House Leveling: How Is a House Lifted to Repair the Foundation?

June 16, 2022

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Are you a homeowner asking how to lift a house to repair a foundation? If so, you’re not alone! House leveling or slab jacking often sounds like an overwhelming, disruptive process. However, knowing a bit more about how this process works can help you decide if it’s right for your property.

Additionally, understanding house leveling can help educate homeowners on why their home might need this work done. In turn, you can make an educated decision about foundation repair and leveling for your property. Check out some information about house leveling and then discuss this with a foundation repair contractor near you as needed!

Excavation for house leveling

How to Lift a House to Repair a Foundation

Contractors typically use two methods for lifting a house to repair a foundation: piers and slab jacking. Note some details about these processes and how they protect a property from foundation damage. Also, remember that your foundation repair contractor is typically happy to help explain their differences even further! He or she can also explain why they might recommend one over the other for your property.

Piers or underpinning

Pier insertion or underpinning begins with specialty hydraulic equipment lifting sunken foundation sections. Next, concrete or steel piers replace that hydraulic equipment, supporting the foundation and keeping it in place. This process often closes cracks along walls and other surfaces inside and outside the home.

Slab jacking

Also called mud jacking, slab jacking starts with excavation around damaged foundation areas. Next, a contractor runs hoses through those excavations, underneath the home. Then, he or she injects specialty slurries or a grout through those hoses.

This slurry mixture “floats” a structure back into position. It then dries and hardens, supporting a foundation and keeping it level and even. Lastly, the contractor removes those hoses and fills in those excavations.

Which is best?

Slab jacking involves much less excavation than underpinning, as a contractor only needs to run hoses through those excavated areas. However, underpinning typically lasts indefinitely while mud jacking isn’t typically a permanent fix.

When deciding between these two processes, consider your budget and if you might sell your home in the future. You might not need to invest in a permanent fix like underpinning for a home you plan to sell! Additionally, your foundation repair contractor can also advise on which method offers the best protection for your property.

What Is the Best Method for Foundation Repair?

The best foundation repair method for your home depends on its construction and damage extent! Your repair contractor can note various methods that might work for your home or business. In the meantime, note some common repair methods, why they’re chosen, and their overall durability.

Masonry patches and sealants

Vinyl resin and cement masonry patches and sealants are excellent for minor crack patching. These sealants supply a watertight finish that blocks moisture. Additionally, vinyl sealants adhere easily and dry quickly. Consequently, you don’t need to wait for these patches to start protecting your property’s foundation from damage!

High-density foam

The foam used for slab jacking is excellent for emergency foundation repair! One reason is that this foam lifts a sinking foundation quickly, closing cracks and gaps. Two, a contractor can choose from over a dozen different foam types for foundation repair!

In turn, he or she might recommend one foam type for areas with high moisture content. On the other hand, other foams provide added stabilization. Consequently, those foams are excellent for various foundation types and its surrounding soil. However, they do degrade and break down over time, so you’ll need this process repeated eventually.

Steel and concrete piers

Underpinning is an excellent choice for foundation repair, as said. Steel piers offer added durability over the years, even for structures that have begun to slope. Also, steel piers usually last some 150 years or more before they degrade and need replacing!

On the other hand, a foundation repair contractor might create concrete piers according to your property’s soil conditions. However, concrete is best for warmer or mild climates where it’s not exposed to freeze-thaw cycles.

Bowing basement wall repairs

Carbon fiber straps help repair bowing basement walls. These straps attach inside the walls so there is no need for excavation. Additionally, carbon fiber straps don’t intrude in the space, so they don’t compromise the basement’s square footage. Most straps last for decades if not indefinitely!

Correcting soil issues

Soil issues are a common foundation damage cause. One reason for this is that excess moisture often causes soil to expand, pushing against that foundation. Two, contracting soil doesn’t provide needed support! Also, foundation concrete absorbs excess moisture, risking cracks and leaks.

Correcting soil issues can also address foundation damage. A contractor might suggest better grading or adding chemicals to the soil, keeping it firm and compact. Also, a repair contractor might note if the property’s gutters need cleaning, to prevent rainwater from washing over their sides.

house leveling to correct foundation damage.

Can a Sinking Foundation Be Fixed?

Fortunately, a repair contractor can typically address any foundation no matter its damage extent. However, note that some damage might require more than one repair method! For instance, a contractor might choose slab jacking and underpinning, to lift a home and supply added stabilization.

Additionally, a foundation repair contractor might address a sinking foundation but also recommend addressing soil issues. Better grading keeps moisture away from a foundation, preventing damage. Waterproofing also provides excellent protection against water damage inside and outside a structure.

Above all, a contractor can also replace a severely damaged foundation. For foundation replacement, a team excavates soil and then jacks up the structure. Next, they demolish and remove the old foundation. Lastly, the team rebuilds the foundation, lowers the home, and replaces the soil. In turn, your house can then sit on a new, strong foundation that lasts for decades!

Why Is the Ground Sinking Around My House?

