Can Foundation Repair Be A DIY Job
A home’s foundation is the bottom-most layer that provides the support for a home. Depending on the part of the country, the size of the home and when it was built, the type of foundation may vary. Concrete slab foundations are the most common; some are built to sustain crawl spaces or basements. Other foundation types are pier and beam, pile and spread foundations. Regardless of the type, all will require at some point foundation repair. Signs of a foundation in need of repair include cracks in the walls, bricks, drywall, tile or even the foundation itself. Other signs are sticky doorjambs and windows, sloping floors, cracking or separating chimneys or fascia board. In some cases, mold may accumulate in the cracks. Whether too much or not enough, water is the main culprit in foundation repair cases. Over-saturated soil expands pushing into the home and foundation and over time loses stability, causing the foundation to again move and crack. Dry soil on the other hand contracts, pulling away from the perimeter of the home, leaving little support for the foundation, causing shifts and cracks.
When foundation problems begin to appear it is crucial to repair them as soon as possible. Early foundation repairs may prevent further problems down the road and save money on more extensive repairs. Unaddressed foundation problems may lead to damaged plumbing, buckled walls and cabinets or mantles coming apart from walls. Worse yet, broken or damaged plumbing may lead to leaks and mold. In our age of Do It Yourself (DIY) and easy to follow instructional videos, it can be tempting to attempt foundation repairs on your own. This however, is not often a recommended course of action. There are easy preventative and maintenance steps that can be taken such as watering your foundation during dry seasons, ensuring proper drainage during wet seasons. Other best practices include keeping the south and west sides of the home shaded, but also ensuring trees and shrubs are far enough from the house to prevent roots from growing into the foundation. True foundation repair is best left to a professional who understands the structural soundness of your home, has the most current knowledge, tools and equipment for foundation repair. Repairing your home’s foundation isn’t only about eliminating cracks in walls or evening sloping floors. It involves getting underneath your home, using heavy equipment and installing repairs that will last. Along with stable and staying repair work, your foundation must remain safe. Poorly repaired foundations not only lead to more foundation problems, but compromise the safety of your home and most likely won’t pass inspection.
To ensure the best possible foundation repair, consulting and hiring the foundation repair professional you feel most comfortable with is essential. Interview foundation repair companies to find their area of expertise and to obtain bids. Based on your research, then ask for referrals to obtain customer insight into the company and process. Ask the companies about warranties, guarantees, how they handle unexpected findings that increase the initial bid and cost estimate. Also ask them how they propose to repair the damaged foundation and what to expect about the time of the project and any pre-project work you will need to do. Some repairs require that mantels and walls are emptied or basements cleared out. A little bit of homework can save your home a lot of work!
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