How to Repair Settling Foundation

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Settling home foundations are common in areas with sandy or loamy soil, frequent seismic activity or disintegrating soil layers. Settling foundations can cause a myriad of problems, including cracking walls, leaky foundations and sagging floors. Fixing a settling foundation is not that difficult a task, but it does require some hard physical labor. Many homeowners can fix their settling foundation with a few specialty tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Shovel
  • Picks
  • Auger
  • Foundation jack
  • Screw in foundation piers
  • Mounting screws
  • Large ratchet set
  • Locate the low end of the settling foundation by laying the level along each of the sill plates of the home. Determine which corner or side is lowest, as this is where you will install the first pier. You will be installing piers along each side of the home to stop the home from settling. However, you will want to level up the foundation first.

  • Dig around the perimeter of the home using the shovels and pick. Dig a trench right next to the home, exposing the foundation walls and allowing enough room in the trench to slide the screw-in piers. Use the provided pier handle to screw a pier into the ground next to the home at each corner and in the center of each wall.

  • Drill a hole with the auger under the corner of the house that you determined to be lowest and insert the tube of the foundation jack. Start the jack to begin filling the space under the house and lifting the foundation. This method is not guaranteed to work and may not provide more than a few inches of lift, but it can work.

  • Use the ratchet wrench to install the mounting bracket included with the piers to attach each pier to the base of the house after the foundation jack has lifted the house as much as possible. Install the jacks on each side of the home securely.

  • Fill the trench surrounding the home back in with dirt and tamp it down securely. The foundation should now be closer to level and the piers will keep the home from sinking farther.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use concrete or slurry to pump under the house with the foundation jack, as either will provide a solid foundation on which to locate your house.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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