When you think about all the parts of a house, every part has an important function. The doors serve as entry ways and keep out critters and intruders. The roof keeps you covered from the elements. Even the kitchens and bathrooms have their own specific purpose.
Perhaps the most important of all those parts however is your home’s foundation. It’s estimated that a foundation makes up as much as 15% of the total cost of building a home and it’s quite literally the building block on which your house sits.
As most homeowners know, there are three types of primary home foundations: full basements, slabs and crawl spaces. Each of them have pros and cons, but ultimately you’re looking for three major functions of your home’s foundation:
- It must support your house
- Keeping out groundwater
- Acting as a barrier between water and soil vapor
It’s important to note that with any foundation, it can shift due to several factors including:
- Inconsistent levels of soil moisture
- Poor drainage
- Leaky plumbing
- Tree roots
- Poor soil compaction
- Aging, especially in older houses
As you can see, there are many ways a home’s foundation shift and that’s not a good thing. Ultimately you want your home to be as level as possible. So with that in mind, here’s a handy guide to house leveling:
- Figure out how far your home needs to be leveled. To do this, you can simply use a laser level or even a water level to make a line from one end of your home’s foundation to the other. This will help you find where your home might be sagging and just how much your home might need to be lifted and then straightened. If you’re looking for the lowest point, you’re going to want to look for the lowest point of the center of the foundation.
- Build a temporary leveling post. If you’re able to find the lowest point in the center of your home’s foundation, you can install a temporary post to improve the stability of your home. Materials like concrete and wood work best for making temporary posts.
- If you find that there are repeated house leveling issues created by foundational shifts of your home, you can build another temporary post.
- Use a jack: If you’re looking for another way to stabilize the foundation, you can easily use a jack. You can jack up the foundation and then use smaller support blocks around it or around any temporary posts you’ve created. When you’ve leveled the house as best as possible, you can remove the jack so the foundation rests on the temporary posts you’ve installed.
- Consult a foundation repair contractor: Even if you’ve got a brand new house or a relatively new house, there’s a chance the foundation might not be as strong as you think it is. When it comes to the foundation, a homeowner does not do well to assume. Assuming can lead to big problems. The best thing to do for quality house leveling is to consult a foundation contractor who will diagnose the condition of your home’s foundation and make any necessary adjustments to level it again.
- Put in permanent supports: Once your home is level once again, permanent supports need to be installed for your foundation to rest on. Temporary posts are just that, temporary, and your foundation ultimately needs to rest on stable supports so that it moves as little as possible, if at all.
In the process of installing permanent support beams or having them installed by a contractor, you’ll want to be sure they’re protected from moisture. Moisture can be Public Enemy No. 1 to a home’s foundation and a contractor will likely use a sealer to help ward it off.
Regardless of what kind of foundation you have, you need a stable foundation without question. The steps described above can help you both identify and deal with an unstable foundation and by consulting foundation contractors or a house leveling company, you can bring your house up to the level it should be at and avoid any number of house leveling issues that accompany an unstable foundation.