Lifting a sinking interior slab is essential for homeowners looking to restore their home’s value and protect their families from harm. Determining when your slab may have fallen out of place is more difficult than you might think, as it involves both an understanding of your foundation and a keen eye for signs of damage throughout your home.
Types of Foundations
Before you can readily determine whether or not your slab needs leveling, you’ll need to determine what kind of foundation you have. The two most common foundations include:
- A Slab Foundation – To build up a slab foundation, construction companies will first establish support beams beneath your home to bear its overall weight. Then, they’ll pour a slab of concrete—hence the name—over those supports without breaking the concrete’s flow. This way, the slab will be more stable later in life and it can better work with the aforementioned support beams to keep your home in place.
- A Basement or Crawl Space Foundation – Comparatively, construction companies building a basement-based foundation will have to first dig out the basement or crawl space. Then they’ll pour the footings and floor to help create a finished basement. From there, all that’s left is to build the walls and install any ancillary support beams the homeowners may request to support their home.
Distinguishing between these two types of foundations is important when you consider how you want to go about lifting a potentially sinking slab. You’ll need to be able to tell local contractors what kind of foundation they’re contending with so they don’t start trying to lift a sinking basement foundation. Similarly, if the floors or walls in your basement have started to look a little off and you have a basement foundation, it’s not an interior slab that’s causing you problems.
Signs of an Uneven Slab
If you do have a slab foundation, how can you tell when it’s gone uneven? Some of the most common problem signs indicating a damaged or uneven foundation slab include:
- Sagging floors
- Doors jamming
- Cracks in your floor
- Wall cracks
- Stuck windows
Unfortunately, these signs aren’t always crystal clear when indicating damage to your home. They can often indicate a crack in your basement or crawl space. To tell the difference between minor structural damage and a slab that’s actively sinking, you’ll want to reach out to the professionals in your area. Contractors can inspect your home with you and provide you with a free services quote, noting what’s gone awry in your home and what methods they can use to restore your slab to a state of stability.
Leveling Your Home
There are a few different ways professionals can lift and level your slab for you. Most of these methods will involve some manner of piering or the installation of support structures beneath your foundation to move the foundation back into its proper position.
When it comes to choosing what kind of piers you want beneath your home, your options can include:
- Push Piers: Push piers are among the most common piers to be used to lift a home. To install these piers, contractors will take sections of galvanized steel tubes and drive them into unmoving soil. They’ll then connect these tubes to foundation brackets on the footing of your home. This way, the weight of your home will ease off your slab and onto the piers, allowing your slab to level more readily.
- Helical Piers: Most contractors will only use helical piers to support lighter structures, including porches and chimneys. These piers, which are helical in shape, will be “screwed” into the ground beneath your home.
- Slab Piers: Looking for piers meant specifically to help with slab damage? Slab piers work exclusively with slab foundations, bearing the weight of the home where the previous support beams could not.
If you think the quality of your soil may have an impact on the overall stability of your slab, you may even choose to pursue some manner of lifting solution that doesn’t involve piers. Instead, contractors may recommend the use of polyurethane foam injections to help lift your home’s concrete back into place. Contractors can inject the ground around your home with this material. Once it cures, which only takes 15-30 minutes, your slab should realign with the rest of your home.
Lifting Your Slab with Professional Help
Protecting your slab from damage doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you think you’re contending with an unlevel slab, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts for the right repair solutions. You can connect with the professional contractors at AFS in Nashville, TN, for more guidance.