me to get some competing bids?

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rbarz    13
A foundation company just quoted us $7500 to level our 1100 sq ft pier & beam one story house.

I was expecting much less. What is a fair price for house leveling for a house this size? We are not having any major issues with doors not closing or sagging floors. We have a few cracks in dry wall around windows, etc, but nothing you wouldn't expect from an 80 year old house. The house has obviously had previous foundation work and been raised onto new blocks.

We wanted to get the house leveled now for 2 reasons

1) We're about to replace our windows, siding, and front door and were told we should level so that everything will go in straight.

2) we have some old termite damage on a beam that was identified during the inspection when we bought the house 5 years ago. I suspect the damage is primarily cosmetic, but you never really know till you get in there.

What is a fair price?

Can anyone recommend a good company for me to get some competing bids?

The short answer is that is way too expensive. Who'd you call, Auschan?

How many piers are they leveling?

Are they installing any new piers?

Are they replacing that beam you mention?

Leveling pier and beam homes is really easy and almost a DIY job if you owned a zip level... Well maybe not that easy, but to give you an idea of the work involved your entire house could be leveled by four or five guys in one day (as long as there is plenty of craw space).

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GREASER    3

700 sq foot house was 1200.00..I can almost promise they will try to see you a extra beam...they all do. It is very easy and almost embarassing when I saw how it was done.

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innerloop    32

I just left a recommendation on another thread for Bill Marks at All Texas Foundation Repair. He has a really good reputation in the Heights and my personal experience was that he came out to the house and measured all of the variations in the piers and then told us that the variations were all small and that we didn't need any work done. As a first time pier and beam house owner I was prepared to spend money, but then a contractor tells me I don't have to... that guy gets a thumbs up.

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crunchtastic    336

John Pfister levelled my house (i think 5 piers) ( 1,400 sq ft) and installed 4 new piers for about $1,400. Good guy and I recommend him, but I hear he's impossible to get hold of these days. I was expecting to pay more, but I have 3 feet of crawl space, so they were able to get it done pretty fast.

I have also good things about All Texas.

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martin3    0

Thanks for the comments guys.

The initial company who gave us the outrageous quote is called Cherry House Moving. I heard from someone else that they are making lots of money re-doing some of the Galveston Ike houses and so maybe won't bother with a small job in the Heights unless they get $$$$ for it.

As expected, just had another company out who quoted $2600.

Both guys told us the house looks like it has sunk about 4 inches on the back side. It has also been raised in the past & blocks replaced, and is now about 3 ft off the ground. Otherwise I really don't think the house is too bad off.

The real question is, do we really need to level it now?

If we go ahead and put in siding & windows now, and then level it later, will it make the siding & windows look crooked, or will it create gaps around the windows?

I intend to get at least one more quote, hopefully from Bill Marks.

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Les2010    0
As expected, just had another company out who quoted $2600.

The real question is, do we really need to level it now?

If we go ahead and put in siding & windows now, and then level it later, will it make the siding & windows look crooked, or will it create gaps around the windows?

Anyone know anything about Hy-Tech Foundation Repair?

Martin, Mind saying who gave the $2600 quote?

I've been told 1) Foundation; 2) Roof (that gets the house squared off); then everything else and, if you do the last part first, you get to redo it later (and from what I've seen in our condos it's all too true).

I was so glad to find this thread and not have to start from scratch!

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cwrm4    2

I think there is generally some confusion about leveling. There is "leveling" a house, which means eliminating sags in the floor, and then there is "stabilizing" a house, which means the house doesn't move whenever the ground swells or shrinks due to rain or big trees.

Leveling the house should run in $1k to $2k range. This means jacking up the house and shimming the beams on the existing supports plus possibly adding a new beam or two (resting on blocks).

Stabilizing a house involves drilling down into the ground 8 feet or so and actually installing piers to rest the house on. The piers are not (as) susceptible to fluctuations in the soil density and will keep the house from moving up and down due to rain. Leveling a house and adding the piers would run in the $5k range.

Most people call Heights houses pier and beam when the correct terminology is block and beam. Piers penetrate the earth; blocks rest on the earth.

Regardless, $7500 is way too much. Plus Cherry is the main knocker-downer of houses in the Heights.

