how to level your home

Home Leveling 101, Get the Inside Scoop on How to Level Your Home

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa

In Tampa Bay and throughout the region, many homeowners will deal with the problem of an uneven home foundation at some point. Even homes that are only a year or two old can have an uneven foundation. Know what to look for when determining how to level your home. The signs of a foundation issue may be subtle at first, but they should never be overlooked. Even a seemingly minor issue can result in significant property damage. Now is the time to inspect your Florida home’s foundation and to determine if professional repairs are needed.

Is Your Home Unlevel?

In severe cases, a serious foundation issue is obvious. For example, you may be able to visibly see an incline across the floor. It could feel as though you are walking uphill or downhill slightly. There are many other signs that your home could require foundation repair services. For example, you may notice that the doors and windows are difficult to open or close. The trim and walls may no longer adjoin at a 90-degree angle, and this may result in visible gaps or fissures. Cracks could be visible throughout interior or exterior walls, on the garage floor, on the patio, and in other areas.

It is easy to assume that these issues may be related to the doors, windows, or other affected areas rather than to the home’s foundation. However, because these are common signs of an unlevel foundation, a professional foundation inspection should be your next step.

In some cases, a foundation issue is only discovered during a home remodeling project or an inspection when the home is listed for sale. You can avoid such untimely surprises by scheduling a foundation inspection periodically.

The Causes of an Uneven Foundation

how to level your home

The concrete foundation that your house sits on is undeniably strong, but any movement to the soil below or around the foundation can cause the concrete to shift, tilt, or crack. One of the more common reasons for soil movement is related to moisture. Florida is known for its heat, humidity, and frequent rain showers, but it also has dry spells from time to time. When soil that is normally saturated dries out, it becomes more compact. This allows the concrete slab to shift slightly in the ground. You may not notice the difference initially, but the angle of the slab can sharpen over time.

Another cause of a foundation issue is tree roots. Tree roots can physically apply pressure to the concrete slab beneath the ground. Because the roots absorb so much water, they also can be responsible for dry, compact soil. These are only some of the more common reasons for concrete foundation issues. Regardless of the cause, repair work should be completed promptly to minimize the expense and to prevent additional damage to the home.

The Critical Need for Professional Foundation Repair Service

While many home repair tasks can be tackled through a do-it-yourself project, foundation issues require professional repairs. The stability of the entire structure is dependent on the foundation. Identified issues must be repaired properly using the right techniques or methods for the problem. There are several effective home leveling services, but only one or several of the methods could apply to your situation.

Effective Home Leveling Services

The home leveling solution that is selected by our team will be dependent on factors like the construction of your home and the causes of the foundation problem. In some cases, two or more solutions will be used to properly address the issue. These are the effective home leveling services that our specialists provide:

Underpinning

This solution may be used when a sinkhole or soil movement has caused the concrete slab to shift. Underpinning can only be used when solid bedrock runs below the upper layer of soil. Steel beams or piers will be installed from the home’s foundation down to the bedrock on all sides to enhance stability.

Helical Piers

Helical piers are generally installed before the construction of the home. This support system utilizes galvanized steel support beams with round shafts.

Micropiles

Micropiles are thinner beams that are installed in the bedrock below the surface of the ground. They are enhanced with grout so that they bond directly with the bedrock.

Poly Foam

Poly foam is a preferred home leveling solution when the foundation issue is relatively shallow. For example, a minor sinkhole may be less than 15 feet below the home’s foundation. The poly foam, which is a type of chemical grouting, is injected into the soil. This is an impermeable material that stabilizes loose soil. At the same time, it precisely lifts the foundation.

Compaction Grouting

With this method, hollow pipes are installed deep in the ground below the foundation. Grout is injected into the pipes. As the grout penetrates through the pipes and expands into gaps and cracks in the soil, the pipes are slowly lifted out of the ground. The grout ultimately fills in the sinkhole, and the pipes are removed.

Permeation Grouting

Permeation grouting is an advanced technique that is used when a foundation is mounted on gravel or sand. The installation process is similar to the compaction grouting process. However, in addition to supporting a home’s existing foundation, permeation grouting is commonly used to stabilize the ground when excavation work is completed nearby.

Mudjacking

Mudjacking is a relatively simple process compared to some of the other home leveling solutions. Cement or another bonding agent is injected into holes that have been drilled in the ground beneath the home. Through the injection process and the hardening of the cement or other material, the foundation is gently lifted and supported.

Which of these repair solutions is suitable for your situation? When you contact Helicon for assistance, we will complete an inspection as a first step. Through the results of the inspection, we can recommend one or a combination of solutions. Our team will also provide you with an estimate of the expense for each solution.

Whether you are remodeling your home soon, preparing to sell it, or improving its condition to protect its value and condition, now is the time to act. Contact our team today at Helicon to schedule a foundation inspection.