Foundation Repair vs. Leveling

Foundation Repair vs. Leveling

There is a general misunderstanding among homeowners about the services that are provided by foundation repair companies. Most foundation “repair” companies do not necessarily repair a foundation as part of their service. Most foundation repair companies only re-level a home to a level of better serviceability for the home owner.

Most homeowners call a repair company when doors are noted to “stick”, evident differential is noted in the floors or excessive cracks in drywall are observed. When a repair company is called they will come out and measure the amount of deflection that the floors are experiencing and offer a solution to getting the floors back to level.

Leveling is only part of the problem. You must always ask yourself “Why did it move to begin with?” More often than not there are site issues associated with isolated movement (refer to our earlier blog post, Residential Foundation Troubles?)

Nonetheless, when a solution is required there are a number of methods for repair. Here are two examples.

1. Pressed piles and cable lock systems. These methods incorporate the use of precast concrete cylinders that are pushed into the ground using only the dead weight of the building that it supports. These piles can penetrate the ground, in some cases, only a few inches before the home begins to lift. Ask yourself, “If the soil was wet would the home lift as quickly as if the soil was dry?” These methods although effective for leveling, require periodic adjustments and are only a short term solution. The only advantage to this system is that it’s quick and relatively inexpensive.

2. Drilled concrete piers. This method incorporates the use of a drill rig, reinforced steel and a visual means of determining a good depth for foundation bearing. This is certainly a superior solution that allows for more reliable results. Once the footings are drilled to an appropriate depth, the shaft is filled with reinforcing steel and normal weight concrete. The home is then leveled and not affected by wet and dry conditions that would otherwise affect a shallow repair leveling system. This method is more expensive but does not require periodic adjustments to either the piers or your interior finishes.

Please let us know if you care to discuss the proper solution for your home.