You know you have some common signs of foundation issues in your home and are just about ready to move forward with getting foundation repairs. But it would be nice to know what exactly the repairs will do for you and your home, amirite?
Like, you know that people are going to come and do a bunch of work, but what improvements or results will you actually see *with your own eyeballs* as a homeowner? What will foundation repair do for you? Is there anything that foundation repair won’t fix?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have repaired thousands of foundations in Bryan, College Station, and other Brazos Valley Communities from Brenham to Calvert over the past 35+ years. We know what goals we are shooting for with your foundation repairs and can tell you what is reasonable (and unreasonable) to expect when getting your home leveled.
This article outlines the basic goals of foundation repair for your slab or crawl space foundation and sets realistic expectations for your home foundation repair project. When you know how it should turn out, you can feel more confident in your outcomes. Let’s *dig in* for all the details on repair results.
What Are the Main Goals for Successful Foundation Repairs?
No, those foundation repair guys are not just throwing dirt around in your yard and making it look like they are working hard. They are trying to accomplish certain things for your home.
It’s not just the vague goals like getting your home *stable* and *level* either. A foundation repair team is looking to improve the specific symptoms of foundation settlement that make homeowners unhappy. A foundation repair should result in:
- Functional and fully operational doors on the exterior of your home
- Interior doors that lock, latch, and close properly and without extra effort
- Reasonable levelness and alignment of trim/finishes like windows, brick, counters, cabinets, backsplash, chair moldings, or other unique wood trim
- Improved (though not perfect) levelness of floors
You should expect your doors to work well going forward and your home should not be as susceptible to seasonal settlement fluctuations within normal ranges. So yes, in a way your home will have more stability.
It’s a hard thing for a homeowner to *actually feel* stability in their slab foundation home the same way you can feel that your doors work right.
For a pier and beam or crawl space home though, you should feel more stability and levelness in the floors. Any bounciness, rattling, and severe slopes should be significantly improved.
So anticipate seeing improvements in those areas of your home but you have to understand that foundation repairs also have limitations. Mathematical perfection will not be achieved. Flawlessness should not be expected. Let’s see what NOT to expect in the next section . . .
What Are the Limitations of Foundation Repairs?
As great of a solution as foundation repair is, it still has its limitations and drawbacks. Here are some things to remember about foundation repairs:
- Expansive soils under your home do not disappear
- Cracks of any kind don’t fully mend and go away
- Construction limitations of the home must be taken into account
So foundations will still have ground contact, cracks don’t go away, and your home itself has its limits. Settlement and movement can still happen even though foundation repairs have taken place.
We will go into more explanation on these limitations in the sections below.
Expansive Clay Soils Will Continue to Act on Your Foundation
A *massive thing* to remember is that your foundation is still in contact with the ground. The behavior of expansive clay soils does not go away because of foundation repairs. Homes may still experience settlement and some movement, even after the best foundation repairs.
Soils r gonna do what soils r gonna do and ya can’t repair the dirt.– Nika Hancock
(this might be my greatest achievement in quotable quotes so humor me here)
Wall Cracks and Slab Foundation Cracks Do Not Disappear
Another important thing to remember about foundation repairs (especially for slabs) is that your foundation doesn’t get mended. Some companies might seal or cosmetically patch over cracks, but they are still cracked underneath any seals or patches.
If your slab is cracked, it doesn’t regenerate and somehow become *uncracked* anymore. It’s simply raised, better supported, and less susceptible to settlement.
Cracks in walls also do not mend. Foundation repair companies don’t take care of drywall either, it’s not typically part of our contracts. Even after you spackle, patch over, and repaint your walls afterward by DIY efforts or a drywall contractor, the cracks are still technically there. They are just covered up and made to look pretty.
There ain’t no cure for cracks.– Nika Hancock
(I am really on a roll with these deep philosophical quotes, aren’t I?)
The only real way to make cracks go away is to fully replace a slab i.e. basically scrap your whole house and start over. For walls, it would be to remove and replace any damaged drywall with totally new stuff. Those solutions are typically not practical for most people.
Cracks still exist even after the most stunningly effective foundation repairs and cosmetic retouching. So even a little movement, expansion, contraction, or further settlement of the home can bring wall cracks back into sight.
Considering the Limitations of Your Home’s Construction
Your home itself presents two limitations for foundation repairs. One is that it wasn’t perfect even when it was originally constructed. The other is that the materials in your home are only so flexible. Let’s elaborate on these . . .
Original Construction Flaws
Homes are made by humans. Humans are not perfect and the homes they make are not 100% perfect either. Sometimes your slab is not totally level when it was made. Sometimes simple oversights or even intentional “corner-cutting” at the time your home was built can present some limitations for your foundation repairs.
Your home will not be 100% perfectly level all the way around after foundation repairs. The goal of a foundation repair contractor is to bring your home to an acceptable range of levelness. But if you were to slide your trusty toolbox level around every inch of floor in your home, that little bubble might still move around some.
Finish Materials and Remodeling
Foundation repair companies don’t want to break your house. It would be *super hard* to call ourselves repair contractors if we did that all the time. Sometimes things in or on a home have been “stretched” for so long that they won’t go back to their original positions.
For example, a brick wall crack that has been stressed for extended periods will certainly close up some during foundation raising and leveling, but maybe not all the way perfectly. Brick walls in particular are complex interlocked structures. Once compromised, it’s difficult to get every brick back just where it once was.
If things have been out of whack for too long, they don’t whack all the way back.– Nika Hancock
(I am a quotable genius right now . . .)
Also, the finish materials in your home or from a recent remodeling project can prevent us from raising and leveling your home as much as we would like.
If fully raising your home to original or needed elevations will cause excessive damage and more problems, sometimes foundation repair contractors have to stop before something goes too far even in the right direction. On these uncommon occasions, your home will be leveled to the greatest point possible before it causes undue damage to walls, trim, cabinetry, tilework, etc.
Your home will be stabilized and held at the threshold position that is as level as it can be before causing other issues. So that means it might not be perfect, but we will do the best we can with what we have to work with.
Instead of making up my own sub-par quote this time, I’ll use someone else’s:
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.– Theodore Roosevelt
Fun Fact: Apparently, Teddy Roosevelt didn’t actually say that, he attributed it to someone else in his autobiography. Who knew?? But I digress . . . greatly . . .
What to NOT Expect from Foundation Repairs
So that whole section up there about the limitations of foundation repair was basically to explain why there are certain things you shouldn’t expect from this process. Let’s put it into a simple list for you:
- Do not expect your foundation repair contractor to repair drywall
- Do not expect cracks to be healed or never come back
- Do not expect a perfectly level home
- Do not expect inflexible materials to be infinitely flexible or bounce fully back
- Do not expect to never think about your foundation again
Monitoring Your Home and Foundation In the Future
That last “what not to expect” might have caught your attention because we haven’t talked about it yet. Listen, caring for your home and foundation is not a *one and done* or *set it and forget it* forever kind of thing. You should always be looking for potential issues.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been helping Brazos Valley folks with their foundation problems since 1985. We know that part of what makes our homeowners happy is knowing that we have met their expectations even during challenging times with handling foundation issues.
Part of what to expect after foundation repairs is to always be mindful of your home’s condition with prevention and monitoring. That includes watching out for conditions that could create foundation problems, like drainage and proper soil grading.
P.S. If you liked my made-up quotes in this article, the next one starts off with another sparkling, simulated-diamond-like, yet reasonably plausible gem . . .