Subsidence refers to the ground sinking underneath and around a structure, taking that property’s foundation with it. Older homes with shallower foundations risk greater damage on properties with subsidence issues. However, sinking soil risks damage for any foundation no matter its age or condition. There are several risks associated with subsidence, including:

  • Leaking or clogged gutters allow rainwater, melting snow, and other moisture to splash over their sides. In turn, that moisture collects in the soil around a property’s foundation. Excessively moist soil doesn’t stay compacted, risking sinking and foundation damage.
  • Leaking drains or damaged pipes and sprinkler systems also risk moisture buildup in the soil. Additionally, heavy rains especially on properties with poor drainage can mean too much moisture that allows soil to sink.
  • Tree roots seek out moisture in the soil, draining soil dry. As with excessive moisture, overly dry soil doesn’t stay compacted as it should, risking sinking and eventual foundation damage.
  • Poor-quality grading and drainage allow moisture to build up in the soil or drain away too much.
  • Clay soil is especially prone to drying out over time. In turn, that soil might contract, getting too weak to hold up a structure’s foundation.

Stop Your House From Sinking

A homeowner can stop their house and foundation from sinking and settling, protecting their property from expensive damage and house leveling! Knowing more about what causes subsidence can give you a clue as to how to prevent it:

  • Ensure your home’s gutters stay clean and clog-free. Invest in a leaf guard and regular professional cleaning as needed. Additionally, it’s helpful to keep the home’s roof clean as well! A clean roof means less storm debris ending up in the home’s gutters.
  • Retaining walls help prevent moisture buildup along a property’s soil. Certain landscaping features can also pull moisture into their roots and away from a property’s foundation!
  • Replacing clay soil with something that holds moisture more readily can prevent soil shrinkage. Also, a repair contractor can suggest chemical treatments that keep soil less dry and more stable.

Signs Your Home is Sinking

A full-scale inspection is the best choice for ensuring your home’s foundation is in good condition. Foundation repair contractors can spot damage deep in concrete or along crawlspaces, allowing you to schedule prompt fixes. However, note some signs of potential foundation damage so you know when to call a contractor to your home:

  • Cracks along interior and exterior walls, and especially stair-step cracks along outside brick
  • Doors and windows that suddenly stick, or if you have trouble working their locks properly
  • Gaps in room corners or between drywall panels, or popped drywall nails
  • Buckled hardwood flooring or floor tiles popping and slipping out of place
  • Obviously uneven surfaces such as floors or door and window frames
  • Moisture buildup in rooms with concrete floors
  • Mold growth along walls; mildew underneath carpeting

Also, note that a sinking home pulls on solid surfaces such as roofing and porches, and plumbing pipes. In turn, you might notice roof leaks or torn and missing shingles. Additionally, plumbing damage often leads to persistent clogs or water leaks. If you’re ruled out all other causes for these issues, schedule a foundation inspection!

roof needs repair due to foundation damages kansas city

How Long Does Foundation Repair Last?

Homeowners often wonder how long foundation fixes last, as repairs often cost several thousand dollars! Additionally, it’s vital that a home have a solid foundation underneath it, to prevent secondary damage.

  • Carbon fiber straps used for bowing basement walls typically offer a permanent fix.
  • Foam injections used for patching might break down after a few years, while some materials last indefinitely!
  • Steel and concrete piers typically last for decades if not even a century or more. In turn, they might provide the only foundation repair you’ll need in your lifetime.
  • Grouts and slurries used for slab jacking might also degrade over time, depending on their quality.

Above all, ask your foundation repair contractor about any guarantee or warranty they offer. This guarantee should cover both materials and their labor.

Should You Buy a House With Foundation Repair?

While not all foundation repair is permanent, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid buying a repaired house. For instance, house leveling might last several decades or more. In turn, that repair might outlast you!

Additionally, a potential homeowner might consider potential foundation repair costs when considering a home purchase. As an example, house leveling might only cost $300 to $1300 depending on your home’s size. Consequently, you might be willing to pay that amount after purchasing a home with foundation damage. Also, if you’re thinking of buying a home that’s been leveled, you can budget for replacing those materials eventually.

In addition to preparing for future foundation repair, consider if preventative maintenance might ensure a strong foundation. For instance, you might invest in basement waterproofing or soil grading. Moreover, waterproof coatings help prevent standing water on concrete surfaces including interior floors. These simple steps keep a foundation in good condition over the years.

Frequency of Home Foundation Inspection

Never assume that a newly installed foundation doesn’t need an inspection! Poor-quality materials or installation techniques can mean premature cracks and other damage. In turn, property owners might schedule an inspection once a foundation is just five years old. After that time, consider an inspection every three years or so.

Additionally, it’s vital that you schedule a foundation inspection if your property has suffered damage or shock. For instance, severe flooding or even a minor earthquake can risk foundation damage! Also, schedule an inspection if there have been issues around your property that might affect a foundation. As an example, after repairing a leaking underground sprinkler system, have the foundation checked for potential water damage.

Above all, a homeowner should schedule a foundation inspection if you notice any signs of damage listed above. This includes interior and exterior wall cracks, sticking doors and windows, and popped drywall nails. Don’t simply repair or patch over these issues but have the foundation checked for needed fixes as well!

Kansas City Foundation Repair Specialists is happy to explain how to lift a house to repair a foundation. Hopefully you found this information useful and informative! If you’re in the area and need expert fixes, call our Kansas City foundation repair contractors. We offer FREE inspections and guaranteed repairs designed to last. To get your property started, give us a call today.


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