How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

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EZ James
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Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:46 pm

How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by EZ James »

My house has been damaged and the person that damaged it has proposed that he repair rather than submit an insurance claim. I am concerned that a home inspector or future prospective buyer might consider this an unacceptable fix.

Cause of damage:
The neighbor backed his car into to the corner of my house just outside the garage door.

Details:

The impact was about 15” above the driveway. The house is built on a slab in an earthquake-prone alluvial plain near the ocean in SoCal.

The stucco was cracked and a section of it separated a few inches outward from the normal position. This appears to be easy to fix.

The part that concerns me is the load-bearing studs rest on a short section of 2x4 which in turn rests on on a raised portion of the slab. That short section of the footer, if that is the correct term, was “rotated” inward along with the studs. But because the footer is attached to the concrete with two bolts, the footer actually cracked rather than rotated. The bolts did not shear but the nut on the right side was not snug so the bolt might have been stretched slightly.

The neighbor put the footer back in position with a sledgehammer and said he would put a metal strap on that section to complete that part of the repair.

My feeling is a metal plate, not a strap, about 1/8”thick MIGHT be acceptable. The damaged footer is shown below. The widest part of the crack is about ¼”. The corner of the house would be to the left, the garage door on the right. The bolt on the left only shows 2 exposed threads so even a 1/8” plate might not fit unless the nut is shortened.

I would appreciate it if someone with construction or inspection experience would give an opinion as to the adequacy of the proposed fix or suggest an alternative.

Also I would like to know if this issue should be disclosed to any potential buyer.

Thank you for any wisdom you might share.

Image
barnaclebob
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by barnaclebob »

The shear force capability of that joint between the wood and concrete has been destroyed so you need to reinforce the whole area and put new bolts into the foundation if the old ones are too short to use.

He could block out that area and install a Simpson strong tie, L bracket, or something similar meant for earthquake retrofits. I just had a bunch of these installed on my house.

https://embed.widencdn.net/pdf/plus/sst ... RGD12R.pdf

The Simpson strong tie I'm talking about is pictured on the first page of that linked PDF.

Read up on seismic retrofits to see what the issues are. This damage is not difficult or expensive to repair but it still needs to be done right. If he is a handy guy he shouldn't have any problems with the methods in that pdf. However you'll probably find that your house isn't currently up to seismic standards.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:20 am, edited 11 times in total.
daheld
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by daheld »

First, this is not damage to a home foundation, but rather to the framing of an exterior wall. Second, what you're referring to as a "footer" is not a footer. A footer is part of the concrete foundation of your home, partially below grade and reinforced with steel. What you're referring to as a footer is a bottom plate of a 2x4 framed wall. That bottom plate is lag bolted into the top of the slab that your home is built on.

That lag bolt will present a bit of an issue in terms of getting a new bottom plate in that small section, but any decently qualified contractor can fix it. Honestly, if it were me, and there were no real issues associated with it, I'd leave it be. If you can convince your neighbor to pay your deductible then it might make sense to let someone fix it, but I don't think I'd spend the money on it.
mikemikemike
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by mikemikemike »

I recommend that you sue.
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djpeteski
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by djpeteski »

I would file the claim. The likelihood that he will pay an acceptable amount is about zero. He is worried about a 30 or 40 per month increase in his insurance (and it might not be that much) and he can cover a repair that might be in the thousands? Unlikely.
harrychan
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by harrychan »

Have it properly fixed by a professional that doesn't have a conflict of interest.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
adamthesmythe
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by adamthesmythe »

mikemikemike wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:04 am I recommend that you sue.
Oh, come on. This makes no sense at all.

You sue for things that involve substantial money, where more sensible attempts to resolve don't work, and you sue expecting to spend a bunch of money for uncertain results far in the future.

OP should go through an insurance company and get it fixed right.

