Your crawl space foundation home is on the schedule for some house leveling with Anchor Foundation Repair. You’re thinking, hmmm . . . what should I expect during the repair process? Ok, it might not be those particular words, it’s probably more like, “Um, what exactly is about to happen at my home? Is there anything I need to know or worry about?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been repairing Central Texas foundations since 1985. We know that homeowners often wonder and have questions about what to expect from the house leveling process, even when they don’t actually ask. So we’re going to go ahead tell you all about it so that you don’t have to worry *even one tiny little* bit.
This article will outline the general steps you will experience and address common concerns you might have as a homeowner when Anchor Foundation Repair comes to level a typical crawl space or pier and beam foundation home. Let’s get this party started . . .
What Steps Are There in Crawl Space Foundation Leveling?
Okay, there’s no actual partying involved on the part of Anchor Foundation Repair, but we do go through a basic process during a typical house leveling project. The steps are not always *one at a time* steps. Parts of the process sometimes happen simultaneously and sorta blend together but they are all going on in this basic order.
Here are the four basic house leveling steps you’re bound to encounter:
- Arrival – Unload, Orient, Prep and Measure
- Repair and/or Replace
This description is for a *kind of typical* house leveling project. So if you’re having more of a maintenance visit, it might be less work and less time. If you’re having an extensive project done on most of the home, it will be a lot more than this description.
If you have some subfloor that needs replacing, it will involve cutting into the crawl space from above. That’s a whole other enchilada that we won’t be covering in this article.
Before we get to the moment when our repair team knocks on your door, let’s quickly cover the time between when you sign the proposal and the team’s arrival. We don’t need to do much in advance of your project other than pack some supplies and materials.
We do not need to request a permit from the city for a typical crawl space foundation repair. We do not need to call 811 for a dig test either.
It’s a different story for slab-on-grade foundation repairs on these fronts, but for your average house leveling job, it is not needed.
Let’s review the 4 on-site steps in a bit more detail in the next section.
1. Arrival – Unload, Orient, Prep and Measure
When the Anchor Foundation Repair team arrives on-site, three things will begin to happen immediately and kind of simultaneously. We are keeping them all together in one step since it all happens at once on day one.
Most of the team will begin unloading preliminary materials (like some of the wood that will be needed and concrete blocks) and stacking them neatly on your property. The stack of materials will likely be near the planned access point to the crawl space or somewhere else that sets the stage for efficient work.
Orienting to the Property
The Project Manager and/or Foreman will need to come inside and take a look around to orient themselves to the project. They will have a written foundation repair plan already, but it’s different to look at a plan that someone else prepared on paper and the actual home.
The Foreman needs to get bearings on the property in real life by taking a look around inside at all the same things that were identified during the In-Home Assessment visit.
We will likely take pictures of signs of foundation issues you have in your home again. These photos serve as documentation in BuilderTrend (our project communication system) as well as to show the “before and after” results to homeowners. The Foreman will also knock on floors and communicate with the team in the crawl space to mark problem areas.
This time of orientation will help the team to best communicate about what needs to happen under the home to repair the problems you are seeing inside the home. We realize this might seem redundant, but we do it so that your home gets repaired thoroughly.
There is also a key team member that is identified as the *under-house lead* (not an official title) and he will access the crawl space right away to start checking out what needs to be done under the home.
Again, just because there is a written 2-dimensional plan on paper, doesn’t mean the team doesn’t need to get a handle on the job in 3-D and finalize plans to tackle the job.
Prep and Final Measure
If there is anything to prep as far as moving landscaping or protecting your home in some way, it will happen now. Also, the under-house leader will begin taking exact measurements for any materials that are still needed to purchase for your project. He will prepare a list for the Foreman to go and buy *all the right stuff* to get ‘er done.
The team will move any plant landscaping or hardscape on yard items that might be in the way of work. Although we make every effort to keep plants alive, we cannot guarantee it. We do take photos to make sure things get put back where we found them.
On pier and beam homes without exterior crawl space entry, the team will likely need to go in and out through an access hole inside the house to get under the home (this access was likely used during the inspection visit as well). Floors and walls will be covered and protected to keep things clean and avoid damage.
2. Repair and/or Replace Damaged Materials Under Home
If you need piers added or piers repaired, this is when that happens. If you need sill beams replaced, joists added, or any other wood under the home, this is when that happens.
Most of the team will be under the home, and one lucky team member is designated as the *guy who cuts all the wood* and hands any needed materials into the crawl space to others. So someone will be stationed outside the crawl space and using a saw to cut wood and hand both supplies and needed equipment to people.
This is when it feels like a lot is going on outside the home, but not much is changing for you on the inside. You might even start to wonder why your foundation is still unlevel at this point. It’s because they are setting the stage and getting all good material installed where it needs to be. This has to be done before the next step of raising and leveling.
3. Raising/Leveling Your Home
Now all the piers, sill beams, and any other deteriorated wood has been repaired or replaced. Bottle jacks have already been positioned under the home in key locations where your home needs to be raised. Now those jacks will start to work more of their magic. The team underneath and the man inside will work together to slowly raise the home back to its original position.
