How long will it take to level my home? How long SHOULD it take to repair my pier and beam foundation? Can I get some numbers here, people?
You are looking for basic estimates on how long the repair process might take for house leveling and/or pier and beam/crawlspace home foundation repairs. Seems like it should be easy enough to give some approximations here, right?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been leveling homes and doing pier and beam foundation repairs in the Bryan, College Station, and surrounding Brazos Valley communities like Caldwell and Madisonville since 1985. We definitely have a general idea of how long these kinds of repairs take and can share that with you.
This article will estimate repair times for you on 6 degrees of repair needed for a pier and beam home foundation. That way you can have a better idea of how much time to anticipate for house leveling repairs.
Side Note: Sometimes people need house leveling for their mobile home, but here we are talking about leveling a crawlspace type home: like a pier and beam or a block and base foundation.
Do I Need House Leveling or Pier and Beam Repairs?
Let’s first address the tiny elephant in the room here . . . there are tiny elephants, aren’t there? Do you need your house leveled or do you need foundation repair for your pier and beam home? Well, they are *kinda sorta maybe like about the same* thing.
It could be argued that house leveling vs. pier and beam foundation repairs are two ways to describe the same activity with different root causes. Some might say the need for house leveling is caused by movement from expansive clay soil, and the need for pier and beam repair is caused by failing parts, whether they are piers or wood or both.
Ultimately though, you’re trying to restore functionality and stability to the home and bring it back to its original elevation. This is true no matter what exactly is wrong with the house in the first place or which term you like or use better.
People use these terms interchangeably and neither is right or wrong or better or worse to use. It mostly ends up being what they hear other people say. Sorry, that was a long story to address a tiny elephant, but it’s over now.
How Long Does House Leveling Take?
How long does house leveling take? Well, that depends on what’s wrong with it . . . I know, I know. Worst. Answer. Ever. Let’s break this down into *levels* of what might need to be repaired from simplest to the most complex to give you some approximate work times for repairing and leveling a pier and beam foundation.
Regular maintenance is something that we recommend being done on 100% of crawlspace homes, but nowhere near enough homeowners do this. This type of ongoing, preventative care is just like changing the oil in your car.
Yes, it costs money every so often, but it’s worth it because you get a whole lot more miles out of your car (or house) this way. The cumulative cost of routine maintenance is going to be less than waiting until you have a really major issue that has been neglected for decades.
Periodic maintenance every 5 to 8 years would include some basic overall reshimming, adjustments, and securing your home’s position in places where it has become loose or slightly unlevel. A pier and beam foundation repair team can typically handle this kind of regular check-up in ½ to 1 full day of work.
Straightening or repairing any type of pier under your home is a simple process. Expansive clay soil can push piers out of whack. Piers made from stone, brick, or timber can also crumble or degrade.
This level of repair is not needed too often for pier and beam homeowners. We only need to do pier work exclusively in about 5 to 10% of our crawlspace repair jobs.
You might need some piers straightened up or some base block combos replaced or added for a basic pier work project. A foundation repair team can replumb, adjust, and repair piers in 2 to 3 days on average.
Sill beams are the horizontal wood pieces distributing the weight on a crawlspace home foundation structure. There are different kinds of sill in pier and beam homes and since they are made out of wood, well . . . they can decay or become damaged by termites, moisture, or plain old age.
Even if no soil settlement has occurred, old sill beams can warp and bend when there was not enough support for the weight of the home in the first place.
Removing and replacing degraded sill beams, along with adding a few piers and extra support from shaker sills when needed would take a foundation repair company about 2 to 4 days to complete. This is a fairly common repair project, happening in about 15% of the crawlspace homes we repair.
The need for extensive joist work doesn’t happen too often but if it does, it’s usually in *rather experienced* homes. In older homes, sometimes floor joists have been spaced too far apart (as that was the construction method of the time) and are simply not sufficient to support the weight of the home.
You don’t find this stuff out until much later when the boards become loose and bouncy.
