What does leveling a house mean?

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Reliable Options for Your Home

In Texas, and other states, the ground moves. It rises, and it sinks, and when it does, it moves structural objects with it, like houses. That leads to homes needing leveling,raising it back to its original position. When a homeowner hears the words like “house leveling,” just like hearing the phrase foundation repair or a new roof, money flashes before their eyes. 

Luckily, house leveling doesn’t always cost a small fortune as people think. However, it does require the services of experienced house leveling contractors to do have it done. Just like repairing or replacing your roof, leveling a house isn’t a weekend DIY project. It does pay for a homeowner to have a basic understanding of house leveling and why it is important. So, keep reading as we answer some typical questions with what we feel are explanations that make you an informed homeowner. 

How do you know if your house needs leveling?

There are some houses you can tell simply by looking at it and tell it needs leveling, usually older homes. The following signs will tell you house leveling is necessary: 

  • Floors are Uneven
    • For an older home, having uneven floors is typical, but is it just a characteristic of the house, or is it a structural problem? A slight sagging in the center of the floor is a charming characteristic. However, if a floor that slopes to one side is most likely a structural issue that needs to be addressed by a professional contractor that specializes in house leveling and moving. 
  • House with a Lean
    • Very few, if any, houses are perfectly level, and we either don’t notice it or simply adapt to it. However, one area that you shouldn’t change to is a house that has a significant visible lean to one side or the other.  Stand across the street from your home, in all directions, and look at it. If there is a distinct lean in any direction, your house has structural issues that needs expert house leveling. If you can’t make a parallel line between a front corner and the opposite back corner of the house, you need house leveling.  
  • Horizontal Foundation Cracks 
    • House foundations crack, it’s common no matter the age of the house, but when the cracks are horizontal, that’s not a good thing. Especially if there are several, and they are deep into the foundation.
  • Vertical Foundation Cracks
    • Most new foundations are going to develop small cracks vertically from the concrete curing. They will crack as wide one-eighth of an inch and not affect the structure. These cracks aren’t worthy of a house leveling job; however, they do allow leakage. This is a flaw that can be remedied by a foundation repair or house leveling expert by pre-cracking the foundation then perform house leveling with foam. This material is a flexible foam that will allow the foundation and house to move with the ground.
  • Cracking Plaster: 
    • Not all plaster cracks indicate house leveling is needed, like a crack that measures less than one-fourth of an inch where two walls meet. Or the small cracks above a door. The cracking plaster that is indicating house leveling is necessary are cracks that are bigger than one-fourth of inch wide or a crack that is running diagonally across a wall. Or when interior cracks are in the same area as an exterior crack, there are likely to be structural issues, and house leveling would be recommended. 

Can you live in a house with foundation problems?

An uneven foundation can have serious, but that doesn’t mean it does or will. Yes, the foundation of your home is what the entire house sits. That is a lot of value and a lot of weight. So, it makes sense if the foundation is weak, the whole house is vulnerable. 

The naked eye doesn’t always see foundation problems, but when it does see a crack, it doesn’t necessarily mean catastrophe. A small, insignificant crack can be covered up cosmetically with patching. Any major cracks could be there are significant problems that may need to be addressed, like house leveling.

If you have a little sag on the living room floor, you can live with that, and it isn’t like the floor is going to cave in. Therefore it isn’t a safety issue. However, larger cracks could mean there is a water leak under the slab, and that can become a health issue with mildew and mold. 

Can a sinking foundation be fixed?

A house built on a cement slab isn’t likely to sink, but it will become unlevel. House leveling would be possible with load-bearing piers buried into the ground under the house. They will lift and stabilize the sinking foundation. In some cases, house leveling experts will use helical piers to level a sinking house. 

How do you level a house foundation?

The type of foundation a house has will determine the process of house leveling. There are several methods for house leveling, and for a concrete slab foundation, house leveling will begin with excavation under the house, meaning digging out the dirt to a certain depth. Then either concrete piers or steel pilings will put in place to level the house. 

Can you level your own house?

Maybe. If you have the means, equipment, and physically, to raise a foundation and place concrete or steel pilings in the areas need, then yes. If your house has a pier and beam foundation, yes, this is relatively easier than a slab foundation.

It is essential to realize that house leveling is a tedious job, and those experienced at house leveling have the equipment, tools, and, most of all, experience. With a house leveling service, the work should have a guarantee or warranty with the job, so if there are any issues, a crew will return to fix the problem.

House leveling for pier and beam structure isn’t difficult, but it is hard work. It requires crawling under the house and jacking it up in the low places. The process can take several jacks, typically bottle jacks or scissor jacks are used in this case, and once the house is deemed level on the jacks, you placed cement blocks and wood in the areas until it is even with the jacks. In the decades before formal house leveling was discovered, homeowners would use a variety of materials to level a house, like old car wheels and other heavy, sturdy items. 

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Leveling Out This Piece

Every house has a foundation, and over time, that foundation will crack, settle, sink, and rise with the ground movement. House leveling and foundation repair are unarguably an essential part of a home’s stability. With the weight of a house, it is crucial to make sure your home is secure and stable on its foundation.