They will raise your home slowly, but this step actually doesn’t take a lot of time compared to other steps. Once the home is in position, it will be shimmed to secure it at the appropriate elevation.
During raising and leveling, there will be a lot of activity both in and under your home. Intense communication between the team underneath your home and inside will be taking place.
The goals the house leveling team is seeking to achieve with this Raising/Leveling step are to correct issues that have resulted from foundation settlement:
- Close wall cracks,
- Get doors opening and closing properly and with ease,
- Reconnect any finishes or trim that have separated,
- Stabilize shaky floors,
- Elevate and level sloping floors, and
- Return the home to its original elevation as much as the home will allow.
***Please Note: This does not mean that your home will be completely and 100% level in all areas when the repair team is through. But the house leveling team will attempt to correct as many of the signs of foundation issues in your crawl space home as possible and restore functionality without causing other damage to your home.
There are a few reasons why your home might not end up totally level even after the foundation repairs/house leveling takes place:
- Homes that have been in an unlevel state for so long can experience resistant warping. Try as we might to straighten everything, years of “memory” can’t be undone overnight. In these cases, we opt to leave some shims loose to allow for additional flattening over time.
- Sometimes an addition or remodel has taken place that prevents us from restoring it to level without damaging another key part of the home.
- Homes sometimes get built a little crooked, and some homes will never be flawlessly level unless you scrap the whole thing and start over.
- Homes are made by humans and repaired by humans and that means they ain’t never gonna be totally perfect.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, ain’t it? We’re putting everything back as it should be and cleaning up all of our equipment and materials.
What Should I Expect from a Pier and Beam Foundation Repair?
Now that you know what to expect as far as repair steps are concerned, what you really want to know is what do you need to worry about. Amiright? You might have questions like:
- Do I need to be there?
- Is it safe to be there?
- Is there going to be a lot of noise and when?
- What about my yard and house? Will it be messy?
- How long is this going to take again?
Let’s see . . . yes and no, yes, yes at various times, and yes and not really, and less than a week. Oh, was that too little detail for you? Haha, let me try again . . .
Do you need to be there?
If you want or need to, sure you can be there. But a lot of people have to work or would prefer not to be there so it’s really up to you. Just know that the Foreman will need to go in and out of your home at times. We do this all the time with the homeowners not around. Many homeowners are more than happy to leave us a key let us get to work!
P.S. If it were me, I wouldn’t want to be there . . . see later info about noise (but I’m a writer, and I don’t like noise).
Is it safe to be there?
Yes, a lot of the time there will just be dudes under your house and it’s perfectly safe and you can go about your business. Even during the raising process, you would not be in any mortal danger. It could even be *fun to watch* depending on your definition of fun anyway.
Is there going to be a lot of noise?
Yes at times, there will be some noise coming from power tools when wood is being cut or the team is communicating. This is probably an individual preference on noise toleration.
During the raising process, people will likely be yelling through the floors which could be a *tiny bit distracting* during your next Zoom meeting for work. So you might not want to be there for some steps because of some construction-y noise.
Will my yard and house be messy?
Do you mean will your yard and house be flawlessly company-ready at all times? No. We will be doing work around your home, both inside and out so you should expect some disruption to your everyday environment but we try to keep things contained.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we treat every home as if it were our own. Yes, there will be activity and construction going on, but we always make sure that things remain controlled, an organized work zone if you will. We tidy up at the end of each day and try to respect our homeowners’ property at every turn.
How long is this going to take?
For the most typical crawl space foundation repair project like we are talking about in this article, 2 to 4 days is a good approximation of how long house leveling should take. So repairing your pier and beam or crawl space home should take a week or less in most cases. Here’s a breakdown by steps:
½ Day for Arrival – Unload, Orient, Prep and Measure
1 to 3 Days for Repair/Replace
½ Day for Raising/Leveling
½ Day for Clean-Up
This is just an approximation of typical and fairly average house leveling project timeframes. Check in with the office if you can’t remember the projected timeline for your specific repairs.
House Leveling Can Be Delayed by Weather
These timeframes are all under the assumption that the weather remains dry. Unfortunately, rain and/or poor drainage conditions impact our ability to work effectively. Slogging around in the mud trying to make repairs isn’t optimal for your home. If jacks are sinking into the ground when it’s wet, we can’t lift.
How Will I Know What is Happening During My House Leveling?
Even with all this information and step-by-step details, you still might want to know more about what happens at your home each day. We hear ya . . .
One of the features that sets Anchor Foundation Repair apart from other repair companies is our attention to homeowner communication and transparency. After 35+ years of repairing foundations for our friends and neighbors in the Brazos Valley, we understand that folks just want to know what is going on at their house.
To keep every homeowner apprised of progress and tasks completed at their homes each day, we use BuilderTrend to keep you informed every step of the way. If you haven’t already logged in and gotten acquainted with our premier project communication system, check it out now.
Or if you need more convincing, then check out this article about what we use BuilderTrend for and why you should care.