One North Texas Homeowner thought he bought the home of his dreams, but then he said it started to literally come apart, so he emailed NBC5 Responds.
Unfortunately, foundation issues are all too common in North Texas. Experts say our soil can be some of the most expansive, but that's cold comfort to Michael Miller, who thought he was building his dream home.
"I spent time as a teenager homeless, living in a two-man tent and so this is a big dream for me," Miller said. "I never expected that this would be what we're going through."
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What Miller is going through is foundation trouble. There are about 50 cracks in all in the 2-year-old $400,000 home in Midlothian. There are also doors that won't close properly.
"My biggest worry is our home falling apart," he said. "Falling apart while we're in it."
Miller hired his own structural engineer, Robert Nicholas.
"To see foundation problems in the first couple years is not uncommon to the Metroplex," Nicholas said. "We got some pretty nasty soils here. Most of the builders, though, are willing to take care of it and step right up and do whatever it takes to make the customer a whole."
Many builders offer a 10-year foundation warranty, but you can also buy third-party warranties.
"Look for a builder who, not so much that they build the prettiest houses and everybody's happy with the sale, but see what happens after there is a problem," said Nicholas. "Will they step up and fix the problem?"
When choosing a builder, find an existing neighborhood where that builder has built and talk to the homeowners. What problems did they have? How were they handled?
Plus, consider hiring a home inspector to check out the house as it's being built, if you can, or after it's finished. You can also hire your own structural engineer.
"The earlier I can come in to start looking at stuff, the better off it is," said Nicholas.
Miller said his builder is not willing to do what his engineer recommends; fixes that Miller said would cost close to $100,000 in all.
"It's our home," said Miller. "It's an area where you should feel safe and secure. Unfortunately we can't feel that way right now."
Officials with Glacier Homes, which built Miller's home, said they just received the report from Miller's engineer and need more time to review it.
"Glacier recognizes that the home in your story has had some settlement and shifting which has caused some cosmetic damage. Our intention is to repair that damage if given the opportunity. We believe this foundation movement is a direct result of an excessively wet spring and fall after near drought conditions previously," Glacier Homes officials said in a statement. "We disagree with the Report in that claims the foundation has failed... The changes in elevations of the foundation are well within tolerances allowed by both our warranty and generally applied construction standards... We will continue to work with the homeowner to solve this issue..."
The full statement is below.
Here is a checklist of the questions you should ask and the things you should look for, whether you're building a new home or buying an existing one. We also have advice for keeping your foundation in good shape.
Glacier Homes Full Statement
Glacier recognizes that the home in your story has had some settlement and shifting which has caused some cosmetic damage. Our intention is to repair that damage if given the opportunity. We believe this foundation movement is a direct result of an excessively wet spring and fall after near drought conditions previously. We also believe that drainage improvements around the home could be implemented to prevent foundation movement in the future.
Glacier Homes takes concerns like this very seriously and strives to resolve them quickly, however there are situations like this that require additional review and research before coming to a conclusion. We do not feel we have been given the opportunity of time in this situation.
We are currently reviewing the engineering report (“Report”) and Repair Report (“Repair”) received from the homeowner. We just received the Repair within the last 10 days. This Report and Repair are being reviewed by our foundation professionals to determine next steps. Although we have not been able to get the engineer who designed the foundation to review the home in person we have asked him to review the materials we have to give a recommendation. We expect to have a written report within the next few days. We are also awaiting a completed report from the engineer we had review the movement and the drainage from our initial notification of foundation movement at this home.
We disagree with the Report in that claims the foundation has failed. The method used to conclude the foundation had failed was improperly applied. The changes in elevations of the foundation are well within tolerances allowed by both our warranty and generally applied construction standards.
Our professionals have at a minimum agreed that this foundation does not require a full underpin as recommended in the Report and other methods should be considered. Unfortunately, when you have foundation movement the resolution can take time and requires patience to determine the exact cause and correction. Again, we do not feel that we have been given adequate time to propose a solution, but we will continue to work with the homeowner to solve this issue.
In summary, we are awaiting a final report from our engineers so we can determine the next steps. We expect to receive that within the week. We disagree with the findings that the foundation has failed. We are committed to complying with his recommendations and the 10 year warranty associated with this home.