Have you ever watched one of those fixer-upper home renovation shows? The new homeowners are so excited; they have a budget that will just barely cover their “wish list” of projects- and then things start to go awry. They discover the wiring isn’t up to code, there’s lead paint that has to be removed, or the wall they want to take out is load-bearing. It can seem like this is done to add drama to the show- but it can actually happen.
We sometimes get calls from homeowners in a similar situation. For example: the homeowner has chosen new flooring, then the installer arrives and tells them it won’t lay right because their floors are sagging. Suddenly, they aren’t just buying flooring; they’re also paying for structural repairs. The budget goes out the window, and they have to reschedule their flooring installation (after moving all of their furniture and belongings).
This isn’t something we want to happen to anyone. Acculevel is a family-owned and operated business, and our goal is to help homeowners preserve and protect their homes. We’ve helped over 30,000 homeowners in our service area, and we’d like to help you avoid experiencing similar renovation regrets.
In this blog, we’re going to explain why you should start any major home renovation project with a foundation inspection.
Renovate From the Ground Up
Approach your renovations as if it’s a new build. When your home was originally built, the construction began with the foundation. This is to guarantee that everything that follows- from the wooden flooring structure to the roof- is secured to a solid and stable base.
You want to make sure that whatever project you’re doing will be successful. Consider the new flooring example I gave at the beginning of this article: the homeowners were trying to repair their floor, not realizing that the root of the problem was below it.
Another good example of this would be if you have kitchen cabinets that won’t stay closed, or aren’t level. Don’t assume the cabinets are to blame; they may be in perfectly good condition. If the floor itself is sloping, or the foundation is settling, that could be why the cabinets have shifted.
This photo was taken by an Acculevel crew member during pier installation. The foundation has settled, and the sliding glass doors could not be opened. The dark band across the foundation is where the deck had to be removed, so the helical piers could be installed.
Address Foundation Problems Before You Landscape
We all expect a certain amount of settling in our homes. It occurs naturally, as the weight of your house presses against the ground. But you should keep an eye on symptoms of uneven settling: drywall cracks, sticking windows or doors, cracks in the foundation.
While we’re discussing cracks in the foundation… A few hairline cracks are normal, but can become a problem over time. You should make sure that these are repaired in a timely fashion, so that they don’t become a major issue.
I mention these two potential problems, settling and cracking/bowing walls, because the repair methods can require excavation. You don’t want to invest in new landscaping, a deck, outdoor kitchen, etc., only to realize that home repairs are going to compromise all your hard work. We have an article that explains which foundation repairs can damage your landscape.
We also offer a free DIY inspection guide for homeowners. This will walk you through a detailed review of your home, foundation, and property. If you find any potential problems, have them evaluated by a professional. Once you’ve corrected any issues, you can renovate with peace of mind.
If you don’t live in Acculevel’s service area, you may need to do a bit of research to find a good local contractor. We have a blog that reviews the best ways to find a repair company.
We also have a list of all the questions you should ask a contractor, to help you determine if they are the right fit for you and your home.
Want to do more research about foundation problems and the repair methods? We developed our Foundation Repair Guide to serve as a resource for homeowners. It covers all of the FAQs we receive from customers including: what causes foundation damage, how is it repaired, what does it cost, and what are the potential problems that can result.
Do You Need a Free Foundation Inspection?
You should find a reputable local repair company that is verified, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Many contractors offer free estimates; Acculevel provides a free written estimate, good for 30 days, that details the repair option(s) and costs.
When you call Acculevel, one of our friendly representatives will schedule an appointment for you with an experienced and knowledgeable project manager. They will come to your home, address your concerns, and recommend the ideal solution to keep your home safe and healthy for years to come.