Lifting vs Stabilizing My Home For Foundation Repair (Pros and Cons)

Life turns out to be quite the surprise with the daily decisions we make. Some decisions are difficult to make when they directly affect you and your peace of mind

How do I make more money to provide for my family?

Should I go into debt for a Master’s degree?

How can I win in my Fantasy Football league this year? I don’t have good enough players.

Then there are the decisions that affect the one thing you’ve invested in:

Your home. The place where you feel safest. Somewhere you can call your own. 

You feel your floors sloping, windows and doors are difficult to open, cracks are becoming wider on your ceiling, and you notice gaps between cabinets, windows, and doorframes. These are common signs of having foundation issues. 

You’ve been doing your research to figure out you may require foundation repair. A big decision will have to happen after your foundation inspection. Do you raise or stabilize your home?

When it comes to foundation repair, Dalinghaus Construction has been in the industry for almost a decade. We’ve inspected over 10,000 homes and repaired over 1,000. After raising and stabilizing so many homes, we are experts on the pros and cons of each repair process. This article will help you further understand the difference between raising and stabilizing your home for you to make the most informed decision. 

Should I raise or stabilize my home?

The decision is ultimately up to you. It depends on what you’re looking for and wish to accomplish with your foundation repair. Both decisions have their pros and cons.

What it means to stabilize a home

To stabilize a home is to add the necessary support to your foundation so further settlement stops. In this case, we install push and/or helical piers under your home into load-bearing soils or bedrock to provide additional support. 

Pros

  • Your house stops settling.
  • Any new remodel will be protected from damage.
  • Slightly cheaper.
  • Less time to prepare.
  • Allows room to raise the home later. 

Cons

  • Doesn’t reduce or get rid of the cosmetic issues. 
  • Doesn’t get rid of sloping floors.
  • Won’t fix the problems your home is experiencing.
  • Not as much fun for the production crew compared to doing a lift. 

What it means to raise the home

To raise the home is to put the area affected by settlement as close to being level with the house as possible. 

We don’t necessarily want the house to be exactly level if there are conditions from point A to point B. The home is lifted to maximum practical recovery, as well as the surrounding area. We can’t guarantee your house will be fixed and look the same as when you first bought it; we’ll get it as close as we can.

What’s important is you don’t feel the sloping floor you once had after you lift. And we don’t want you to experience vertigo. The only type of vertigo we want you to have is the Bluray of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie. 

Pros:

  • Gain recovery from the lift.
  • The house is stabilized after the lift. 
  • Removes embarrassing cosmetic damage in your home.
    • There is no guarantee any cosmetic damage will be fixed after the lift. However, you won’t have to worry about the damage becoming worse. 
  • Restores functionality of doors, windows, etc. 
  • Gets rid of sloping on floors. 

Cons:

  • More expensive compared to stabilizing.
  • A remodel installed before the lift will be damaged after raising the home.

Pro-tip with Brian:

Remodel after your foundation repair. When doing foundation repair, it’s important to know which areas of the home are affected. If you were to lift after remodeling, all new cabinets and doors will become slanted and sideways like a fever dream.

How much cheaper is stabilizing compared to raising

Stabilizing is one of the few ways you can potentially make your foundation repair cost cheaper. How much cheaper depends on the building undergoing foundation repair. One-story homes will likely have the piers more spread out when stabilizing. 

For example, if helical piers need to be spread six feet for a lift, stabilizing can have those piers spread at eight feet. If your house requires 48 linear feet of helical piers, you would have eight helical piers installed to lift. Compare this to six when stabilizing. With helical piers costing around $2500 each, the cost would go down by $5000.

However, this is not always the case

If a four-story building exerts a large amount of pressure due to increased weight, piers may be installed at four feet instead of six or eight, regardless of raising or stabilizing the structure. At this distance, the cost is determined by what happens after the lift. 

  • A slab foundation will need a polyurethane injection to fill voids in the soil.
    • Costs around $10 per Square foot
  • A raised foundation requires the crew to go into your crawlspace to repair or replace posts and pads.
    • Costs around $10 per square foot.
  • The materials of the house are also a factor. Brick will weigh more than wood. In this case, we will have the piers closer together for stability.

What if I don’t do anything?

Here’s the issue with doing nothing:

The issues in your home will become worse. Chances are if an area of your home starts to sink, the settling will likely continue. The cracks become worse, you can look at the ceiling to see stars through the cracks, and your plumbing can be affected.

A broken arm isn’t likely to heal properly without being put in a cast. Neglecting a broken body part will worsen and perpetuate long-term effects.

Is there a clear choice?

Unfortunately, no. The choice is ultimately yours. Hopefully reading this article has helped you understand the pros and cons of either choice.

If you’re still deciding your choice, here is a video that might help you:

There is no wrong choice. The ultimate goal in foundation repair is to accommodate your expectations. Any decent foundation repair company wants what’s best for you and your needs.

If a portion of your home has sunk 16-inches (yes, that has happened), I would honestly recommend a lift. But if you’re only interested in stabilizing, it can be done. We’re meeting your expectations. You’ll still have to fix the cosmetic damage and you’ll still have a floor you can ride your bike downhill on from the epic slope. 

Ask a professional

Deciding on your life-long investment is intimidating to do on your own. 

But you’re not alone. 

Dalinghaus Construction can’t decide for you. However, we can guide you in making an informed decision. We’ve been in the business of foundation repair for a while. We will help you in every way possible. 

How do you start? You can schedule a FREE evaluation. 

We will have a foundation inspector at your doorstep to take a look and accommodate what you want with your foundation repair. We can show you the issues more in-depth, provide a plan of action, and answer any questions along the way. 

To get started, you can call  (877) 360-9227, or click the button below to schedule your free foundation inspection today!

WRITTEN BY

Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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