Your Complete Guide to House Leveling (Expert Advice)
If your structure has begun to sink or settle, a contractor might recommend house leveling. Despite its name, this process works for all types of buildings, including commercial structures! Also called slab jacking or mud jacking, leveling uses specialty slurries to lift and level a damaged foundation.
While the process might sound extreme, it’s an effective and affordable way to address foundation damage. Knowing more about house leveling can help a homeowner understand what to expect and why a home needs leveling. Check out some added details about foundation leveling so you can discuss this process with your repair contractor as needed.
This information is provided by our foundation repair company who specializes in house leveling and basement waterproofing in Atlanta.
How Do They Level a House?
First, a contractor should inspect a foundation before house leveling begins! Second, he or she excavates around damaged foundation areas. Then, your contractor runs special hoses through those excavations, to an area under the foundation.
The contractor then runs specialty slurries or grout through the hoses and underneath those damaged areas. These slurries expand slightly as they dry and harden, “floating” a structure back into place. The slurries then help support that foundation over the years, helping to keep it level.
Lastly, a contractor might perform other foundation repair services in addition to leveling. For example, a contractor might perform underpinning along with house leveling. This process uses pins or piers inserted into the ground and attached to the foundation. These pins also help keep the foundation in place.
Why Do You Need to Level a House?
A home’s foundation keeps the entire structure level and even. If a foundation weakens, it usually cannot hold up the weight of a home. In turn, the structure often begins to settle and sink, often along one side or the other. As this happens, the framing and other materials often begin to crack.
These cracks are often more serious than homeowners realize! Cracks let in outside moisture as well as heat and cold. That moisture risks water damage in the home including framing wood rot, mold, and even mildew. Not only are mold and mildew unpleasant but they also damage drywall, subflooring, carpeting, and even upholstered furniture.
Additionally, those cracks also let in pests from outside the home! Remember that insects and rodents look for water sources as well as food. In turn, you can keep your home spotlessly clean but still suffer unpleasant infestations with a cracked foundation. Pests can also mean expensive damage, chewing through insulation, wiring, and wood framing.
Also, a sinking home risks cracks along a roof’s surface while also pulling plumbing pipes and connectors out of position. This can mean damaging leaks and costly repairs! A damaged foundation can also pull drywall away from wood framing and crack baseboards and crown molding. Floor tiles can even slip out of place, also resulting in costly damage.
How Do You Know If Your House Needs Leveling?
Homeowners should invest in regular foundation inspections, especially as the home gets older! A professional contractor can spot damage quickly and easily and know the best repair method for a property. Additionally, a contractor can note risks of future foundation damage, including excessive soil moisture, added weight on the home, and so on.
However, a homeowner should also note signs of foundation damage around their home, including:
- Cracks along interior and exterior walls often indicate foundation damage. It’s especially vital to schedule repairs if you notice stair-step cracks along brick walls or if those cracks are getting larger.
- Note drywall panels separating from one another or the framing behind them. Additionally, popped drywall nails often mean a sinking home.
- Foundation damage and resultant cracks let in outside heat, cold, and humidity, as said. Consequently, you might notice overly stuffy or cold and drafty interior spaces!
- That moisture seeping into the home also risks mold growth behind walls and elsewhere. You might also notice mildew underneath carpeting and along upholstered furniture.
- Never overlook uneven flooring and other surfaces around the home. If you notice items on shelves starting to shift, for example, this can indicate a sunken foundation.
- An uneven foundation also pulls on door and window frames. In turn, you might notice doors and windows sticking or locks not working properly.
What Happens If Your House Isn’t Leveled?
Never put off needed house leveling for your property! Note that foundation damage tends to get worse over time. After all, a foundation needs to hold up the weight of your entire home. In turn, a weak foundation risks more cracks and other damage the longer it’s ignored.
Also, while a home might not outright crumble on a weak foundation, bowing basement walls and damaged ceiling panels can collapse. Not only does this mean costly repairs but collapsing walls and ceilings risk injury to anyone in the vicinity!
Additionally, secondary damage can also mean expensive repairs to your home. Consider the cost of wall and ceiling crack repair, mold cleanup, floor tile and carpet replacement, and so on. Moreover, it’s vital that homeowners remember how foundation damage can lower property values. Consequently, you can lose equity over the years rather than build it when you ignore needed house leveling.
The Permanence of Foundation Leveling
Foundation leveling materials might break down over the years; however, how you maintain your property affects their longevity! To protect these repairs and ensure your home is in good condition, first consider moisture levels in the soil. Moisture is often considered the number one enemy of foundation concrete. Consequently, it’s vital that you keep your property graded or sloped as needed to direct moisture away from foundation concrete.
Also, ensure you don’t add weight to the home without checking the foundation’s strength and condition. This includes stone floors or countertops, an outdoor deck, a new sunroom, and so on. Even an overly heavy whirlpool tub can mean too much stress on a home’s foundation and eventual leaks and cracks.
Above all, invest in a professional foundation repair contractor for all needed fixes. He or she ensures that work is done properly and with high-quality materials. Their services are an excellent investment in your home and its foundation in particular!