It’s no secret that the foundation is one of the most—if not the most—integral part of a house. In fact, it’s estimated that a foundation accounts for at least 8 to 15% of the total cost of building a home.
For homeowners, there are three primary types of foundations: crawl spaces, slabs and full basements. Which foundation you ultimately choose will come down to what you can afford and what your personal preference is. Ultimately, you want your foundation is to three main things:
- Support the structure above AKA your house
- Act as a barrier between water and soil vapor
- Keep out groundwater
It’s true that foundations tend to settle over time, but even the newest of houses can shift with time. So what can you do when it comes to house leveling? Here are some steps you can take:
- Consult a foundation contractor. When it comes to house leveling, your home’s foundation may not be as sound as you think and the last thing you want is to encounter more problems without doing enough prep work.
- Figure out how far your home needs to be leveled. You can easily use a water or laser level to make a straight line from one side of your home’s foundation to the other. In the process of doing so, you’re likely going to find where your home’s sagging floor joists are and just how much the middle of your home needs to be lifted. You’ll want to mark the location where the lowest portion of the center is.
- Build a temporary leveling post. Once you’ve determined where the lowest point is, you make a temporary post to improve stability. You can do this by using sturdy materials such as wood and concrete.
- Use a jack. You can use a jack as a stabilizer between the temporary post and your home’s foundation. As you jack up the foundation, you can use smaller blocks to support the center of your post at the new elevation. When you reach the height of the next lowest points of the foundation, you can remove the jack, which will allow your house to rest on the temporary post you made.
- If you find that there are house leveling issues created by foundational shifts, you can build another temporary post and repeat the process described above.
- Once you’ve ensured that the house is level again and stable on the posts you’ve created, you’re going to want to put in permanent supports. You may be able to use your home’s existing supports, albeit with some modifications, but you’re going to want to have new beams installed to make sure your foundation rests on solid supports.
If you’re going to install new beams, make sure you seal them to protect them from moisture. You’re going to want a high-quality sealer that fends off moisture. If you’re building a basement, foundation contractors are likely going to install leads, or endpoints, which allow them to build a level wall between those two points.
Whether you have a slab, a crawlspace or a full basement, having a stable foundation is paramount. By using the steps described above, you can identify if you’ve got an unsteady foundation, where the source of the unsteadiness is and how to fix your problem, ensuring that you’ve got stable house leveling for many years to come. If you’re wanting to improve or fix your home’s foundation, don’t hesitate to contact your local foundation repair contractors or a home foundation repair service to help you out.