The Key Elements of House Leveling
Having a home leveled should not take a degree to understand. That is why we wrote this quick guide to assist you in understanding the fundamentals of house leveling. By the end of this brief article, you will know the five key elements that go into leveling a home, and you will have enough information to call for the right solution to your home leveling issue. Now, let’s start at the beginning. What is house leveling?
1. What is House Leveling?
House leveling is a foundation repair process that lifts a home that has settled or is uneven, back to a practical level. A home that is not level is not safe, has lost value and may affect your day-to-day life. With the first question out of the way, let’s look at why your house is unlevel.
2. Why Is My House Unlevel?
Homes become unlevel because of uneven settlement. When a home is first built, the foundation will settle naturally into the soil in a uniform manner. Uneven settlement takes places when sections of your home settle into the soil at different rates. This uneven rate of settlement can cause several issues.
What causes uneven settlement?
Poorly Compacted Soil: Before a home is built, the builder will create a stronger base for your foundation to sit upon by using a pressure roller to compact the soil. If this process was done incorrectly or improperly engineered, uneven settlement may occur.
Poor Soil Conditions: If a foundation is built upon expansive soil, uneven settlement could be an issue. Expansive soil contains a large amount of clay and is consistently expanding and contracting. This puts stress on the foundation of a home. When the soil gets wet, it expands, when it dries, it shrinks. This process is a cycle that takes place over-and-over throughout the year. Especially in heavy storm prone areas such as Houston.
Poor Water Drainage: As mentioned, water in the soil can cause a multitude of issues for a home foundation. Depending on your soil type, water can even wash away soil, leaving behind voids under the foundation. When water pools around your foundation, it creates expansion and can up heave a home.
Tree Roots: Tree roots can affect your home foundation in two ways. First, a tree that is planted too close to a home that has a large root system can actually crawl under the foundation and push it up. Second, trees need water to grow and they remove that water from the soil. A tree root that is near your foundation will drink the moisture and create a void in the soil.
Incremental Weather: In Houston, we see major changes in the weather almost daily. During the summer months, it is hot, and the soil is very dry. This can change with a flash-flood storm and the soil becomes overly moist in a short period of time. This back-and-forth can cause major issues in the Houston area, especially because of the expansive soil throughout the region.
3. When Do You Need House Leveling?
Here are 10 signs you need house leveling.
– Your doors and windows stick and/or are hard to open and close.
– Your floors are uneven or sinking in areas.
– There is separation in your wall and the floor.
– You have cracks in your sheetrock.
– You have cracks in the mortar on the outside of your home.
– You have cracks in the corners of your doors and windows.
– Your chimney is leaning and pulling away from the rest of the home.
– Your moldings are separating from your walls.
– Your countertops are not level.
– Your tile is cracking or separating from your foundation.
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4. How to Level a Home
Leveling a home should be completed by a professional, however, as a homeowner, you should understand how the process works. Underpinning is the best way to re-level a home. Concrete push piles are the number one repair method used in the United States and, for good reason – they work.
Concrete piles are pushed into the ground under your home until they reach soil that is strong enough to stop them from being pushed further down. Once the piles reach this soil, hydraulic jacks push down on the concrete pile and force the home back into place. This is done in all areas around the home to bring the foundation back to maximum level.
5. How To Stop A Home From Becoming Unlevel
The main reason a home becomes unlevel is because of uneven settlement of the foundation in the soil. The goal is to avoid this type of settlement. As mentioned earlier, a majority of this settlement results from too much moisture in the soil. To avoid unnecessary moisture in the soil, apply the following systems.
– Add a French drain in your yard.
– Add gutters and 4ft downspout extensions.
– Ensure your landscape is graded properly away from your home foundation.
– Add a drain tile system around your pool.
AAA Foundation Service
If you live in the Houston area and need house leveling, there is only one call to make. Trust the professionals of AAA Foundation Service to provide honest information about your home leveling issues. Call us today and we will get you setup with an in-depth inspection, free repair estimate, and a list of solutions.
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