Your home is showing signs of foundation settlement and you are thinking about whether foundation repair is right for you. You’ve heard some people say that foundation repairs can cause other damage or problems with your home. Will more stuff get messed up inside? What about your landscaping?
After 35+ years serving the Brazos Valley, Anchor Foundation Repair has repaired thousands of slab and crawl space foundation homes through the years. We see the process firsthand every day and know what does and does not happen. We can tell you the truth about the potential for damage around your home when it comes to foundation repair.
This article will address the rumor that foundation repair will cause other problems with your home during the process. We will outline what damage possibly could and should not happen during the foundation repair process and explain any exceptions.
Will My Home Be Damaged By Foundation Repairs?
We know that homeowners have worries and have heard horror stories when it comes to the foundation repair process. Friends, family, neighbors, and the interwebs leave you expecting the worst when it comes to foundation repair.
Theoretically, the idea with foundation repair is for things to improve and be better. Repairmen like to fix things, not break things. Most foundation repair contractors are going to take pride in doing a good job and take precautions to make sure unnecessary damage does not occur.
In reality, you’re starting with a home that is already under stress and pressure from foundation settlement forces. Some finishes could “get worse” during the repair process because things have become misaligned all around. Bringing things back into alignment after being out of whack for so long can cause some cosmetic issues to appear.
In mega-brief summary:
- Foundation repairs should not cause more damage to the home.
- Mostly, signs of foundation issues should improve with foundation repairs.
- But in reality, a few things could happen that might need to be addressed.
Some issues that pop up are things within the scope of work of the foundation repair contractor. Anything that is not specifically covered in the terms and conditions for your slab foundation repair, is something that homeowners would be responsible for getting fixed afterward.
We don’t say this to scare you, but just to be frank that some things will fall into your realm of responsibility if they happen and you want them fixed. Be sure you are 100% clear on what is and is not included in your foundation repair company’s contract. We don’t give people those documents *just for funsies* as they do state important info for homeowners.
What Should Happen During the Foundation Repair Process?
In most cases, here is what should happen during the foundation repair process to improve the signs of foundation problems you are setting in your home:
- Wall cracks should close up after the home is raised.
- Doors should be aligned and open, close, and latch properly.
- Trim and built-ins should return to their correct location and alignment with walls.
- Brick cracks should close up better than before but might not all the way.
- Floor slope should improve but might not be 100% perfect.
What Damage Shouldn’t Happen During Foundation Repairs?
Most of the time, damage should not occur. Here are things that people hear stories about happening that are really quite rare.
- You should not get MORE or new cracks in your walls.
- Your floors should not get ruined.
- Windows should not break.
- Countertops should not break.
- Landscaping should not be destroyed but is at risk depending on the contractor.
We cannot speak for every foundation repair contractor out there, but in general, these are things that should not regularly happen. That’s not to say that an inexperienced or poorly trained company or individual can’t mess things up. It would be an unlikely occurrence for the most part. But there are always exceptions . . .
Exceptions to Foundation Repair Causing Damage to Your Home
Listen, we’ve all got to be realistic here and understand that foundation repair companies are not miracle workers either. There are some big exceptions to this general rule of foundation repair not causing further damage to your home. You could need further repairs in five major instances, one very likely and the others much less likely.
- Drywall cracks will be closed up, but not “repaired” by a foundation repair contractor.
- Any home that has already been remodeled in an unlevel state.
- Random accidents happen caused by the repair crew.
- Interior foundation settlement requiring interior repair work.
- Risks to plumbing lines under the home during the raising process.
We will go into more detail on these, don’t worry. Just know that even the most talented and experienced foundation repair crew won’t be mending your wall cracks and can’t prevent remodel finishes placed on an unlevel home to stay right where they are if your foundation is adjusted.
1. Drywall Cracks
The number one thing that is sometimes worse than when foundation repair begins is drywall cracks. You may have existing patched-up wall cracks and they will likely reappear when your foundation is raised.
Cracks in walls can reappear and still need repair after your foundation is raised and leveled. This is the most common issue homeowners are surprised by after foundation repairs take place. They expect their walls to look perfect, and they’re likely not going to.
The vast majority of foundation repair contractors don’t patch, repair, or replace drywall. We leave that job for a drywall contractor’s expertise. Trust me, you do not want foundation repair guys doing it anyway, it’s not our thing.
Why Do Wall Cracks Come Back?
Cracks in drywall never really “go away.” They are just patched over and cosmetically covered. Drywall doesn’t self-mend and regenerate. It would be so cool if it did, but alas, it’s not skin.
Unless you actually go in and replace, re-tape/float, and repaint all cracked drywall, those cracks are still under there even if they got closed up during foundation repairs.