I have only seen the photo, but I cannot believe this damage is of any structural importance. I would be more concerned that the stucco repair be done properly to prevent any future leaks or other damage.
runner3081
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by runner3081 »

EZ James wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:49 am My house has been damaged and the person that damaged it has proposed that he repair rather than submit an insurance claim. I am concerned that a home inspector or future prospective buyer might consider this an unacceptable fix.
That idea would be a non-starter.

Either 1) he pays for a professional to repair (one that you select) or 2) it goes through insurance.
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Nate79
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by Nate79 »

harrychan wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:07 am Have it properly fixed by a professional that doesn't have a conflict of interest.
+1 Whether this is thru insurance or thru a licensed professional. Either way I wouldn't let the neighbor fix it themself.
HomeStretch
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by HomeStretch »

Have your neighbor pay for a structural engineer to inspect the damage.
megabad
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by megabad »

Nate79 wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:47 pm
harrychan wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:07 am Have it properly fixed by a professional that doesn't have a conflict of interest.
+1 Whether this is thru insurance or thru a licensed professional. Either way I wouldn't let the neighbor fix it themself.
+1 If neighbor damages or hurts himself in the process, OP could face further financial harm. Not worth the risk. If the fix is simple, why not just hire a third party?
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lthenderson
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by lthenderson »

EZ James wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:49 am My feeling is a metal plate, not a strap, about 1/8”thick MIGHT be acceptable. The damaged footer is shown below. The widest part of the crack is about ¼”. The corner of the house would be to the left, the garage door on the right. The bolt on the left only shows 2 exposed threads so even a 1/8” plate might not fit unless the nut is shortened.

I would appreciate it if someone with construction or inspection experience would give an opinion as to the adequacy of the proposed fix or suggest an alternative.
The only purpose of those bolts sticking up through the bottom plate of the stud wall is to prevent the entire structure from being lifted up and off the foundation with heavy winds. Most likely with all the other bolts going through the bottom plate around the entire structure, compromising those two will not put anything in jeopardy. If I were to fix this, I would go with either a wide strap anchored into the concrete on either side and tied into the bolt or a plate as you suggested. Like others though, I would force the neighbor pay someone who is qualified to make the repairs or go through insurance. I would not let them jury rig things.
adamthesmythe
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by adamthesmythe »

> The only purpose of those bolts sticking up through the bottom plate of the stud wall is to prevent the entire structure from being lifted up and off the foundation with heavy winds.

In CA they are there to keep the house on the foundation during earthquakes.
Topic Author
EZ James
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by EZ James »

Thanks to all of you for your opinions and clarification of my nomenclature. Also thanks to barnaclebod for the interesting link on earthquake retrofitting.

I am puzzled as to how the wall could have been in the “rotated” position without bending or shearing the right-hand bolt. I should have looked more closely before it was put back into place but at the time ii figured all the problems were going be taken care of by a contractor and did not analyze it.

Will have to discuss what the neighbor saw when he comes back to town and get details of what he proposes.

Will try to get a contractor to look it over and propose a solution.

Suing is out of the question.

And regarding CA quakes...yes...they can give a wild ride here..anyone who was here in Jan 1994 would want protection from shear, torque forces, jumping up, jumping down and spinning into space.

Thanks to all. I have to cogitate on this some more..I know the physical and liability risks are real but I have to weigh them but also include the fact that I'd hate to poison my relationship with a good neighbor who happens to be quite handy with construction. He has helped me in the past.

I think a 3rd party estimate would the place to start.

Thank’s again for all the good inputs.
boomer_techie
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by boomer_techie »

adamthesmythe wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:36 pm > The only purpose of those bolts sticking up through the bottom plate of the stud wall is to prevent the entire structure from being lifted up and off the foundation with heavy winds.

