How do I Choose the Best Foundation Contractor?

Amy Hunter

Choosing the best foundation contractor for the job is the most important part of the building process. The foundation supports the entire home. If it is not structurally sound, the house will develop cracks, and uneven floors and walls over time. A foundation that is not properly waterproofed will allow moisture into the home. A skilled foundation contractor can help prevent these problems.

Finding a good contractor is a process of searching for one with excellent experience and a track record of completing projects.
Finding a good contractor is a process of searching for one with excellent experience and a track record of completing projects.

The first step in choosing a housing contractor is to determine what type of foundation you want for your home. In some parts of the country there is little choice. In parts of the Midwest, basement foundations are very common, while in the South it is more common to have a slab foundation. Many people, however, have a choice between a slab or basement foundation.

A foundation contractor can help prevent foundation cracks.
A foundation contractor can help prevent foundation cracks.

Choose a contractor that has extensive experience building the type of foundation that you plan to have. A skilled contractor who commonly builds slab foundations may have excellent references, but be unprepared for building a basement foundation, where pressure from the soil presents specific design problems.

The foundation is one of the most important aspects of a structure.
The foundation is one of the most important aspects of a structure.

The decision to choose a basement foundation creates additional questions. Most people are familiar with concrete block foundations, but there is a growing interest in the use of poured concrete for the basement. This process involves setting up concrete forms along the wall surface of the basement, and filling them with concrete. Once the concrete cures, the contractor removes the forms. Someone interested in a poured concrete foundation should choose a foundation contractor that is familiar with the process of pouring concrete walls, as this is a very different process than laying concrete block.

A properly constructed foundation is necessary to ensure the structural integrity of a home.
A properly constructed foundation is necessary to ensure the structural integrity of a home.

Develop a short list of foundation contractors that are experienced in the type of foundation you plan to build, and then conduct an interview each. Ask for a bid and references at the time as well. While you wait for the bids to return, contact the references, and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of the foundation. Ask what type of waterproofing was applied, how effective it was, and how closely the foundation contractor adhered to the bid.

Once you receive bids from the contractors, check each one carefully to ensure that they contain the same information. For example, one bid may be all-inclusive, while another may not include payments that you will be required to make to the concrete company, or for excavation. Before making your final decision, consider how easy it was to communicate with each contractor. Contractors that are slow to get in contact with you, or who leave you waiting for bids are not likely to be more responsive once you award them the job.

A foundation that is not structurally sound may develop cracks over time.
A foundation that is not structurally sound may develop cracks over time.

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