Something unsettling could be happening to your home, and you might not know it. Hundreds of Massachusetts homeowners have discovered their concrete foundations are crumbling. And for some, their homes might be a complete loss. But there may be hope.
“When it first started, you could start seeing all these little cracks,” Mike Milanese said.
The concrete foundation under Mike Milanese’s house is cracking and crumbling.
“It’s not a good spot to be in,” said Milanese.
His home in the Central Massachusetts town of Wales is about 25 years old, and it’s in danger of collapsing.
“We do need a fix,” said Milanese.
Michelle Loglisci’s foundation is also getting weaker.
“It’s devastating. Everything you work for your whole life, and it’s gone,” said Loglisci.
Small cracks started forming years ago in her basement.
“You can barely see it, but it’s all through the walls,” said Loglisci.
The cracks are created by a mineral inside the concrete that looks like little brown flecks called pyrrhotite.
Over time, those flecks expand and cause extensive cracking.
“It can cause a lot of damage to the concrete, causing expansion, loss of strength, and leading to severe concrete failure,” said Kevin Miller, a concrete consultant. “There is no quick fix.”
It’s not quick – and it’s not cheap. A home would need to be lifted up, all the concrete removed, and a new foundation poured. This process can take more than $200,000. Most insurance companies don’t cover it.
“Right there in the policy it says foundations are not covered. And I said, ‘How can foundations not be covered? It’s the base of your home!” said Loglisci.
The homeowners say no one will buy a home with a fractured foundation.
“I don’t know what my husband and I are going to do. We can’t downsize for retirement,” Loglisci said.
Concrete containing pyrrhotite has been used in Massachusetts homes for decades because the state has no standards to screen for this mineral.
Milanese and Loglisci are pushing for a law to change that. They’re also hoping the state will start a fund to help homeowners in this situation. But getting action on Beacon Hill will take time– something these homeowners don’t have.
“I don’t think it’s going to fall in just yet, but you can see, it’s slowly going down,” said Milanese.
“These are serious life-altering issues that need to be dealt with right now. We’re all stuck,” said Loglisci.
Here is more information if you think you might have pyrrhotite in your foundation:
The proposed bill regarding pyrrhotite in concrete foundations at the Massachusetts State House can be found here.
Learn more about Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Foundations, a local group of residents with pyrrhotite in their foundations, here.
To find out if you have pyrrhotite in your concrete, the following link will bring you to a Massachusetts reimbursement program for testing your concrete, learn more here.
A USGS map of Pyrrhotite can be found here.
Many concrete foundations with pyrrhotite in the middle of Massachusetts were poured by a concrete firm in Connecticut from 1983 to 2015. Thousands of Connecticut homes are also affected.
The State of Connecticut established a corporation to handle homeowner issues with crumbling concrete, called the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, Inc. Learn more here.
The CFSIC recently announced that they have identified more than 100 Connecticut public buildings with pyrrhotite in the concrete. Learn more here.
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