Foundation problems are sadly common and many homeowners are afraid to even seek an estimate on the cost of making foundation repairs. However, the most effective solution for foundation problems—lifting the house and adding new supports below it—can be surprisingly affordable. Can house lifting repair your foundation? Here’s everything you need to know:
- The results speak for themselves. In general, hydraulically lifting your house to shore up the foundation presents outstanding foundation repair results. Any form of leaning, slumping, settling or cracking can be addressed by lifting professionals. Plus, this process is generally less expensive than replacing sections of the foundation, and since it addresses the underlying problem of settling the results are long lasting. Most foundation repairs will simply begin to crack and settle again after a few years, but lifting gives you the option to stop settling long-term.
- Choose steel piers. There are many different kinds of supports used when lifting is performed. Unfortunately, many homeowners assume that any quick and easy support will act like a “shim” and do the job. But a house is not the same thing as an uneven table—you want the strongest and most durable solution possible. When concrete pads are used as supports they will tend to continue settling into the unstable ground, leading to a relapse of foundation problems. Similarly, “cable locked” blocks may run deeper but rarely deep enough to reach a stable substratum. It’s worth it to choose steel piers which will run all the way down to bedrock or stable strata.
- Focus on experience. Even more so than in other home repair jobs, experience makes a huge difference when lifting a house. Properly diagnosed, most foundation problems can be completely fixed with lifting and steel piers. However, inexperienced lifting contractors or under-trained employees can easily misdiagnose the problem, putting in supports in the wrong areas or simply neglecting some areas that need shoring. Focus on those contractors who have decades of experience and strict training for all their inspectors.
- Know what to expect. While lifting achieves impressive results, you should know the limits. A properly done lift job will solve your underlying foundation problem and has a high success rate of fixing visible cracks as well. However, no contractor can promise to make all cracks disappear. Sometimes cracks are so severe or have been developing for such a long time that cosmetic work after lifting won’t completely cover them up. Be aware that this is purely cosmetic and choose a contractor who will be honest with you about the results.
Are you considering lifting your house?