How do you know if your house needs leveling?
You were recently at a friend’s house and they said their house was leveled recently. Since you’re sitting inside it, you realize they didn’t mean it was leveled as in “gone”. Instead, what they meant was they have recently had house leveling done, getting their house on even level.
Here in Texas, every homeowner should know two things about their house: One) If it doesn’t have termites, it will. Two) If you haven’t needed house leveling yet, you will. Texas isn’t the only place that you can be almost certain that the foundation is going to settle unevenly.
Foundation issues shouldn’t be ignored either. There is more than just the doors and windows that won’t close or open. An uneven house can cause structural damage and plumbing issues too. The sooner you have a house leveling service done, the better. If you aren’t having issues with the doors and windows, there are other issues that indicate your home needs house leveling:
- Visible wall cracks: A definite indication the foundation of your home needs house leveling are visible wall cracks. A home with brick exterior with cracks in the mortar are a definite indicator.
- Basement walls bowing: There aren’t many homes with basements in Texas, but those that have a basement and notice the walls are leaning inward is an indication the foundation is shifting. Have a house leveling inspection done as soon as possible before you find the ground level of your house is below the ground.
- Lopsided, sloped floors: A home with a pier and beam foundation that has lopsided, sloping, and uneven flooring or floors that sag are an indication that house leveling is needed.
- Ceiling and walls gap: When a foundation shifts, it can produce a gap between the ceiling or crown molding and the walls, doors, and windows. When you notice these gaps, it is time to call for a house leveling quote.
- Doors and windows sticking: As we mentioned earlier, sticking doors and windows are an indicator of foundation issues. House leveling will make those doors and windows close and open easily and completely.
How does house leveling work?
There are a few things that can cause foundation settling that only house leveling can help:
- A Water Leak – Common in Texas for underground water pipes to bust or crack and cause the foundation to settle and shift.
- The Soil Type – A good part of Texas has clay soil which expands and swells when wet then shrinks when it dries. This ground movement isn’t cohesive with foundations.
- Preparing a Lot – Many houses in developments are built in lots that have been filled with dirt to create a higher ground. That fill dirt starts to settle, the foundation settles with it.
These all lead to the need for house leveling, which is when professional contractors will lift your home and place supporting beams, blocks, and other materials under it. House leveling restores a home to its original position and ensures the foundation is stable and sturdy.
How do I level my house myself?
If your house is a wood frame pier and beam structure, it will have a crawl space that makes it convenient for water pipe repairs, termite treatment or other troubles that would be a bigger issue if on a cement slab.
The one downside to a pier and beam house in this part of the country, the footings that support the house may settle, the wooden beams sag, and that creates the need for house leveling.
While it isn’t a complicated process, it isn’t easy and if not done right, can cause more problems than it helps. Even the adventurous DIY homeowner will step back and let a professional handle this task.
The house leveling for pier and beam task requires using house jacks, cinderblocks, and wooden beams, along with a level and several helping hands. This is not a one-person task and may not be completed in one day either.
How do you jack up a house to level it?
Here, we provide the steps for leveling house with jacks. Again, you’ll need some help because it is not possible to level an entire house solo. The bigger the house, the more help you’ll need:
- Step One: It is recommended to have a structural engineer inspection to check the damage before you and your help begin crawling under the house for this task.
- Step Two: Taking a level with you, crawl under the house then place the level on the beams running under the house. If the bubble isn’t in the center of the level, then that area needs house leveling.
- Step Three: Check the beams and floor condition, if they are warped, they need to be replaced. Then check the beam level again. If you’re lucky, that fixed the house leveling need.
- Step Four: Using a chalk line, mark the low areas of the foundation and position a floor jack under each one. Ideally, you have one person per jack. After positioning jacks all around the house, at the same time, every person needs to raise their house jack slowly at the same time. One person needs to be under the house checking the beams with the level until all beams are even.
- Step Five: Measure the new height beside each jack between the beam and ground. Create new piers with the cinderblocks and position them next to the spots that are jacked-up. You should have various sizes of cinderblocks and use them as needed to create the right height needed.
- Step Six: Simultaneously, lower the jacks and pull them out.
Is it safe to live in a house with foundation problems?
That depends on how bad the foundation is, but in most cases, yes, it safe. The soil and weather conditions change in Texas, but houses are built to withstand the pressure and stress that come with those different conditions. Because most homes in Texas don’t have a basement, that fear of a collapsed basement wall isn’t an issue for us.
However, it the foundation sinks more to one side than the others, it will affect how your furniture sits, the doors and windows open, and it can damage the plumbing and the structure itself. The sooner you can have a professional house leveling service inspect your home and give you an estimate on house leveling, the better.
Who Pays For House Leveling?
Of course, anything to do with your home, the first question is often, “Does homeowners insurance cover house leveling?”, and as it is with other things with you homeowners, it depends. Every policy is different. When it comes to natural disasters, the foundation is covered with the rest of your home. However, there are many foundation issues that may be excluded from your policy. It is recommended to become familiar with your policy and the different events that it will cover what and when. Need house leveling in Dallas-Fort Worth Area, TX? Call 817-400-7625 today.