Foundation Experts: Can You Level Your House Yourself?

March 29, 2023

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House leveling is not always as complicated or expensive as homeowners might assume. It’s also an excellent choice for homes that have settled due to foundation damage. Leveling not only returns a home to its proper position but it also closes cracks and gaps and provides added support.

In most cases, house leveling isn’t a DIY project. However, this doesn’t mean a homeowner needs a professional for every aspect of foundation repair. With this in mind, check out some added details about leveling or slab jacking for your home. Then, call a foundation repair contractor near you as needed when it’s time for expert repairs.

How Do You Level a House? (Advice from Experts)

To better understand why house leveling isn’t typically a DIY job, it’s helpful to review the process step by step.

Concrete Lifting

To perform concrete slab or basement leveling, a contractor and crew first excavate around the sunken or damaged areas.

Next, the contractor injects slurries, similar to wet concrete, into those excavated pits. In many cases, the contractor then uses specialty hydraulic equipment to lift the home back into position. Those slurries also help to “float” the structure into a level position.

Next, those slurries dry and harden, keeping the home level and providing added support for its foundation. Lastly, the contractor’s crew fill in those excavations and perform other needed cleanup. They might also patch cracks and related damage inside and outside the home.


Pier and beam leveling is somewhat different. To level these foundations, a contractor might try shimming. Shims are wedge-shaped blocks that a contractor pounds between the piers and beams. That wedge shape helps to lift the home back into position.

Also, a contractor might lift the home with hydraulic equipment and then install new piers. This also keeps the home in a desired position and corrects cracking and other issues.

This information should help a homeowner understand why house leveling isn’t a DIY job. Pouring that leveling slurry and lifting a home hydraulically require expertise and experience. Lastly, remember that a contractor has access to commercial-grade equipment you can’t rent at a hardware store! For all these reasons and more, leave house leveling to a professional.

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Can You Perform Any Foundation Repair Yourself?

While house leveling is best left to the pros, homeowners can still address some foundation issues themselves. For example, you might patch hairline cracks along basement walls and floors. Using heavy-duty patching materials and addressing cracks quickly keeps that damage from spreading.

Also, there are thick sealants a homeowner might install over basement walls and floors that address small cracks and other openings. These sealants seep into those pits and pores, closing them and helping to repel water.

How Do You Protect a Foundation from Damage?

Waterproofing is an excellent choice for protecting a foundation from damage. Installing waterproofing solutions also helps prevent a house from sinking so that you don’t need leveling! Check out a few waterproofing methods foundation contractors often use:

  • Encapsulation and vapor barriers cover the inside of crawl spaces. These thick tarps block moisture from collecting in the space. In turn, this keeps piers and beams and a home’s framing dry and in good condition.
  • French drain systems collect moisture in the soil and redirect it away from the home.
  • A contractor can install a dehumidifier in a crawl space, to collect airborne moisture. Homeowners can also put a dehumidifier in the basement, to keep walls and floor surfaces dry.
  • Keep roofs and gutters clean year-round. Clogged gutters let water run over the sides and then pool around a foundation. This can result in costly water damage!
  • Never add to a home’s weight without first ensuring the foundation is strong enough to manage your project. This added weight can include stone floors or counters, an outside deck, or other such addition.

Lastly, consider scheduling regular foundation inspections. A contractor can spot damage just as it’s forming and recommend repairs. Prompt fixes can keep them minimal and help avoid future damage.

How Do You Know It’s Time for House Leveling?

Consider some common signs that your home needs leveling or other foundation repairs. First, don’t overlook cracks along interior or exterior walls. Second, you might also notice cracks on the ceiling or sagging ceiling sections.

Additionally, when doors and windows suddenly stick, this can indicate foundation damage and settling. Sloped floors or floor tiles coming out of place can mean that it’s time for fixes. Damp and musty basements or other signs of moisture along first floors can also indicate foundation cracks.

Moreover, when a home settles, you might notice creaking floors and walls. Also, look for gaps between crown molding and the wall or ceiling around it. All of these indicate a home that’s no longer level. This sinking pulls on building materials, creating cracks, gaps, and other issues.

Should You Repair Foundation Damage Before Selling a Home?

Potential buyers might shy away from a home with foundation damage, knowing how expensive it is to repair. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell a damaged home. Instead, you might discuss your options with a real estate agent. He or she can note if a price reduction might sell your home faster.

Also, a real estate agent can explain any complications you might face trying to sell a home with a damaged foundation. For instance, some lenders might not approve a mortgage for a home that doesn’t pass inspection. Depending on the damage extent, a buyer might not get approved to buy your home!

On the other hand, foundation fixes might make your home more desirable, since house leveling usually lasts for decades. Since no two situations are alike, it’s vital that you rely on the advice of a professional when making a decision about addressing foundation damage before selling.

South Bend Basement & Foundation Repair is happy to explain the process of house leveling to our readers. Hopefully you found this information helpful. If so, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more valuable advice. Also, call our foundation repair contractors when you’re ready for expert services. We offer FREE inspections and written price quotes. To find out more or to get your property on the road to a solid foundation, call today.


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