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I live in Massachusetts and have a porch and mud room that are sinking. I was stupid enough to think they had "settled" when I bought the house, but now I can see that they're still sinking, which is causing some damage to the inside of the house (cracks in drywall, etc). I have heard of mudjacking, but can't seem to find anyone local. There was one guy who I stumbled on a couple of years ago that came out and quoted me $10k just to drill these things under it to stabilize it, but I didn't (don't) have the money. At this point, however, I think I may need to take out a loan to address this, but don't want to just jump at the first guy who gave me a quote. I want to gather a few quotes.

Also, I want to know what my options are. If there is someone who can do something to alleviate the problem in a creative (less $$) way, that would preferred.

EDIT: The mudroom is 8 x 10, the porch is 10 x 20. I just signed up for Angie's List and I am still facing the same problem: I can't find someone to call. I'm searching for "foundation" and "porch". I just can't seem to find a business that mentions anything like this.

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Additional question (note: yes, clearly I screwed up and bought this disaster of a house)... - Does homeowners insurance ever cover something like this? –  user980 Apr 16 '12 at 14:26
    
I think that most home insurance policies will not cover settling or subsidence of the foundation. This will surely be stated in the policy, but you CAN ask your agent to be sure. Be careful though, as even simple questions asked of your agent can cause later problems for you, in the form of raised premiums or potential cancellation. (Sigh.) So it really may be a better idea for you to simply wade through the verbiage of your policy. ask.metafilter.com/105569/… –  user558 Apr 16 '12 at 16:08
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Feel free to e-mail me or even call. I'm in Maine, so I won't be able to directly help you, but I can give you some direction in finding a good GC to evaluate and solve your problem. There are several routes you can explore. steve@axiomhomeservices.com We could also meet on the chat section for some real time Q&A. All the answers are sincere, but there are a lot of questions that need to be addressed in your case. –  shirlock homes Apr 16 '12 at 22:20
    
There aren't really specialized business just for specific 'porch foundations'. Any good structural engineer or qualified General Contractor is where you'd want to start. Note that this may be a huge deal (need entire new structur) or it could be incredibly minor (need the porch jacked up a few inches and a few new support piers poured). –  DA01 Apr 18 '12 at 3:22
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3 Answers

How large of a porch are we talking about? Typically you'd want someone to come jack up the porch and replace the foundation piers. 10k seems really high, but then again, I don't know the size of the porch or foundation piers.

You'll want to call a licensed contractor to handle it. They might need to bring out a structural engineer or a soil expert. Hard to say why it's sinking...could be undersized foundation, could be poor soil/improper footings, could be water problems, etc.

EDIT:

If the first guy quotes 10k, it may very well be a 10k job. But do get other quotes. Call up a few structural engineers and/or general contractors.

Also note that you need to figure out why the porch was sinking in the first place. I've seen this happen before due to simply bad gutter downspouts where the water was pouring out right on top of the foundation piers. That's bad.

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You need to search on "foundation" and "engineering".

Several years ago I worked for a company who did this type of work in the Boston area. Basically, we would jack up the foundation, build a new foundation and then lower the existing structure on to the new foundation.

However, it not as simple as that. The firm was run by engineers who studied the structure and soil conditions to ensure the new foundation woud be able to handle the load.

Boston is famous for sinking foundations since a good part of the city sits on sand that was brought in and filled up the harbor. So, you should be able to find some firms that specialize in this type of work.

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Foundation problems are NEVER cheap to solve, and sadly, someone got cheap when the work was first done. Do the work right the first time. Was this addition even inspected by the local building inspector? If not, then you may have some legal recourse if the owners did work and failed to get the necessary permits. I doubt it would work, but only a lawyer would know.

This is not your fault of course, except for buying the house in the first place. A good home inspector should have pointed this out and warned you of the cost to repair it at the time. It is yet another reason to have a home inspection done.

Given all of that, you are now stuck with a problem, that MUST be resolved. I don't even know positively that mudjacking can solve this, only a good mudjacking contractor will know for sure. No matter what, there will surely be some excavation involved, even if only to determine how much must be done to repair the problem.

Start asking around. There are foundation services companies around who specialize in problems like this. Get and check references. Don't just jump at the cheapest estimate you get.

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I'd be surprised that there is not someone to call, although they will probably be serving a wide area. In the upstate NY area, we had a company come out to do a repair for us. They claim to serve customers across about a 100 mile radius around Rochester. –  user558 Apr 16 '12 at 16:03
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