do I have to move out?

Do I Have to Move Out of My Crawl Space Home During House Leveling?

Your pier and beam or crawl space foundation needs some work. Do you have to move out with house leveling repairs? Is moving out of the house required in all cases or what?

You’re concerned about your home’s safety and stability, but you’re also worried about what happens during the process and how to plan for it. You’ve got to know before you commit to repairs so that you can make arrangements if needed.

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we’ve been repairing all types of Brazos Valley foundations – including crawl space homes – for 35+ years. We can answer this question generally whether you’re using us for your repairs or another company elsewhere.

This article answers the question of whether you have to move out during crawl space foundation repairs. *Spoiler Alert* The answer is mostly no, but sometimes yes. We will elaborate and explain the situations when you can stay and when you’ve got to go and why.

Please note: this article is for pier and beam or crawl space homes. If you have a slab-on-grade foundation, some of this info will be different or not apply. Here’s an article answering the *move-out* question for slab homes.

Will Crawl Space Foundation Repairs Require Moving Out?

Will I have to move out of my crawl space home during foundation repairs?” 

The answer is mostly no. This is the inherent beauty of an elevated foundation home – you can get under it for many kinds of repairs, including most crawl space foundation repairs. In about 90 to 95% of the crawl space homes we repair, moving out is not needed. So the majority of homeowners will not have to move out. I’m sure you’re relieved to hear this.

move out during foundation repairs and house leveling

In the other 5 to 10% of the homes we repair, however, moving out is either absolutely necessary or probably better for you. We feel like these percentages are universally true, no matter what house leveling company you’re using as long as they approach repairs the same way that we do. 

Here’s what we mean by approach: some house leveling companies might insist on doing all repairs through top-down access meaning you moving out in all cases. But we prefer to keep you in your home unless moving out is absolutely necessary.

Read more on repair approach methods in this article: Pier & Beam Foundation Repair: Are There Different Methods?

When You DON’T Have to Move Out for House Leveling

You can generally remain in your home during house leveling foundation repair when the work only involves fixing anything under the home that can be replaced or repaired *without* top-down access. In other words, the workers can get under your house and repair/replace the needed materials without coming in and turning your home into a construction zone.

For the 90 to 95% of homes where you can stay put during crawl space foundation repairs, the work involves fixing or adding particular structural elements under your home like:

do you have to move out during crawl space foundation repairs?
It’s easy to work in a crawl space like this.

A crawl space house leveling crew stays mostly outside the house to complete these repairs. In other words, no major work continuously happens inside your living space. It’s all done on the outside and underneath. It’s also safe for you to remain on site, carrying on with your daily life.

There may be a bit of noise and outdoor disarray during the process, but it’s typically not disruptive enough to necessitate moving out for the repairs to take place. 

You Don’t Have to Move – But People Have to Come Inside Sometimes

Now this is not to say that no one will ever need to come inside during the crawl space repair process. The house leveling contractor would need to come in at certain times.

The time you need to accommodate a repair team inside your home is primarily during the lifting phase. They’ll monitor the raising process to ensure everything goes smoothly and that any settlement problem symptoms get corrected. 

do you have to move out when having foundation repair on your pier and beam home?

For example, they would be checking to see that wall cracks are closed up and doors are all working properly once the home is raised back into position.

This is daytime work that does not result in your home turning into a construction zone, it’s just a guy or two coming in and out of your home checking on things. This article reviews our typical crawl space foundation repair process.

*Exception Alert* Okay there’s actually one other (rare) situation where a crawl space foundation repair crew would need to come into and out of your home frequently: when you don’t have an exterior access opening into your crawl space. 

do you have to move out for house leveling?
Crawl space access through a cabinet!

Most of the time, there’s a larger vent opening or some kind of little door that allows someone to crawl in and get under your home from your yard. However, some pier and beam homes were not built with a way to get into the crawl space from the outside. 

Every so often, we run across a pier and beam home where the only access point is somewhere inside the house. Sometimes this access opening is easy to find but sometimes we discover the door/entry point hidden in the bottom of a closet or even the bottom of a cabinet. 

Should you have a pier and beam home without exterior crawl space access, the repair team would have to come in and out quite a bit throughout the process. You wouldn’t be required to move out, but people will be in and out. 

You’ll have to decide if you’re okay with that or would rather be elsewhere during the daytime work hours while the crew is onsite.

