Older homes have been known to adjust over time, due to either an improperly laid foundation or shifts in the earth they sit on. If you want to have your home leveled, the first step is calling a contractor who understands foundations and what causes them to become damaged. A professional contractor has the necessary tools and experience to correct the situation and restore your home to its original condition.
Determine the Cause of Your Damage
A contractor with structural engineering experience can perform an in-depth assessment and determine what is causing the problems with your foundation. Once they identify the cause, they can begin to correct the problem and start to take the necessary measures to level your home. The first step is to assess the condition of the wood flooring, if areas are compromised in any way, the beams/boards/joists will have to be replaced. Finding the cause is essential if you want your home to remain level.
Finding the Low Areas
In order to find out where the low areas are, we use a spirit level placed along different beams throughout the foundation. Place the level on the foundation's beams and watch the bubble closely. If it is off-center, the structure is not level and must be adjusted to correct the foundation. By running a line along the outside of the foundation, we will mark any low spots that need to be addressed.
Raise It Up
A heavy-duty floor jack will be placed in each of the low areas so that the beams can be gradually lifted. In order for the jacks to be lifted at the same time, a person must be assigned to each one. Moving the jacks is a slow process and each one will have to be moved independently to ensure that the house is leveled correctly. It's important to continually monitor the level to ensure that each area is moving as it should.
Two Types of Piers
Once the home is leveled, there are two types of piers that can be used for support. Each type of pier is designed to be used in certain situations. A driven concrete pier uses solid concrete piers that are driven into the ground until they reach a point where they can go no further. A pile guard pier uses mold-formed joint guards that are made from a durable polymer. The joints connect the concrete piles that have been driven into the ground.
Measure and Secure the Foundation
Once the piers are put in place, solid concrete caps can be put in place to secure the foundation. We will then measure the distance between the piers and the foundation. With the cap in place, metal shims and concrete cylinders can then be used to secure the foundation. Cylinders can range in length allowing you to choose the exact size needed to complete the process.
Remove the Jacks
Once the entire foundation shows true and level, the hydraulic floor jacks can then be removed. We may choose to leave the jacks in place for a short period of time to ensure there are no more issues with the shifting of the ground. Remove the jacks slowly and use the level after each one to ensure the piers and any other supports being used remain in place.
As a house settles, it can change, and sometimes damage, the overall structure of the building. There are ways to correct the problem. While some may attempt to do the job themselves, they may overlook certain steps in the process that may further the damage instead of correct it. Hiring a professional contractor ensures that every step in the process is followed correctly and that your home will be returned to its original condition. They can also ensure that any damage to the structure is also repaired.