And yes, you definitely want to have the house leveled before doing anything else to it (roof, paint, plumbing, floors, etc). Also make sure water is shedding away from the house...many house leveling problems are due to water pooling around some of the blocks.

Edited by cwrm4

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EMME    14

I recommend Pfister as well. He has lots of experience with pier and/or block and beam. He just did one of my neighbors' homes, so he is reachable. When he leveled my home in Montrose in 2000, he was hard to get then, but so worth it.

Edited by EMME

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sidegate    28
I recommend Pfister as well. He has lots of experience with pier and/or block and beam. He just did one of my neighbors' homes, so he is reachable. When he leveled my home in Montrose in 2000, he was hard to get then, but so worth it.

Pfister's the go-to guy for pier and beam and for that reason very hard to get, worth the wait though. Pleasant guy, father and son team. A competitor's bid on our house was ten times his price.

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kazbern    0

Martin,

Chiming in late with a comment.

When we had our block/beam bungalow in Montrose worked on 5 years ago it was to shore up a sagging chimney. Dawson Foundation poured piers around about half the perimeter of the house and leveled that half. [Later we figured out that the sag in the house had more to do with rotten and termite-damaged framing under the stucco than failing foundation support]. They did a great job; I've just hired them to work on my current house.

They are running about $600/pier. They pour traditional bell bottom piers about 12' deep I think. I don't know how much they'd charge for a simple leveling job, nor if they'd even do that kind of work.

If your house is sinking along the back you should probably ask yourself why. Is there a water drainage problem? Is there a large tree sucking water out of the soil? If you cannot fix a water drainage problem and you want to keep your beautiful tree, it might be a good idea to put piers under this portion of your house to stabilize it.

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martin3    0

We ended up hiring Bill Marks w/ All Texas Foundation Repair, paid $2600 and got about 20 ft of new beam, as well as new blocks & beam under the front porch which was previously unsupported. I am happy with the work. Three estimates I had gotten were $7500 (Cherry House Moving), $2600 (Golden Construction Co.), $2250 (All TX Foundation, plus the $18/ft for new beam).

The new beams were not structurally necessary, but the old beams had some superficial termite damage that looked bad from the outside and we figured might scare potential buyers or become a haggling point when selling. I know it came up in the inspection when we bought the house, and we were first time home buyers so what did we know? It's an 1100ft2 bungalow so i bet the next folks may be first timers too. Seemed like a worthwhile investment of a few hundred bucks.

This was a house "leveling", not "stabilization" as pointed out by others (thanks guys for the education). No telling how long ago the foundation was last leveled; we've only been in the house for 5 years.

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RocketSci    29

I recommend Pfister as well. He has lots of experience with pier and/or block and beam. He just did one of my neighbors' homes, so he is reachable. When he leveled my home in Montrose in 2000, he was hard to get then, but so worth it.

I would never recommend Pfister again. Calls are rarely answered, almost never returned. He is not a professional. He is a handy-man, and the quality of work is handy-man quality. He is cheaper because the work is cheaper. He did work on the house a couple of years ago - never even entered the house, never even pulled out a level, had to scrounge around under the house to find shims, said he couldn't do everything I wanted because he said not enough time - and then never answered or returned calls.

Dawson gave a more expensive bid when I needed the work done, but did a thorough and professional evaluation. I had good luck with All Texas, they responded to my calls quickly, and they did a good job on time.

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travelguy_73    15

I would never recommend Pfister again. Calls are rarely answered, almost never returned. He is not a professional. He is a handy-man, and the quality of work is handy-man quality. He is cheaper because the work is cheaper. He did work on the house a couple of years ago - never even entered the house, never even pulled out a level, had to scrounge around under the house to find shims, said he couldn't do everything I wanted because he said not enough time - and then never answered or returned calls.

100% opposite of my experience, and I would guess the experience of most of the people on this board who have used him. He and his son did a thorough interior and exterior inspection of my place before drafting an estimate, and I felt nothing but comfortable with his crew's service. If anything, I had to shoo John off because he was talking so much about leveling and future maintenance.

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barracuda    344

I just left a recommendation on another thread for Bill Marks at All Texas Foundation Repair. He has a really good reputation in the Heights and my personal experience was that he came out to the house and measured all of the variations in the piers and then told us that the variations were all small and that we didn't need any work done. As a first time pier and beam house owner I was prepared to spend money, but then a contractor tells me I don't have to... that guy gets a thumbs up.

