KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area is nearly 17 inches short of average rainfall for the year, and the ongoing drought is taking a toll on more than just crops and lawns — it’s hurting metro homes as well.
Foundation and mudjacking companies say they are busier now than they have ever been, and with no major rainfall events in the forecast they say that they don’t expect to slow down anytime soon.
Homeowner Tom Kammerer has lived in his home for over 40 years but just recently he began noticing cracks — the tell-tale sign of a troubled foundation.
“We noticed it in the garage, the floor, about an inch and a half had moved away from the wall there,” said Kammerer.
Dennis Morgan, the president of Pro Foundation Technology Inc., says that Kammerer isn’t alone. Morgan says that he hasn’t been this busy in 34 years of business.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, nothing even close to it and our phones are still ringing and this is usually our very slow time,” said Morgan. He says that a year without rain is to blame for most of the major foundation problems homeowners across the metro are facing.
“Our soil here is very plastic — it’s clay soil, it shrinks and swells,” said Morgan. “You need to have hydration in this clay to keep it stable. Unfortunately we haven’t had any water so the soil has shrunk. The footings are setting in that soil, consequently the house will shift and move many times.”
Morgan says that the average repair job can cost between $8,000 and $15,000, and that if you suspect that your home has a foundation problem, the first step would be to hire a structural engineer to evaluate your home, then pick a contractor to make the repairs. He says that his company is backed up into the spring with foundation repair work.
Kammerer says that he’s taking a big financial hit, but says that it could be worse.
“It happened to us — otherwise we’ve been really lucky in life so I’m not complaining that much,” said Kammerer. “But it is a cost you don’t expect to get involved in.”