Manitoba

Dry weather causing spike in calls for home foundation repairs in Winnipeg

The dry conditions in Winnipeg are causing a spike in calls for foundation repairs across the city, with most of the calls coming from homeowners worried about their houses sinking.

Contractors reporting calls from all over the city about houses sinking, shifting

Workers from Belvidere Construction work at a home in Winnipeg as dry weather causes a spike in calls for foundation repairs across the city. (John Einarson)

The ongoing drought in Winnipeg is causing a spike in calls for foundation repairs across the city, with most of the calls coming from homeowners worried about their houses sinking.

When the soil is as dry as it is now, the foundation starts to crumble around and underneath the home, explained Anthony Zappitelli, owner of Belvidere Construction.

"They're noticing shifting and lots of cracking on the walls and on the ceiling and some are noticing a drop on their floor," he said.
The ongoing drought in Winnipeg is causing a spike in calls for foundation repairs across the city, with most of the calls coming from homeowners worried about their houses sinking. 2:13

Zappitelli said this is the third year in a row that the weather has been so dry in Winnipeg, and he's noticing more calls from panicked homeowners. His office is getting 15 to 30 calls a day.

"Some are just in the beginning stages where some houses drop one or two inches [2.5 to 5 cm]. We've seen some houses drop six or seven inches [roughly 15 to 18 cm].

"Traditionally we do a lot of water proofing, but [this year] we're doing stabilizing and lifting and water proofing," he said.

A dry spring and summer

Zappitelli said homes in areas such as River Heights would normally see some movement, but calls are coming in from all over the city, including Transcona, St. James and St. Vital.

CBC meteorologist John Sauder said the city has had about 40 per cent of its normal precipitation so far this year.

Workers from Belvidere Construction drill a hole underneath a home in St. Vital Thursday. (John Einarson)

The normal precipitation level for April, May and June is 178.9 millimetres. Over that time this year, Winnipeg received just 71.3 mm. Last year was also dry, with 124.5 mm in that three-month period.

What to do?

Zappitelli said people who are concerned about new cracks in their home should call a professional as soon as possible, adding that most estimates are free.

"So if they can catch the situation early then you can stabilize your home, saving money."

Gerry Bonham, who runs Abalon Foundation Repairs in Winnipeg, said he's telling his clients to keep watering their lawns, including areas around the foundation.

"Let that water get down into the ground. It's hard to determine how much you want to run, but I'm telling people to run water about six feet [1.8 metres] away," said Bonham.

He said foundation repairs can cost anywhere between $7,500 and $15,000, and it's worth calling an expert for advice.

Bonham also recommends people call an engineer as soon as unusual cracks start to appear.

"We're telling people if you have shifting, go to an engineer to have a look at it. You don't want to call a contractor who might try to sell you something you don't need, so it's always best to get an engineer in there first."

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