I know this is an older thread, but I have to add another recommendation for Bill Marks of All Texas Foundation Repair. I had him come out today for a leveling estimate on my pier and beam house. He measured for variations, and noted that the variations weren't really sufficient to warrant getting any work done (mostly 1/2" or less). I have to appreciate any contractor that is honest enough to tell me when I don't need to get work done. This in addition to the fact that I just called him yesterday and he came out the very next day. I contacted him based on the recommendations in this thread, so I figure it's worth adding one more.

Edited by barracuda

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TV2EBoogaloo    13

when I read leveling I first thought of demoing.....I was going to offer to do it for $515.25

$500 for me.....$15 for 5 gallons of gas......and $.25 for a book of matched

but since you want it "leveled" I would say buy some nice long levels, some 50 ton bottle jacks, some hard wood cribbing, some shims, and get some skinny Amigos from a day labor corner and you might have $800 in it when all said and done

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Ross    616

We saw a house once that had screw jacks instead of blocks. It was in Bellaire, and the Realtor said the original owners wanted to make sure they could level the house at any time, given the sorry state of Bellaire soil.

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houston10    0

You might call a structural engineer. I have found they come up with solutions that are much much cheaper. Foundation companies seem to recommend more expensive solutions.

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Neo    0

You might call a structural engineer. I have found they come up with solutions that are much much cheaper. Foundation companies seem to recommend more expensive solutions.

I am looking for just such an engineer. Know of any that can handle foundation analysis?

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Seth101    0

I just recently started to see cracks on the walls & ceiling! Also one of the doors on 2nd floor doesn't close! I found something strange on the side of my house! The brick walls on each side are like two walls connected by calking! & now with the apparent foundation problem A gap is opening! I can't afford to fix the foundation issue right now! Do you think there's a way to stop this from getting worst? At least for a few months until I can afford a good fix?

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RedScare    1636

Make sure the ground around your foundation does not dry out too much. This can cause the ground to contract and contribute to the foundation problems. It may not save your foundation, but it will help keep it from getting worse. You water it by putting a soaker hose close to the foundation.

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jt16    132

Make sure the ground around your foundation does not dry out too much. This can cause the ground to contract and contribute to the foundation problems. It may not save your foundation, but it will help keep it from getting worse. You water it by putting a soaker hose close to the foundation.

This is so important with how hot and dry we get in the summer but almost nobody keeps their foundation wet.

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innerlooper    25

When having an assessment of your block and beam house for out of levelness, I would strongly suggest that the person not just do an elevation survey of the floors, but actually go under the house. A lot of floor sloping can be attributed to (underbuilt) floor structure deflecting under wall loads, and not to pier movement.

 

Perhaps the most common effect is when partition walls, say between the kitchen and dining room or bedroom and bathroom, push the floors down (this took 50+ years and original builders can't be be faulted). The floor joists under these walls are parallel to the wall and were not designed to take the load. Also sheetrock added later increased the load. 

 

A good B&B repair company will be familiar with this situation and might try placing a 4x6 under the joists affected. 

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Triton    8798

We ended up hiring Bill Marks w/ All Texas Foundation Repair, paid $2600 and got about 20 ft of new beam, as well as new blocks & beam under the front porch which was previously unsupported. I am happy with the work. Three estimates I had gotten were $7500 (Cherry House Moving), $2600 (Golden Construction Co.), $2250 (All TX Foundation, plus the $18/ft for new beam).

The new beams were not structurally necessary, but the old beams had some superficial termite damage that looked bad from the outside and we figured might scare potential buyers or become a haggling point when selling. I know it came up in the inspection when we bought the house, and we were first time home buyers so what did we know? It's an 1100ft2 bungalow so i bet the next folks may be first timers too. Seemed like a worthwhile investment of a few hundred bucks.

This was a house "leveling", not "stabilization" as pointed out by others (thanks guys for the education). No telling how long ago the foundation was last leveled; we've only been in the house for 5 years.

 You live in the Heights area right? I need my bungalow home in the Woodland Heights area to be leveled as well and $2600 sounds great. When they leveled the house, was there any worry about pipe adjustment? My house needs to be lifted by a foot and I'm hearing claims that they may need to add some piping. Did any of your windows crack/bust when they leveled the house? Did the sheet rock crack? Thanks!

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