remodel or foundation repair?

Remodeling or Foundation Repair: Which is Best to Do First?

You’ve got two big home projects in your future: remodeling and foundation repair. Remodeling is fun and exciting in some ways. You get to pick new finishes, see the results, and impress your friends and neighbors. Foundation repair, frankly, is *not that fun of a project* for homeowners because the results don’t come with a major wow-factor reveal.

You might be leaning towards remodeling first because it comes with a fresh new look for your home, but is that the right decision? Now you’re wondering . . .

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been inspecting and repairing Brazos Valley foundations since 1985. We have seen the results of foundation repairs completed both before and after a major remodeling. We know better than anyone and have seen how these home projects turn out when done in the right order vs. when it doesn’t happen optimally.

This article will *reveal* which home project is best to tackle first and explain why. We will also explore what foundation repair does for your home and how it helps set the best stage for remodeling after the foundation repairs are done.

Should I Remodel or Do Foundation Repairs First?

remodeling and foundation repair bus

Should you remodel or do foundation repair first if you need both? This is one of the easiest questions we can answer for you. If you haven’t done either of these home projects yet, and you have a choice in the matter —–> Foundation. Repair. First.

Well, that’s the short no-nonsense answer to this big question, but I’m sure you want to know why we say this so check out the next section.

If your home has already been remodeled, all is not lost, but it’s too much information for this one article. We focus on the issue of an already remodeled home that now needs foundation repair in another article.

Why Is it Better to Do Foundation Repair Before Remodeling?

signs of foundation problems

If you have signs of foundation issues in your home, like doors that don’t work right or diagonal cracks in drywall or brick, then your home is experiencing foundation settlement

Foundation settlement is a fancy way of saying that your house is sinking or has sunk from its original elevation. All or part of your foundation is sloping down from where it was built.

Doing foundation repairs first will put your home back where it is supposed to be. You will have a *clean slate* to begin remodeling from with a properly aligned and stabilized home. Foundation repair minimizes the chances of further movement or settlement as much as possible to keep your remodeled finishes in place.

Why Shouldn’t You Remodel Before Foundation Repair?

Sometimes it makes more sense to explain why you shouldn’t do something to support why you should do it the other way. Here’s what happens if you remodel first before foundation repair.

In remodeling, you want to put a bunch of new finishes on your home, like drywall, paint, flooring, cabinetry, tilework, or countertops. You might even be tearing out walls and reconfiguring rooms. Putting new finishes and fixtures on a sloping or settled home basically means you are putting new stuff on a crooked house.

foundation repair before renovations

It’s kinda like putting a band-aid on your elbow when it’s bent. The band-aid (i.e. the cosmetic finishes) added to your home look just fine if you keep your elbow bent. But when you go to straighten your arm (or your foundation), what happens? The band-aid doesn’t really fit right anymore. It can buckle, bend, or just not look right because what it’s attached to has moved.

Like the band-aid example, a similar thing happens if you remodel first and then attempt to raise your settled foundation afterward. The new finishes are at real risk of being compromised and thrown off-kilter if they are put on a settled home that gets raised later by foundation repairs.

So you shouldn’t remodel first before foundation repairs because it can mess up your whole renovation project, essentially un-doing everything you did to make your home look nice. You don’t want to do more (and pay more) to fix your home again afterward if you can help it. 

Doing foundation repairs first will prevent remodeling re-dos, saving you both heartache, inconvenience, and money.

What Will Foundation Repair Do For My Home Before a Remodel?

Now that we have explained that you should do foundation repair first and why, let’s talk a bit more about foundation repair goals and how it best prepares your home for renovation.

Foundation Repair Aims for Level But Stops at Original Elevation

Foundation repair works to raise and level your home. When we say *level* we don’t mean perfect, mathematical precision level. A foundation repair contractor is trying to get your home as level as possible but mostly back to the way it was when it was built so that all the parts work right. 

Foundation repair will raise and *level* the foundation to make sure that:

  • Your doors lock, latch, and close properly,
  • Wall and brick cracks are small and closed up as much as possible,
  • There are no gaps between trim finishes and fixtures, and
  • Return your home to its original position.
Foundation Repair First, then remodeling

Many homes were not built perfectly level in the first place (and that’s okay), so the best that we can do as a foundation repair company is to put your home back to where it started. This will ensure that your home parts all work together and align properly as they did when it was first constructed.

For more explanation on this complex topic, check out “What Will (And Won’t) Foundation Repair Do For My Home?

Foundation Repair Aims to Maximize Stability

careful foundation repair work

Besides leveling your foundation, the other main goal of foundation repair is to stabilize it and keep it from moving or sinking further. Foundation repair adds extra support under your home to make it more stable in the expansive clay soil environment that we have here in Central Texas and many other areas of the US. 

This extra support added under your home (sometimes called underpinning) can come in a few forms depending on your foundation type and also on the type of foundation repair you choose. But in all foundation repairs, there is a basic goal to stop additional settlement or sinking in areas that have already experienced movement.

Stabilizing a home with foundation repair keeps it from moving as much and prevents damage to your new finishes that will get put on later. Foundation repair specifically addresses areas of the home that have already moved and need this stability.

Foundation Repair Sets the Best Stage for Your Remodeling Team

countertops level

Remodeling contractors and tradesmen want a foundation that is level and stabilized too. It makes their whole job easier and faster because they are not having to compensate for unevenness and misalignments in your home. 

When cabinetry or countertops are put in, those items are placed level. If your home is already close to level (vs. being out of whack) then they don’t have to spend a bunch of time working to make things level and aligned because things are already in the best possible starting position.

Doing your foundation repairs before remodeling will also help you with warranty claims and issues later. If your foundation has not been repaired prior to remodeling, it can void warranties on things like window and door installations.

How to Begin Addressing Foundation Problems Before a Remodel

in home foundation inspection

Now you know for sure that you should handle your foundation issues first. The best thing to do now is to get a foundation inspection so you know what to budget for foundation repair. An inspection will confirm foundation problems, create a plan for fixing your home, and give you a pricing quote for the repairs.

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we know that moving your foundation will affect all the finishes in your home from the floor to the roof and everything in between. We want you to have a successful remodeling experience and an enjoyable home, and that starts with a sturdy and stable foundation first.

To learn more about the foundation inspection process right away, check out The Fast Guide to Home Foundation Inspections to find out about the purpose, process, and costs of getting your foundation repair quote.