Leveling Your Foundation: Slabs, Piers, and More
May 12, 2020
It may not be easy to spot a sinking slab until it’s too late. If you’re worried about the state of your interior slab and foundation, it may be time to reach out to the professional contractors in your area. These contractors will be able to inspect your foundation for signs of sinkage and give you a free quote on the services needed to restore your home.
Types of Foundations
Home construction differs in various areas, but most homes have foundations that are either built on a slab or are basement-based. The differences between these foundations will change the way professional foundation and repair contractors propose lifting up your home.
These foundations differ as follows:
- Slab – Slab foundations are typically made out of concrete that’s been poured in a cohesive slab. The perimeter of the slab is typically broader than the interior, and it uses a beam to support its overall weight.
- Basement Foundation – Basement foundations marry slab foundations with a below-grade area. Construction teams will first dig out an area and place support beams as necessary. Then they’ll lay down the concrete slab that serves as your basement floor.
Signs Of An Uneven Slab
If your foundation or interior slab is sinking, it may be sinking slowly enough that you don’t immediately notice the change. That’s where working with a professional can work in your favor. By bringing in a new set of eyes, you’ll benefit from an outside opinion on the state of your home. Professional contractors will also be able to help identify other signs of an uneven slab.
The symptoms of a sinking foundation include but are not limited to:
- Sagging floors
- Doors jamming
- Cracks in your floor
- Wall cracks
- Stuck windows
What Does House Leveling Involve?
As mentioned, professional foundation and basement repair contractors will need to know what kind of foundation your home has before properly lifting it. The lifting process, in turn, will vary.
The most common way your home will be permanently stabilized from settling will involve the installation of piers underneath the foundation. Piers not only reinforce your home’s foundation, but they can help lift it back to its original level position.
Local foundation repair contractors have different pier systems available depending on your foundation and the extent of the settling and damage. Here is a look at a few of those options:
- Push Piers: These are the most commonly used piers to help repair and protect homes suffering from foundation settlement. Sections of galvanized steel columns are mechanically advanced into the soil to more stable strata beneath the home to properly stabilize the structure. Once the piers reach the desired depth, they are connected to a bracket attached to the foundation footing, and the home’s weight is transferred to the piers.
- Helical Piers: Helical piers are very similar to push piers in their purpose, except these solutions with round-shaft helicals are “screwed” into the ground. They are best used for lighter structures like porches, patios, and even chimneys.
- Slab Piers: As their name suggests, these piers are specifically used on slab foundations. They are installed the same as the other piers, and they also permanently stabilize the foundation and can help lift it back to level.
It’s also worth noting that some interior slab floors in basements and garages also can be repaired with the PolyRenewal concrete lifting and leveling system. Be sure to talk to your local repair professional to see if this could be a solution for your particular repair needs.
House Leveling Versus Foundation Repair: When Do You Need Them?
When it comes to the care and keeping of your home, it can be difficult to know which solutions you need to employ and when. Such is the case with house leveling and foundation repair.
Housing leveling and foundation repair, while similar in their intentions, aren’t quite the same thing. House leveling specifically involves lifting a home’s foundation back into position. If you don’t level your home after it starts to sink, you risk losing access to previous amenities and decreasing its overall value.
Foundation repair, comparatively, infrequently involves reinforcing the foundation walls with supports like wall anchors, beams, or carbon fiber supports. Wall anchors and IntelliBrace beam systems permanently reinforce the cracking, bowing walls, and can be tightened at intervals during dry periods to potentially improve the walls. Carbon fiber supports are best to use on less severely cracking or tilting walls, as they will hold the walls in their current positions and prevent any further damage. That said, if you don’t act quickly to repair your foundation after it’s been damaged, you may eventually have to have it lifted.
Are you ready to take back your home? Reach out to discuss the state of your slab or other foundation with one of our brand companies serving your area ASAP.