When You DO Have to Move Out During Crawl Space Repairs

In 5 to 10% of cases, crawl space foundation repair will require move-out for a couple of reasons:

  1. You need subfloor replacement, or
  2. Your crawl space has extremely low clearance, or
  3. Both – because low clearance crawl spaces often cause subfloor issues.

low crawlspace clearance

Pier and beam or crawl space homes sometimes need subfloor replacement due to decay, termites, or structural failure. Some crawl space foundations are very low to the ground and a human can’t get under them for repairs. In either case, you have to go with the top-down approach and cut the floors out from above because there is no other way to get it done.

For any top-down repairs, a house leveling crew has to remove your floor and subfloor so you’re not going to have anything to walk on for a while. 

The contractors would spend a great deal of time inside your house plus there’s that part where you literally have no floors. You’re going to be able to see the dirt under your home and the inside will be open to the underside of the house. I’ve put in some pictures so you can see what I’m talking about.

move out during subfloor repairs
Yeah, that’s the dirt under your house . . .

When widespread top-down repairs are part of the plan, it’s highly advisable to move out due to the messy, disruptive, and *construction zone* nature of the process. The repair involves cutting out any damaged areas, frequent movement of the repair team in and out, and hauling of materials. 

It’s best to stay with friends or family, get a hotel, or use an RV during this time!

You honestly will want to pack up and get out of there. Plan on moving your furniture and belongings out of the way to keep them clean, free from damage, and out of the work zone. With that much activity and dirt, moving out is safer and in your best interest.

When Top-Down Work Is Needed But Move Out May Not Be Required

moving out during foundation repairs on a crawl space home
Subfloor around toilet leak

One instance *might* allow you to stay in the home during subfloor or other top-down repairs:

  • If the repair area is isolated, easy for you to avoid, and non-essential to your daily routine i.e. like a wing or guest room that you don’t often use.
  • The most common situation might be if just one bathroom needs subfloor replacement (likely due to prolonged moisture exposure or an undetected leak) and you have another bathroom available for use.

You will have to evaluate your home and daily needs to see if simply avoiding an area for a short time will work for you.

How To Know if Subfloor Work Is Needed

Do I have to move out for house leveling foundation repairs?
Widespread subfloor work and more . . .

If you haven’t had a foundation inspection or quote for work yet, you might wonder how to know if you have subfloor issues. Subfloor degradation’s biggest indicator is soft, squishy feeling floors. It feels like the floor is not a hard surface anymore.

This can be isolated to a small (likely moisture-damaged) area near a tub, sink, or toilet or could be widespread throughout a room or the whole home (more indicative of a low clearance crawl space).

When You MIGHT WANT TO Move Out For House Leveling

Some homeowners simply prefer to move out during the repair process. This should not be a shocker but let’s face it, foundation repair can be a bit noisy, messy, and chaotic. There will be people out in your yard and sometimes in and out of your house. Trucks, machinery, equipment, and dirt don’t appeal to everyone for some reason . . . go figure!

move out for foundation repairs on a pier and beam home

Maybe you work from home, maybe you have small children who need to nap, or maybe YOU need a daily nap. If you simply aren’t keen on the idea of living within the repair process, you might want to temporarily live elsewhere for your own comfort and serenity. Some people just have a lower tolerance for such things.

Now, I’m not saying it’s going to be an out-of-control mess at your house during the repairs. Most people are totally fine with house leveling going on around them and are happier remaining at home. The repair environment really depends a lot on the care and conscientiousness of the company you choose

But hey, if you have an easy alternative living option that costs you nothing extra, then you could move out just because you want to . . . do you hear your lake house calling you?

Will I Have to Move or Can I Stay During Crawl Space Repairs?

If you already have a foundation inspection or repair quote in hand, you likely know what is needed according to the repair plan. Your chosen foundation repair professional should let you know if the work can all be done from the outside or if they need to come inside for the work.

If they haven’t specifically told you, then definitely ask if you would have to move out. Also, ask what their repair approach would be for the repairs you need. Do they only do things from the top down or do they try to stay outside and underneath?

move out or stay home during crawl space repairs?

We understand the stress and anxiety that comes with overwhelming repair projects. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we offer fair and impartial assessments, empowering education, and a fully transparent repair process. After 35+ years in business, we want you to know as much about foundation repair as we do and we’ve got no secrets to hide from the Brazos Valley community. 

If you have not yet had an inspection and don’t know where the work needs to be done or how, then now is the time to start contacting a few house leveling companies to get quotes. If you’re in the Brazos Valley area, contact Anchor so you can get a quote from us too!