News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


House gets lift, fence wants recount

In broken English, the man cutting the grass said something about our bedroom window.

ďIím sorry, I donít understand,Ē I shouted, over the roar of the mower engine.

He killed the engine, crawled off and went over to the bedroom window to show me the gap between the brick veneer and the drywall.

He said he noticed the problem weeks ago when he mulched the shrubbery.

We had a consultant there at that time to talk pricing of a replacement privacy fence for the aging cedar.

I donít remember much of what he said because all I could think about was the house falling down. It would be bad business to build a fence around a pile of bricks.

We were the victims of drought and a thirsty river birch. Together they sucked way too much moisture from the soil and Mother Nature rebelled.

Ben Bayless and Alabama Foundation Specialists of Madison got the money for the fence.

Alfaís consultant Richard Steed said the slab dropped between three-fourths of an inch and 1-inch. Alfa offered sympathy, but no money.

Drought. Tree. Sorry, Alfa replied.

Thank goodness for helical piers. Eight of these screw-like heavy metal supports hoisted and leveled the slab in two days.

Iím not sure to what depth the piers drilled into the red clay, but Mr. Bayless goes up to 14 feet before charging extra. We had no surcharge.

Itís amazing what a lift job can do. Once the slab was back to grade, the bricks snuggled into place with a little mortar and caulking.

Fixing a sagging foundation isnít cheap, neither is it catastrophic. The guarantee warrants materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the house.

But the nice note I received from Mr. Bayless recently in which he thanked us for our business ended with, ďPlease contact me whenever I can be of further assistance.Ē

With more rain and an axed river birch, we wonít be calling again. I hope.

Tom Wright is executive editor.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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