The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 12, 2012

Waseca home owners dealing with sinking houses

(Continued)

WASECA —

Edwards said his house had to be raised 3 inches on one corner and more than an inch on another corner. That doesn’t sound like much, but to achieve it requires some serious digging and lifting.

The fix calls for steel pipes, or piers, to be driven into the ground until they reach load-bearing soil.

 That can be a depth of a couple of dozen feet on up to nearly 100 feet — the deeper the dig, the more costly to the homeowner. The piers at the Edwards home were driven 57 feet.

Next, L-shaped brackets are attached to the piers and the foundation is lifted to its original level.

Because homeowner drought insurance is virtually unheard of Minnesota (like a flood insurance clause, it must be written into contracts), a stricken property owner ends up paying tens of thousands of dollars to right the wrong.

“It’s been a learning process for all of us,” Edwards said wryly.

Barke said one telltale sign that a home’s foundation might be compromised by dry soil is the presence of vertical cracks rather than the more common horizontal cracks wrought by freeze/thaw cycles.

He said latex caulk can be applied into a vertical fissure as a test. If it rips back open, there’s an active problem going on.

As a proactive measure during dry spells, homeowners can position perforated garden soaker hoses a few feet away from the foundation to keep soil moist and intact.

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