In CA they are there to keep the house on the foundation during earthquakes.
Those bolts are useless for earthquakes. They are simply anchor bolts as used all across the country. Earthquake protection needs a bracket that attaches to the studs - it does no good to keep the mudsill on the foundation while the rest of the wall separates from the mudsill. (Earthquake grade bolts will also be thicker.)
EZ James wrote: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:00 am I am puzzled as to how the wall could have been in the “rotated” position without bending or shearing the right-hand bolt. I should have looked more closely before it was put back into place but at the time ii figured all the problems were going be taken care of by a contractor and did not analyze it.
The studs on the "right" (the king and jack studs of the door opening) pushed inward. The bolts and half of the mudsill were able to stay in place because the stucco failed.

You say there's stucco on the outside? I'd suggest supporting the door's header with a temporary support, ripping out the existing three studs and mudsill, dropping in a new mudsill (aka bottom plate), and new studs. Then applying new stucco from the corner to the door.
CurlyDave
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by CurlyDave »

EZ James wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:49 am My house has been damaged and the person that damaged it has proposed that he repair rather than submit an insurance claim. I am concerned that a home inspector or future prospective buyer might consider this an unacceptable fix.

Cause of damage:
The neighbor backed his car into to the corner of my house just outside the garage door.

Details:

The impact was about 15” above the driveway. The house is built on a slab in an earthquake-prone alluvial plain near the ocean in SoCal.

The stucco was cracked and a section of it separated a few inches outward from the normal position. This appears to be easy to fix.

The part that concerns me is the load-bearing studs rest on a short section of 2x4 which in turn rests on on a raised portion of the slab. That short section of the footer, if that is the correct term, was “rotated” inward along with the studs. But because the footer is attached to the concrete with two bolts, the footer actually cracked rather than rotated. The bolts did not shear but the nut on the right side was not snug so the bolt might have been stretched slightly.

The neighbor put the footer back in position with a sledgehammer and said he would put a metal strap on that section to complete that part of the repair.

My feeling is a metal plate, not a strap, about 1/8”thick MIGHT be acceptable. The damaged footer is shown below. The widest part of the crack is about ¼”. The corner of the house would be to the left, the garage door on the right. The bolt on the left only shows 2 exposed threads so even a 1/8” plate might not fit unless the nut is shortened.

I would appreciate it if someone with construction or inspection experience would give an opinion as to the adequacy of the proposed fix or suggest an alternative.

Also I would like to know if this issue should be disclosed to any potential buyer.

Thank you for any wisdom you might share.

Image
1. I am an engineer (I admit Chemical, not Mechanical, but I did minor in Mechanical, also I am not your engineer, I am not licensed, and I make no warranty about anything.)

2. But, I have built two houses in California as an owner-builder, they were inspected and always passed.

The part you are calling a "footer" I have always called a mudsill. The Simpson catalog calls it a sill plate.

The real problem is that there are no tension ties or hold-downs at all in that wall. The good news is that you can repair the damage just by adding them. The bolt on the left looks like you could add something like a Simpson DTT2Z. If the bolt does not protrude far enough above the sill plate you can carefully chisel it thinner until the bolt does protrude far enough. Do not chisel it under the wall studs, just next to them. The strength of the concrete footer is many times that of the wood -- this will not hurt the house or the wall. Use the Simpson SDS fasteners to hold the existing stud to the DTT2Z. It looks to me like it is a single stud, so 1 1/2" long by 1/4" diameter SDS fasteners are right. If it is a double stud, use the same diameter, but 2 1/2" long fasteners.

The bolt on the right is further from the stud and you may have to sister a shim (possibly a full length, nominal 1" x 4" to the stud to get the spacing right. Use the longer, 2 1/2" SDS fasteners to get a bite into the stud and another DTT2Z.

If you add the hold downs you do not need to repair the sill plate.

Now for the bad news. In order to meet modern standards you need to add hold downs on all of your walls. The wall to the left of the damaged section does not have any, and I strongly suspect that there are none at all in the entire house.

And, you need to have much larger, square washers, called bearing plates at each anchor bolt. Look up the Simpson BP/LBP bearing plates to see what I mean. If you are going to add bearing plates, the Simpson ones are very expensive for what they are. I have always used Chinese ones at about 1/4 the cost of the genuine Simpson ones and have never had a problem with a building inspector.