Floor joists can also degrade like any other wood. It is a bit more complex to replace joists because they are kind of in the middle of the structure that makes up your pier and beam foundation.
Removing and replacing floor joists can also impact the condition of the subfloor. Sometimes it’s better to “sister” joists with additional material to add strength and compensate for weaknesses rather than pull them out entirely.
To add in additional joists where needed, beef-up existing joists, and maybe some sill work, a foundation repair team would need approximately 2 to 4 days to complete this kind of work under your crawlspace home.
A Bit of Everything
The most common scenario for pier and beam foundation repair or house leveling is for the repair team to need to do a little bit of everything: shimming, pier work, sill replacement, and general raising. About 70% of the crawlspace homes we repair are this type of project.
The need for this kind of repair and leveling on a crawlspace home is typically due to either being under-constructed in the first place or natural sinking and settlement. A house and the soil under it settle after years of gravity and expansive forces acting upon the structure.
A house leveling crew would need around 2 to 4 days to take care of the “a little bit of everything” pier and beam foundation repair.
Rebuilding a crawlspace foundation “from the ground up” is really from the subfloor down. This is an extensive house leveling project but also the least common type of repair. Usually, dry rot or termites have destroyed much of the wood material under the home and you basically have to start over.
A complete rebuild of all or part of a pier and beam foundation must be done by cutting out the floor. You can’t do a rebuild project by going under the house. All or part of the home would need to be vacated for a rebuild project i.e., you really can’t live there during the process.
For a full rebuild of a crawlspace type of foundation, a foundation repair team would need 1 to 3 weeks depending on the size of the home and amount of damage.
So How Long Should It Take for Pier and Beam Repairs?
You can expect three basic time ranges for pier and beam foundation repairs. Periodic maintenance can be done in a day or less. House leveling projects ranging from pier work to sills and joists, to a bit of everything should take less than a week. An extensive crawlspace foundation repair could be anywhere from 1 to 3 full weeks.
What Can Make House Leveling Take More or Less Time?
Various factors can cause your pier and beam foundation repair project to take more or less time to complete. The size of the home, the location home and the damage, and the amount of material needed for repairs can all affect how long things will take. Crawl space clearance and the size of the repair team are factors too that we will elaborate on a bit more.
Crawl Space Clearance
The amount of clearance of crawlspace is a significant determining factor as well. A home with a generous crawlspace that a repair team can easily move around in will not take as long.
Some grand old homes can rest 3 to 4 feet off of the ground! Those are just lovely to work on compared to a home with a foot or less of clearance underneath.
This is a rare scenario but a tight crawlspace with barely any space for a human to get under your home will take longer.
No clearance in a crawlspace might also force a repair team to have cut into the floor and do all the repairs from the top down instead of accessing underneath. Cutting through floors can save time, but could increase overall house leveling costs, material needs, and damage flooring as well.
Size of the Repair Team
Repairing a pier and beam foundation is labor-intensive. The bigger the repair team the less time house leveling will take. The smaller the crew, the more time it will take to complete the foundation repairs. All the time estimates we have presented here are for a 5 to 6 man crew.
If the foundation repair contractor only has 3 people, it will very likely take longer to complete the repairs. The opposite applies too (although you might not find it), if a repair team has more than 6 members, they could take less time than what we have approximated too.
Do You Think It’s Time for Pier and Beam Foundation Repair?
Now that you know approximately how long it might take to get your pier and beam home leveled or its foundation repaired, do you think it’s *time* to get started?
For 35+ years, Anchor Foundation Repair has been inspecting and repairing pier and beam homes for Brazos Valley homeowners. When you’re ready for repairs, we’re ready to get to work for you.
The first step in the process is to get a foundation inspection so you know exactly what’s wrong with your house, how long it will take, and how much it will cost to fix. To know what happens at an In-Home Assessment for your crawlspace home, check out “What to Expect From a Pier and Beam Foundation Inspection with Anchor.”
Please note: No dapper-looking white dudes with watches were harmed in the making of this article and said dudes are additionally not representative of our typical customer or target audience, just having fun with stock photography . . .