House Leveling in Kansas City
When a house is sinking from its foundation’s original placement on the property, it’s necessary to lift the home and fix the faulty foundation, as well, in order to prevent future structural problems. Once you are able to repair your home’s foundation, the building will become level again.
Possible sources of structural damage may include foundation erosion, structural damage, volatile soil conditions, under-slab plumbing leaks, poor exterior drainage, and intrusive tree roots. Any of the above factors could contribute to sagging, uneven floors, or a sinking foundation.
Let’s examine a few major causes of foundation settling or heaving.
Foundation Settling or Heaving: Whys & Wherefores
The major cause of foundation failure is usually tied to water: when water permeates the soil beneath and around the foundation of a house, it can cause the walls to crack and foundation movement, including settling. Movement of foundations takes place in slab foundations, pier and beam foundations, and in homes with full basements, as well. If a foundation experiences a great deal of heaving or settling, it will eventually shift and crack.
If you live in an area of the country with a lot of clay in the soil, that clay is likely to want to expand and cause your foundation to move. When clay soil absorbs water, it exerts pressure on the foundation, heaving it upward. Afterward, however, the soil will dry and shrink, causing the foundation to settle and move downward. If there is poor exterior drainage, excessive water in the soil can contribute to the movement of your home’s foundation, also.
Another possible source of foundation heaving or settling is faulty plumbing: leaks in the pipes or from excessive landscape watering and improperly graded driveways, walkways, and patios can seep under the foundation, over-saturating the soil and causing foundation issues.
Common Signs Your House Needs Leveling
Here are a few telltale signs that your house needs to be leveled or stabilized:
- Uneven floors
- Cracks in the walls, ceilings, or floors
- Doors and windows that don’t open and shut easily
- Bowed or bulging walls
- Gaps where the ceiling and floor meet the walls
- Stairstep cracks in exterior brick or masonry
If you have determined that your home needs professional attention, do know that the methods utilized for repairing it back to its original state will depend on the type of foundation you have. Here’s a bit more information about each type.
The most common cause of foundation unevenness with slab foundations is soil that has become unstable. Although the earth beneath your foundation may have been unaffected, at first, environmental factors like extreme dryness or moisture at different times of the year can cause dramatic expansion and contraction.
If engineers come in to evaluate your foundation, they will likely decide to level the house by placing a variety of piers beneath the foundation to stabilize the structure. The house will be jacked up and placed back on the piers in order to complete the leveling process.
Pier and Beam Foundations
Pier and beam foundations tend to be susceptible to foundation failure since they are especially vulnerable to both water damage and termite infestations. Unlike houses with slab foundations, these homes have piers beneath them already. Therefore, they will need to be leveled by using steel l-beams to stabilize any damaged beams already there. The engineer will level the joist and girders beneath the house, then install new piers and beams with stronger materials. This will strengthen the existing foundation, leveling the house for years to come.
Crawl Space Foundation
Houses with crawl spaces beneath them are simpler to level than other types of foundations. One reason is that there is ample space to work with in a crawl space beneath the house. The structure won’t necessarily need to be jacked up in order to perform repairs. The easiest method is to use a chemical mixture to stabilize the soil beneath the home.
Braces and rods are effective tools for stabilizing sagging floors and damaged supports. Another approach is to fortify existing piers by installing pilings beneath them. The need to add or replace beams and piers will depend on the extent of damage that is there.
In order to prevent future foundation problems with your home, make sure that you keep excess moisture away from your foundation, directing runoff water to drain away from the house. Another good practice is to schedule regular sewer and other plumbing line inspections to check for any existing leaks beneath your house.
On the other hand, while excessive moisture is not helpful, it’s also possible that the soil around your house is too dry. Therefore, be sure to keep trees and other water-absorbing plants away from your house.
If you suspect your house is experiencing major foundation problems, it’s best to get in touch with professionals like Foundation 1 for a free consultation. We’d be happy to evaluate your home to determine the exact nature of your particular problem. Contact us today!