Of course you will have to disclose this when you sell the house. But, the repaired wall is going to be a very, very minor issue compared to the complete lack of seismic hold downs in the house. In fact, it may even be OK from an inspector's standpoint. It is certainly going to be much, much better than what you had before the accident.

If the repair I suggest is not "good enough" to meet current code, I think it is all you can ask your neighbor to do -- he shouldn't have to bring the entire house up to modern standards for a small accident.
aristotelian
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by aristotelian »

Is the neighbor a licensed professional? That is the only scenario I would consider letting him do it.

I would not sue but would certainly get an estimate and file an insurance claim if the neighbor is unwilling to pay. Then the insurance company can sue. :D :shock:
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Kenkat
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by Kenkat »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:52 pm Have your neighbor pay for a structural engineer to inspect the damage.
+1
Dottie57
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by Dottie57 »

This is exactly what insurance is for. Use it.
Topic Author
EZ James
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by EZ James »

Curlydave: Thank you for your detailed thoughts. The DTT2Z tension tie width (1-5/8”)and hole location ( CL at 13/16”)would require a 1” vertical shim to be flush with stud. Not sure that is allowable.

I would be more comfortable with a heavy U-shaped part to go across the sill from stud-to-stud. I will see what the neighbor comes with this weekend. If unsat I have a contractor in mind that I could use for this job and a couple others.

I’m afraid the photo is not good enough to show the full extent of the damage. Not only are the crack sizes minimized due to parallax but there is further damage on the left stud from termites that I just discovered today while taking measurements.

And I discovered another stud elsewhere almost completely consumed by termites. It’s also a load-bearing stud so one more reason biasing me to get a contractor. The termites own more of this house than I do!

Boomer-techie: Thank you for the explanation.

Aristotelian and Dottie: I will go a long ways to avoid turning this over to an insurance company and alienating a good neighbor but won’t rule it out. I plan to talk them when I can put a price on this and will ask about liability issues. Thanks for your inputs.
ddurrett896
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by ddurrett896 »

That's a small section. Functioning at 100% you are ok, but anything compromised on that corner (like this hit) and things can go down hill fast.

If I caused the damage, I would have a structural engineer look at it.

If someone else caused the damage I would fix it regardless of what the SE says. Add temporary braces, knock out those studs, bottom plate and dig up the footer then re-pour the footer and re-build the wall.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by RickBoglehead »

The person who did the damage, neighbor or not, doesn't get to decide how you handle it IMO. YOUR insurance company would be the place to submit it, and let them get it repaired. They would then contact your neighbor for reimbursement. He can choose to pay it out of pocket, or let them contact HIS insurance company. He would have to pay any deductible of yours also, so you'd get full reimbursement.
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student
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by student »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:47 am The person who did the damage, neighbor or not, doesn't get to decide how you handle it IMO. YOUR insurance company would be the place to submit it, and let them get it repaired. They would then contact your neighbor for reimbursement. He can choose to pay it out of pocket, or let them contact HIS insurance company. He would have to pay any deductible of yours also, so you'd get full reimbursement.
+1.
miamivice
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Re: How to fix foundation damaged by neighbor's car

Post by miamivice »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:47 am The person who did the damage, neighbor or not, doesn't get to decide how you handle it IMO. YOUR insurance company would be the place to submit it, and let them get it repaired. They would then contact your neighbor for reimbursement. He can choose to pay it out of pocket, or let them contact HIS insurance company. He would have to pay any deductible of yours also, so you'd get full reimbursement.
I wouldn't file a claim against my homeowner's insurance on this. They don't have a legal obligation to subrogate the claim, and may just leave it as a ding against my homeowners insurance history. Plus, I wouldn't want to be out my deductible, which is quite high, for something that wasn't my fault. I don't know that my homeowner's insurance would recover the deductible for me or not.
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