Any later subtle movement of your foundation down the road or even typical or seasonal expansion and contraction from humidity or heat conditions inside your home can bring patched drywall cracks back to visibility.
2. An Already Remodeled Home
We always recommend that foundation repair get done on a home before remodeling. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way, unfortunately. Tile, paint, new trim, new fixtures, or cabinetry gets put in the home in an unlevel state. So when you go to level it, then all that new stuff gets moved or stressed or simply does not align anymore after foundation repairs.
A home that was remodeled after foundation settlement has occurred is a major instance when damage is very likely to occur during the foundation repair process. Here are a few things that we have seen happen on our repair projects:
- Tile flooring comes loose or cracks
- A countertop that becomes unlevel after repair
- Doors that have to be sanded down to make them fit
- Showers, tubs, or a backsplash that needs to be regrouted
There are times when we will only stabilize a home (rather than raise and level it) and that’s when a remodel would be severely impacted by the act of foundation raising and repair.
3. Random Accidents
Of course, there’s the *human error* factor. Sometimes people just mess up. An inexperienced worker or a newer company might not be as good at avoiding accidents. Here are a few random things that could happen, but they are not common and should not even really be expected.
- A window gets broken by accident
- A shovel falls over and breaks something (shutters, landscape lighting, potted plants)
- A hole gets punched in a soffit/overhang
- A ceiling fan or light fixture gets bumped by long-handled equipment
4. Interior Settlement
For most of this article, we are talking about your typical foundation repair job that only requires work outside and under the home. In cases of interior settlement, it’s a very different animal but it is also not as common.
***Only about 10% of homes need interior work due to interior settlement problems, so this is not something that applies to most foundation repair projects. You will know from your foundation inspection visit if this is the case for you.
In cases of interior foundation settlement, your flooring can be impacted depending on your flooring type. If you have carpet, it could need to be restretched if it’s not replaced. For tile, wood, or types of vinyl flooring, holes will get cut in the flooring that will require some type of repair or many people opt to replace flooring after an interior foundation settlement repair project.
5. Plumbing Under Home
Plumbing lines could already be damaged before your home has foundation repairs. Foundation work often reveals existing problems with cracked, broken, deteriorating, or leaking drain lines. The act of raising a foundation can also sometimes cause drain lines to separate.
***About 25% of homes that experience foundation repair will need some plumbing repairs too. So this doesn’t apply to everyone, but for one in four homes, this issue could come up or be an existing problem.
So, does foundation repair cause damage to your plumbing? Maybe, but far more likely there was already a problem in the first place that will need to get handled as well. We’ve got an article specifically about plumbing issues and foundation problems you can check out too.
Will My Landscaping Get Damaged by Foundation Repair?
Every company is going to be different in how carefully they handle your outside environment. Since there will be a lot of outdoor construction work around your home, I would expect something to not quite turn out perfectly.
Here are some things you might see happen to your yard and/or landscaping, though we would hope that it would be minimal:
- Landscaping could get trimmed back if it is in the way of work
- Damage to small grasses or ground covers around the home that should grow back
- Ruts in the yard if conditions were very wet during the project
- Shrubs that don’t make it through relocation and replanting
If you are very concerned about landscaping damage, we recommend talking through your concerns with your chosen foundation repair company and finding out how they handle things. Like I said, every company is different and some will be more careful than others.
What Should I Worry About During Foundation Repairs?
Wall cracks will probably be the biggest issue that you might need to handle after foundation repairs if you want cracks cosmetically concealed. If your home settled and then was remodeled, you might end up with some additional repairs to handle too.
But in general, you should not worry that things are going to get messed up during the foundation repair process. Getting foundation repair should not further damage your home. Again, repairmen are trying to fix things, not make them worse.
But also know that some contractors are more careless, while others are more conscientious. Choosing a foundation repair company with integrity and experience is probably the thing you should worry about the most and take the most care in selecting.
Choose the right contractor and your worries should go away because you trust them to do a great job for you.
Choosing the Right Foundation Repair Company
Now that you realistically know what to expect with regards to damage around your home during foundation repair, focus on what you can control. Choosing the right foundation repair company is the most important thing you can do to prevent damage and problems from occurring during the process.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have repaired thousands of homes in the Brazos Valley area since 1985. We do everything we can to make your home look better than when we found it. We take pride in treating your home like our own and have refined our processes and take precautions to make sure unnecessary damage does not occur.
If we break something on accident, we take care of it. We transplant landscaping to keep it safe and put it back when we are done. We take steps to prevent damage to your home and lawn and spend lots of time prepping and protecting things.
Most importantly, we communicate, educate, and inform you of potential problems we see so that you know what to expect.
Choosing the right contractor is your best defense against damage and we encourage homeowners to “shop around.” Here’s a great list of questions to ask any prospective foundation repair contractor you are thinking of hiring, even if it’s another company.