There is a phenomenon in Massachusetts where some foundations in homes are crumbling for no apparent reason. In this episode, Adam explains why some foundations are crumbling due to pyrrhotite and what can be done about it.
Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Why are foundations in some Massachusetts homes crumbling?
Narrator: So, Adam, I understand there's a phenomenon in Massachusetts where some foundations and homes are crumbling for no apparent reason. What's going on here?
Adam: This is a very scary situation for a lot of homeowners and prospective buyers for areas specifically in Worcester County and then areas along the Connecticut border as well. Sounds like Rutland, Sterling, Holden, Worcester, Grafton, East Longmeadow – these are all areas where there's confirmed cases of crumbling foundations, and the culprit behind everything is what's called pyrrhotite.
And on the screen, if you're watching the video, here, there is a foundation picture, of a foundation that has been crumbling in Connecticut. This is a Connecticut foundation where it has a pyrrhotite in it. And what happens is that there is a mineral in the aggregate of the concrete, and it is something that will actually cause the foundations to, for lack of a better term, explode from the inside out. And there's a lot of mechanics and physics as to why it happens.
But for a homeowner, this is a terrible situation because usually it takes anywhere from 10 to 20 years to present itself. A home that was built in 1994 to 2015 are all in the ranges of issue areas. So, we can see that these older homes in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are not going to have this issue for the most part, but all the newer construction has the potential for it. In Massachusetts, we're really trying to identify the scope of the issue. In Connecticut, it's fairly well known, and it's been isolated to one quarry with one concrete company. But in Massachusetts, we're not 100% sure yet. So there's a lot of legislative action that's coming down the pipeline here in 2023 to deal with this issue. As of right now, the only solution for a crumbling foundation is to knock out the foundation and pour a new one that will typically cost on an average home between $150,000 to $350,000, and none of this is covered by your insurance. So, a lot of homeowners are left with their biggest investment without having any sort of value left in it, it's just the land value.
We do get a lot of questions very recently. We've been dealing with associations of home inspectors, realtors, as well as legislative actions to understand how we can assist homeowners through this process. But we're getting a lot of questions from homeowners as to understanding what it is. Do I have it? Is my home junk now? What can I do moving forward? And the reality is that there's still a lot of unknowns. But as we navigate this process and navigate understanding how bad of an issue it is, we’re going to continuously update everybody on what actions can be taken and what things can be done as a homeowner or prospective homeowner.
The reality is in the whole scope of things that this is going to be anywhere from a $400 million to a $500 million expense from the state. There's potential, grant funding is going to be available, but we don't really know how big of an issue it actually is at this point in time. So it could be a much larger issue which would involve federal funding as well. But the picture that you have here, if you have a normal foundation crack that will go from the top of the foundation down to the bottom, you might be getting water, more than likely, it's not a pyrrhotite issue, it's more than likely a settling or a shrinkage crack.
When you get into a foundation that looks like shattered glass or like people say, like it looks like a road map, that's more consistent with what we'll see on a pyrrhotite crumbling foundation issue. So, stay tuned for more information. This is an evolving area of concern for a lot of people in Worcester County and we'll be here to inform you as we go along here.
Narrator: Well, what a disaster. Thanks Adam, for explaining why some foundations are crumbling due to pyrrhotite and what can be done about it.
Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at email@example.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.